Odumakin’s anxiety over vanishing feeding-bottles (1) SEGUN IBIROGBA by SEGUN IBIROGBA
One would have thought that a recent strong-worded rebuke by a moral authority and erudite professor of law, Itse Sagay, would serve as a cautionary tale to Mr. Yinka Odumakin, to turn a new leaf. In the article under reference, Professor Sagay dismissed the self-styled spokesman of Afenifere as the very opposite of the high principles that the Yoruba socio-cultural organization founded by Obafemi Awolowo is supposed to stand for. He likened him to a jackal addicted to carrion, dead meat.
But Yinka is far too steeped in political hustling to be dissuaded by the sobering words of an elder. Otherwise he would not have shamelessly accepted his latest hatchet job nicely packaged as “Orange Movement advocacy” in Lagos even after the cat had already been let out of the bag that it was an agenda of vendetta hastily put together by the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP) after seeing their dream of returning to Aso Rock ending in smokes on February 23 on account of the reeelction of President Muhammadu Buhari by the Nigerian masses who endorse his anti-corruption stand.
Having been displaced by the “Otoge” movement in Kwara State the way the “Arab Spring” swept tyrants from power in the Arab world in 2011, Yinka’s clients recruited him and other political hirelings to try a similar experiment in Lagos. But they forget that Lagosians are enlightened people who appreciate conscientious and visionary leadership, not the feudal lords who impoverished the people and rode on their backs like tin-gods in Kwara.
If they were still in doubt, the results of the gubernatorial poll in Lagos last weekend which gave an emphatic victory to APC should show political neophytes like Odumakin that Lagosians know quality and know the party that best serves their interests. Only the blind and the deaf will not see or appreciate the remarkable transformation of Lagos in the last twenty years it has been under a progressive leadership inspired by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. It is not for nothing that Lagos is acknowledged today as the “Center of Excellence” and a good model which other states proudly copy from.
But, out of malice and envy, the Odumakins of this world would abuse Tinubu rather than salute him for the progress report in Lagos. Yinka is hardly restrained in calling the Jagaban names. But it is the essential unconscionable Yinka who instinctively bites the finger that fed him once he finds a juicier offer elsewhere. Who will believe that Tinubu that Odumakin calls unprintable names today is the same man who had provided him a lifeline years back when he suffered a life-threatening affliction that almost led to his arm being amputated. In his usual generosity, Tinubu provided the funds for ailing Yinka to be flown abroad for proper medicare.
Having apparently found new paymasters, it is the same arm that Yinka now uses to write lies and libel against Tinubu.
Today, many are quick to chant Awo’s name in vain and also make a show of putting on Awo’s cap. But Awo was known for consistency. Not so with self-proclaimed inheritors of Awo’s legacy like Odumakin. That explains his career in political harlotry. Awo played the politics of principle, not convenience or “stomach infrastructure”.
What is quite amusing is the self-delusion of the likes of Yinka, totally oblivious of the fact that most Nigerians are now too sensible to be deceived by the antics of fake activists who wear fake Awo caps and mouth Awoism in vain but who, in reality, are nothing more than hungry hustlers looking for what to eat.
The story involving Pastor Tunde Bakare years back perhaps illustrates this better. Of course, at some point, Odumakin was following the convener of Save Nigeria Group all over the place. During a visit to then President Goodluck Jonathan, typical of the culture in Aso Rock at the time, a fat envelope containing dollars was passed to someone on the entourage of the Latter Rain Pastor as the usual “appearance fee”. The information of the illicit collection only reached Pastor Bakare after he arrived back in the hotel in Abuja.
A highly principled man, Pastor Bakare instantly ordered that the unsolicited money be returned to the sender. We challenge Odumakin to deny that he was not the one ordered to return the “Egunje” to the Villa.
Today, Nigerians are certainly a lot wiser to distinguish true activists like Gani Fewinhimi or Chima Ubani who led conscientious lives from the cash-and-carry ones. We are surely not dummies not to recognise fake comrades with couterfeit khaki now derided as “come-and-raid” who are not ashamed when addressed today as billionaires without visible source of income other than the “struggle”.
For instance, stories have been flying around about a gargantuan printing press located in one of the South-West states which ownership has been traced to an “Afenifere activist”. Again, we challenge Yinka to deny he is not the one being referred to here. If in the affirmative, be sure that the next question he will have to answer is whether merely issuing press statement in Afenifere’s name has become so rewarding to make him afford that, since he is not known to be engaged in any other gainful employment.
same challenge was thrown at him pointedly years back during a media war with the publisher of THISDAY, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena. While decrying what he described as an attempt to blackmail him, Obaigbena alleged that Odumakin had tried to “hustle” him for some bucks during an encounter. He, therefore, asked the “highly principled” Yinka to explain to Nigerians what else he did for a living apart from parading himself as “Yoruba/Southern leader” by virtue of being Afenifere’s “spokesman”. —a charge Yinka is yet to respond to satisfactorily.
Nowadays, Yinka chooses to be intemperate when criticising President Buhari, often resorting to gutter language. Yet, the same Yinka was Buhari’s hyperactive media aide and errandboy while the General was vying for president on the platform of CPC in 2011.
But this cheap hireling has no stomach for any cause that does not bring him “stomach infrastructure” in the short term. Hence, after Buhari lost, it did not take long before loquacious Yinka migrated to a greener pasture in Goodluck Jonathan’s kingdom. Once the price was right for Yinka, without shame, the same Jonathan he had abused thoroughly as “clueless” during the 2011 campaign became “Awo’s reincarnate” worthy of his praise and worship. What a shame!
The same inconsistency could be seen in Yinka cringing sheepishly while appearing in newspaper photographs with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo today as “Afenifere spokesman” in an orgy of political opportunism. Suddenly, to Yinka, OBJ is now a sage whose statements should be treated as Holy Grail since it is anti-Buhari. Yet, this is the same man Yinka literally took to the cleaners with his commercial fountain-pen in a watery piece of hagiography commissioned by his paymaster as at 2014. Since Obasanjo was opposed to Jonathan’s bid for second term then, Yinka went to town with his hatchet job.
Today, this shameless hack writer has made a complete somersault by praise-singing OBJ. Both are brought together by nothing more than common hatred for Buhari.
Of course, the story of how this political quisling literally forced himself on Afenifere as “spokesman” is now all too familiar. According to a NADECO hero and Afenifere original, Ayo Opadokun, Yinka used to be like an idle “verandar boy” who showed extraordinary enthusiasm once the real leaders had risen from a meeting and drafted a communique and were looking for someone to help them circulate the statement around media houses in Lagos. With time, he started allowing himself to be introduced as “Afenifere spokesman”!
That Afenifere platform is what Yinka has used for social climbing. What is supposed to be an honorary, “part-time” commitment is what he has now turned to full-time job for meal ticket.
Column-writing is supposed to be dedicated to canvassing views without doing any violence to public sensibilities or morality. Not so with Odumakin who has turned the space given him in Vanguard weekly to either marketing his “jeun-jeun” (chop-I-chop) rackets or peddling falsehood or embarking on ego-trips by dropping names or telling fables portraying him as rubbing shoulders with the high and the mighty or on first-name basis with truly recognised Yoruba elders.
We live in a free society where free enterprise is assured. So, ordinarily, one should not begrudge Yinka for looking for where his bread is buttered. But what I find rather sickening is his attempt to masquerade his purely commercial ventures as a noble cause done to further Yoruba interest. Of course, he was errandboy and hitman for the PDP gang that wrecked some Yoruba states until the APC hurricane of 2015.
For instance, when thuggish Ayo Fayose was busy storming courts and beating up presiding judges for delivering unfavorable judgments, Odumakin did not see anything wrong with that, as long as the gates to the Government House in Ado-Ekiti were not shut against him.
But with the enthronement of APC in most of the Yoruba states in 2015, the “pipelines” of patronage that sustained commercial activists like Odumakin were blocked, hence their hysterical cry and maniacal agitation against APC. Now, with the re-election of APC for another term, Yinka and co. are terrified by the prospects of spending another four years without PDP “feeding bottles”.
So, when next you hear Yinka say “Aluta”, you have to probe who he just had lunch with or who he is hoping to have dinner with.
Mr. Segun Ibirogba is the Executive Director of Youths Leadership Training Centre based in Lagos