President Muhammadu Buhari and former president Olusegun Obasanjo have expressed sadness over the demise of Yinka Odumakin, the National Publicity Secretary of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere.
Odumakin died on Saturday at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) from respiratory issues which arose due to COVID-19 complications, according to a statement by his wife, Joe Okei-Odumakin.
In a statement issued by Femi Adesina, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, President Buhari said the late Odumakin, who was his spokesman when he contested the 2011 presidential election, was dutiful and a man of conviction.
The statement read: “President Muhammadu Buhari condoles with the family, friends and acquaintances of Yinka Odumakin, spokesman of Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere.
“Odumakin was also spokesman to the then Gen Buhari in 2011, when he ran for President on the platform of Congress for Progressive Change, now defunct.
“The President recalls Odumakin as dutiful, and a person of conviction, expressing sorrow at his demise, when he had a lot more to contribute to society and the nation at large.
“President Buhari prays God to grant repose to the soul of the departed activist, and comfort all those who mourn him.”
On his part, former president Obasanjo on Saturday paid a condolence visit to Ayo Adebanjo, the Afenifere leader, on the demise of the group’s spokesperson.
Obasanjo visited the nonagenarian at his Lagos residence to commiserate with him on the death of Odumakin.
Adebanjo had earlier in a Twitter post described the death of the Afenifere spokesman as “too heavy to bear”.
The pan-Northern socio-political organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), also issued a condolence message over the death of Odumakin.
In a message issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, the ACF said the late Afenifere’s spokesman, while alive, held his views strongly, adding that its disagreements with him were not personal but based on principle.
The statement read: “The Arewa Consultative Forum ACF today received the sad news of the death of Yinka Odumakin, the spokesman of the Afenifere.
“While he was alive, Yinka held on to his views very strongly. We often disagreed with him on many issues. Our disagreements were however on principle and not personal.
“The fundamental difference is that the Afenifere group admits only descendants of Oduduwa as members, while we in the ACF admit even descendants of Oduduwa who are northerners.
“The nature of our membership, accommodating hundreds of ethnic groups has made it very difficult to always agree with a group whose membership is limited to one ethnic group.
“We continue to hope that the Afenifere will one day turn a new leaf and see issues not from the narrow and limited perspective of one ethnic group but from the broad perspective of a multi ethnic federal republic.
“We had hoped that Odumakin will live long enough to work for and see the new day. His death today has robbed us of that opportunity. We however pray for the condolence of his family and his colleagues in Afenifere. We shall certainly miss him.”