And Who Shall I Now Call to Ask? – My Tribute to Yinka Odumakin

No Comments » April 4th, 2021 posted by // Categories: General Articles

And Who Shall I Now Call to Ask? – My Tribute to Yinka Odumakin

It was rudely shocking and painful to learn of Yinka Odumakin’s passing away yesterday on April 3, 2021, a belated victim of this dreadful Covid-19 disease that some people continue to deny its existence.  How many more good people shall it fell?

Many tributes have already been made to honor Yinka’s memory, to which I too can testify: a dogged pro-democracy activist, Yoruba nationalist, a reluctant politician,  and a raconteur of Nigerian politicians’ idiosyncracies and vicissitudes. 

His Afenifere-ism episodically  moved from the conservative to the progressive and back to the conservative.  I do not know how many times I called Yinka – or met him in Lagos, once or twice in the company of Femi Falana – and queried him as to some latest controversial remark attributed to him, and he would say, in his pleasant but rapid-fire-speaking manner, “Prof, e ma da won l’ohun o..”, and he would proceeed to recount his own side of the story disarmingly.  I still might not have always agreed with him, but he was always an agreeable fellow.

Besides his long-time activist union with wife Joe Okei-Odumakin,  there was another uniqueness that I found in him:  as a rolodex of Nigerian personalities.  Call him at at any time of the day, and ask for the telephone number of ANY  personality – politician, activist,  clergy, sportsperson, etc – and he either had it already on his phone, or he would be back to you with a text message of it within five minutes. He made me look good more than once, when the same demand was made of me, and I would say “Give me five minutes!”.   In short, he had tentacles in every part of Nigeria, a tried,  true and trusted Nigerian.  He had been around the block many more times than his age. 

So who shall I now ask for phone numbers, now that Yinka is gone?  Who would regale me of his experience with one noted politician or activist or the other?  Nobody else that I know.

Adieu, Yinka!  Whatever meals are eaten on that other side, please enjoy!  Ija d’opin, ogun ti tan!

Bolaji Aluko

April 4, 2021–

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