Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, wife of the late spokesman for Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, has narrated how she and her husband met at the Nigerian Prisons Service, Alagbon in Lagos and then got married.
Odumakin, a vocal activist and columnist, died at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja on Friday from COVID-19 complications.
It was initially thought that Odumakin died on Saturday but Joe has disclosed that her husband died on Good Friday but that no one could summon the courage to break the news to her then.
Joe, in a statement titled ‘Yinka: Basking in the shadow that you cast’, which was made available to SaharaReporters on Tuesday, paid glowing tribute to her husband.
She recalled how they met while in detention in a prison facility in Lagos after being introduced by the late legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawehinmi.
Like her late husband, Joe is a human rights activist.
She said, “My memories are rousing through chains of pains. A sea surge of a romance which sprouted in Gen. Sani Abacha’s detention.
“My husband was not a criminal, neither was I. Our ‘crime’ was standing strong for others as we always have been. We will return to the dingy detention cell in our reminiscences later!
“Who meets and marries from detention at Alagbon? Only Yinka would ask! And only I would say YES!
“We were introduced to each other by the most qualified, the most preeminent, and the most decorated of inmate – Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAM, SAN).
“Chief said: ‘Yinka, she’s a man!’. Yinka married both the man & the woman in me!
“It was our truest solemnisation of activist matrimony by a revered High Priest of the struggle…with the trench as our altar and the good of our people as our ultimate goal.
“Yinka, it cannot be goodbye, it is goodnight and see you later on the other side with God.
“I will bask with reckless abandon in the shadow of your cast…
“Since no one is permitted in the Critical Care Unit, we had committed you to the care of the best qualified medics at LASUTH and the hand of God hoping to see you next morning.
“The medics said they could not fathom how to immediately relay the message of your passage to me directly.
“Now that I am in possession of your death certificate, I can see you passed at exactly 10.40pm on Good Friday (April 2nd, 2021) and not in the morning of Saturday, April 3rd, 2021) as initially communicated.
“Due to the principles of the truth and saying it as it is, which Yinka and I hold dear – and which Yinka lived all his adult life for – it is important to immediately put this very important record straight.
“You came! you saw!! and you conquered!!! We will carry forward the baton in the eternal word of our leader, Nigeria will be saved, Nigeria will be changed and Nigeria will become a great nation. Nigeria will work in my lifetime and even in yours as you live on in me, our children and generation yet unborn.”
Joe also described her husband as a man who lived for others, saying, “If breath was the currency of life and its legal tender…then, Yinka spent his breath on causes.
“The medics said his oxygen level was running low but my husband was reaching out for his tab to type out his column…
“He was never frugal in spending that oxygen on his Yoruba earth – his beloved and his Nigeria – his truly beloved.”