Afenifere leader Ayo Adebanjo on Thursday wept while paying tributes to his organisation’s spokesman Yinka Odumakin at the Police College, Ikeja, Lagos.
The funeral rites for Odumakin began with a lying-in-state at the day of tributes and service of songs. High-profile personalities paid glowing tributes.
Adebanjo, who broke the barrier of culture to attend the funeral rites, urged human rights activists to continue in the fearless spirit of Odumakin.
“I am not God, I am a human being. There is nothing impossible for God to do but as a human being, I will say it will be difficult to replace Yinka,” the 93-year-old said.
“Where can we find a young man of his age, not materialistic pursuing a cause he believes in selflessly, courageously, relentlessly and consistently? Yinka, God knows you are a blessing to Nigeria.”
Speaking in tears, Adebanjo added, “It is not easy to talk about Yinka. Yinka is an irreplaceable material. Why should I be here? You can’t question him, leaving a man of 93 to take a man of 55-years. God, you are omnipotent, please replace him quickly for us.”
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila were present.
“Yinka was one-half of the most formidable couple that we have seen in our history and the other half is his beloved wife, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, who now sadly has to continue this struggle without her husband, fellow comrade, and big friend that I know he is to her. My sister, you will continue to push on strongly in the trenches,” Mr Sanwo-Olu told Odumakin’s widow, Joe, also an activist.
“We are passionate about what he believed in and what he stood for. He wanted the best for Nigeria. He wanted the best for his Yoruba nation but he was completely detribalised and he used his voice to advance the cause and the needs of the voiceless. Until the very end, he kept going.
“He kept speaking up, he kept working hard for a Nigeria that we all can be truly proud of. A Nigeria that will be land of justice, a Nigeria that will be fair, a Nigeria where equity would become the watchword, and a Nigeria that will truly reflect true modern federalism.”
Others who attended the ceremony include Sanwo-Olu’s chief of staff Tayo Ayinde; former governors Peter Obi (Anambra), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), and Senator Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), ex-deputy governor of Lagos State, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele; and Pastor Ituah Ighadalo of Trinity House Church.