An Igbo sociocultural organization, Nzuko Umuna, said it received with shock and immense sadness the news of the passing of Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, and a member of the organisation, Innocent Chukwuma.
It described Odumakin as an unrelenting progressive and activist whose commitment to human rights and social justice was without doubt.
Nzuko Umuna said not only was Odumakin passionate about strengthening the bond and solidarity between the Igbo and Yoruba, he played an active role in delivering the maiden ‘Handshake across the Niger’ conference, which culminated in the formidable alliance that now exists between the peoples of Southern Nigeria.
On his part, it described the late Chukwuma as a leading light of the civil rights community in Nigeria.
It said: “He was an active member of Nzuko Umunna whose cerebral interventions and strategic vision will be sorely missed by the think-tank.
“In line with his longstanding commitment to peace-building and promotion of human rights, Chukwuma led the Nzuko Umunna team to mediate the impasse between the state and Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), who was then detained at Kuje Prison in the Federal Capital Territory.”
It also noted his role as a leading member of the Civil Liberties Organisation and the Campaign for Democracy, which led the sustained campaign for the revalidation of the June 12 presidential mandate.
“Nzuko Umunna is deeply saddened by the loss of these great activists and patriots whose indelible footprints have pushed the frontiers of democracy and human rights,” it said in a statement jointly signed by its Secretary-General, Dr. Paschal Mbanefo, and Coordinator, Ngozi Odumuko.
It also commiserated with the deceased’s spouses and families, the human rights community and entire country, and urged the Federal Government to honour their legacies.