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Buhari, Jonathan, governors, Tinubu, others pay tribute to late Odumakin

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President Muhammadu Buhari, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, governors and other prominent Nigerians in paying tribute to the spokesman for the Pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, Mr Yinka Odumakin, who died on Saturday.

Buhari, in a condolence message signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, described Odumakin as dutiful and a person of conviction.

Odumakin was President Buhari’s spokesperson when he ran for the 2011 presidential election on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).

The President recalled Odumakin as “dutiful, and a person of conviction.”

He expressed sorrow at his demise “when he had a lot more to contribute to society and the nation at large.”

Buhari prayed God to “grant repose to the soul of the departed activist, and comfort all those who mourn him.”

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo also commiserated with the wife of the deceased, family and associates and prayed that the Lord will “comfort the family, and bless his memory always.”

Former President Goodluck Jonathan described the deceased as a great voice for equity and a courageous patriot.

“He was a great asset for just causes whose considerable contributions to the growth of civil society is not in doubt.

“He also acquitted himself as a seasoned journalist and columnist who promoted egalitarianism and social well-being, in his regular essays,” Jonathan said in a condolence message to the Odumakins.

He added, “Mr Odumakin exits this world with rich democratic credentials, having played active roles in the years of activism that birthed and stabilised civil rule in our country.”

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said the death of the human rights activist was a rude shock.

He said, “Much as our heart grieves over this unpleasant development, we must take solace in accepting it as an act of God and acknowledge the fact that Yinka lived a life of purpose in defence of the ordinary people of this country and to enthrone a better Nigeria.”

The Chief Edwin Clark-led Southern and Middle Belt Forum of Nigeria described Odumakin as a fearless and courageous nationalist.

The group in a condolence message signed by Chief Clark, National Leader; Prof. George Obiozor, President-General, Ohaneze Ndigbo; Dr. Pogu Bitrus, President-General, Middle Belt Forum; and Senator Emmanuel Ibok-Essien, National Chairman, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) said the news of Odumakin’s demise came to them as a rude shock.

They said Odumakin was a backbone who in the past few years worked tirelessly to give the organisation both national and international visibility and recognition.

They said, “Although he was an Afenifere chieftain, his commitment to building a Nigerian state where fairness, equity and justice reigns was unparalleled.

“For Southern Nigerian and Middle Belt Forum, Yinka was a backbone who in the past few years worked tirelessly to give the organisation both national and international visibility and recognition. He also brought clarity and common understanding to the problems bedeviling our country, aimed at providing timely solutions to them.

“Yinka has etched his name in steel in the anal of Nigerian history. He will, therefore, be remembered by all citizens as one of our greatest citizens ever.”

Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, called him a gem and a dependable ally.

He said, “We’ll all miss his voice. We’ll miss his commitment, we’ll miss is bravery because the late Yinka Odumakin’s fearless image loomed larger than what we can easily forget in a hurry.”

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said much as its own views were always in disagreement with those of the interest represented by the deceased, their differences were  “on principle and not personal.”

The ACF National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, said, “We had hoped that Odumakin would live long enough to work for and see the new day. His death today has robbed us of that opportunity.”

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said, “The death of Odumakin is a huge loss to the nation and particularly the PDP, given his erudite contributions to national dialogue and relentless commitment towards the development of democratic ethos in our country.

“Odumakin was consistently focused in fighting for a nation in which the principles of equity, fairness and justice will thrive in every sphere of our national life.”

He lived a selfless life –Sanwo-Olu

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said, “Odumakin was undoubtedly a great nationalist, passionate leader and champion of a true Nigeria that would work for every citizen.

“Odumakin as civil rights activist was selfless. He spent the greater part of his life in the service of humanity, particularly the emancipation of the Yoruba people, the development of the South West region in particular and the nation in general.

“He stood firmly behind the attainment of constitutional democracy and fiscal federalism as the basis for sustainable development and lifting the masses out of poverty.”

A nationalist who gave his all — Akeredolu

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State said, “His roles in the enthronement of popular democracy as well as his fiery advocacy for the rule of law remain undoubtedly legendary.

“We recall his fiery beginning in the struggle as the Publicity Secretary of Obafemi Awolowo University Student Union where he discharged his duties creditably.

“He represented a memorable era having participated actively in the passion and action for a better Nigeria in his lifetime. Those left behind will find great inspiration in Yinka’s legacies to continue with the struggle.”

Fayemi: He was a man of the people

Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State said, “This is a very sad day. The Yoruba and indeed Nigeria have lost an illustrious son, a voice for the voiceless, a fearless and dogged fighter, and a leader who loved and served his people passionately.

“For me, Yinka’s death is a personal loss. He was not just my comrade in the democratic struggle, he was a brother and a friend. He was firm in his conviction, focused and progressive-minded. Even when we disagreed, he was never disagreeable.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe, his widow, members of his immediate family, associates, and the leadership of Afenifere, at this trying period. We pray that God grants him eternal rest and gives the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”

A dependable ally of the masses – Olurode

Lai Olurode, former National Commissioner of INEC and a professor of Sociology at the University of Lagos, said the passing Yinka Odumakin is a devastating loss to the progressive camp and to all lovers of a great and peaceful Nigeria.

He said the deceased was a dependable ally of the masses who was consistently committed to a great but restructured Nigeria.

Olurode said, “He was a dogged and committed fighter for causes that he believed in. And really, he was committed to fighting against whatever would rob off negatively on the masses, no matter their ethno-religious identity.”

He also said Odumakin was “unrelenting and consistent in the pursuit of truth. He had no permanent friend except in what is just, fair and right.

“The last time he was in touch with me was a couple of weeks back and in respect of the death of yet a greater Nigerian, Alh. Lateef kayode Jakande. He wanted some clarifications about LKJ’s unbelievably Spartan life, which I obliged him. May the soul of Odumakin rest in peace and may God be with his wife, Dr. Mrs. Joe Odumakin and the children he left behind.”

Pro-democracy Movement declares 7-day mourning

The Convener of the June 12 Pro-Democracy Movement of Nigeria, Olawale Okunniyi, announced a seven-day mourning for the loss of Odumakin.

Okunniyi said Yinka Odumakin was one the fiercest and most prolific comrades of the Pro-Democracy Movement in Nigeria, who fought the cause of a just and equitable Nigeria and therefore deserved to be immortalised by the Pro Democracy Movement.

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Pensioners demand payment of N35bn arrears

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Nigeria pensioners who retired from the electricity sector have urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to come to their aide in order to resolve the lingering issue of their owed N35billion pension arrears.

The pensioners under the aegis of Electricity Sector Retiree Welfare Association (ESREWA), led by its  President, Elder Benjamin Amako, asked President Buhari to save countless dying pensioners whose fate are tied to the delayed payment of their pension arrears.

Rising from its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, Amako said every Nigerian, including President Buhari, knows the pathetic situation of pensioners in the country.

Amako said: “First we thank God that Mr President returned from his medical trip healthier, stronger and successfully. The news of his return gave us pensioners so much joy because we know  he will not sit quiet and watch more pensioners lose their lives because of humanly inaction. So far, his administration has ensured that pensioners gets their rights and this arrears we are asking for is our right.

“Interestingly, President Buhari had already directed that this same arrears (N35billion) be paid to us, but for over five years ago he issued the directive, the relevant authorities who it is their responsibilities to ensure we get this arrears for our dying members seems to be working contrarily.

“So for the past five years, these arrears have always been part of the National Budget under Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) budget and accordingly transferred to Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD). But sadly, we have not been paid a dime even as I speak, for reasons that are totally and obviously human making.

“So we are pleading with President Buhari, the SGF, Minister of Finance, Chairman Senate Committee on Power, Accountant General of the Federation, PTAD and other relevant authorities to save our lives by paying us this money without further delay.”

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We’ll make South-East hot for governors if…, IPOB warns

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The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, has raised the alarm that South East governors in collaboration with Ohanaeze Ndigbo and some “treacherous’ tradinonal rulers, and President Generals of some communities, are compiling names of suspected operatives of the Eastern Security Network, ESN as well as IPOB members and supporters for persecution.

The group stated that if the governors don’t rescind their plan, “IPOB will make the zone too hot for them.” IPOB in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary Emma Powerful, claimed that its intelligence unit uncovered “a secret file” containing the list of the suspected ESN and IPOB members.

The list according to the statement is to be handed over to the security agencies for torture and elimination. IPOB which said the idea was suggested to South East Leaders by the federal government to weaken ESN regretted that efforts of the security outfit for flush out killer herdsmen from the zone were being sabotaged by the selfish political elite. It noted that since the establishment of ESN, efforts to rid the zone of bandits and killer herdsmen had intensified, a development that has making the masterminds uncomfortable.

The statement read in part: “The South-Eastern Governors in collaboration with Traditional Rulers in the Zone and some PGs of communities are compiling names of suspected IPOB members in their respective communities to hand over to Nigeria security agencies for possible executions. “The arrangement has been perfected to help Nigeria Police and Army to quickly pick anybody suspected to be IPOB member and ESN operatives in the zone. “Our intelligence further revealed that they took this decision to launch this joint military operation to quench and permanently silence what they termed as IPOB and ESN menace in the zone. “IPOB intelligence unit gathered that these enemies within and without have perfected arrangements to abduct our people and put them incommunicado in the security dungeons in unknown locations. “It is unfortunate that our so called leaders could not see or observe how Fulani terrorist herdsmen are raping and murdering our mothers, wives and sisters in the farms across the Biafra territory but they see us as their problem.” IPOB denied any link with the unknown gunmen suspected to the behind the wave of bloody attacks against security formations in the zone and wondered why its members would be marked for elimination. “We have severally explained that ESN has nothing to do with the unknown gunmen responsible for the attacks in South East. The unknown gunmen are not ESN or IPOB.

We wonder why Government will continue to associate us with that group without investigations.” IPOB argued that a government that treats bandits and killer herdsmen with kid gloves cannot claim to be unaware of the said unknown gunmen.

The pro-Biafra movement warned South East Leaders to retrace their steps or brace up for the grave consequences of their action. “If South East Governors do not stop this plan against their people, IPOB will make the zone too hot for them. “We expect all tradinonal rulers and PGs in the South East communities to retrace their steps before it gets too late. The land will also rise against them if they allow this to happen! “Any IPOB member or ESN operative killed shall be avenged! The statement also advised the federal government to jettison any plans to persecute pro-Biafra groups as doing so would come with some price. “We advise Nigeria government and her partners in crime in the zone to desist from this evil agenda because it will backfire. We are aware of their secret file, but we are not going back until Biafra is finally achieved.”

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4 soldiers, others killed as Boko Haram attacks Borno military base

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Suspected armed Boko Haram terrorists on Friday invaded a military base in Kamuya village of Biu Local Government Area of Borno State, leaving four soldiers and many terrorists feared dead, sources have said. Kamuya is about 30km drive from Buratai Town of former Chief of Army Staff, Rt Lt. General Yusuf Tukur Buratai and located south along Damaturu- Buni Yadi- Biu 120km highway.

Few years ago, a military base in Kamuya was dislodged by insurgents, only for the military to reestablish another base last year. The incident which started at about 6:35 pm last Thursday had disrupted the busy road as commuters and passengers plying the road had to take another route, as the road remained close uptil Saturday at the time of filing in this report.

A driver, Ali Isa, who left Biu on Friday with his passengers had to make a u-turn when they reached Buratai, and diverted back to Biu before taking through Gombe- Potiskum- Damaturu- Maiduguri 620km road. A reliable security information said, “armed men suspected to be Boko Haram, ISWAP stormed KAMUYA Community and have already dislodged the Special Forces (SF) location.

“The elements are still present in the community, while patrolling communities within BUNI GARI to prevent SF reinforcement. “SF have currently imposed movement restriction along Damaturu-Damboa-Biu Road. “Kamuya is a border town between  Biu LGA, Borno State and Gujba LGA of Yobe state. Staff to avoid the route. “Unfortunately, the entire SF base was razed down by the terrorists, even as four SF were reportedly killed and a number of them Missing In Action (MIA).” All efforts to get confirmation from the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Edet Okon proved abortive at press time.

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