Eminent professor of law Prof Itse Sagay (SAN) replies Afenifere Renewal Group Publicity Secretary Yinka Odumakin’s open letter to him.
When I use the word Jackal to describe Yinka Odumakin, I do not mean the wild animal itself. Rather I mean a human being who has the traits of a Jackal. A human jackal is a person who performs menial routine tasks; a dogsbody. A person who behaves in an opportunistic way. A base collaborator. Jackals love carrion, that is, dead, putrefying flesh of man or beast. That is Odumakin.
On the 28 of January, 2019, Odumakin launched a savage and vicious attack on me in the Tribune Newspaper. The letter was addressed to me personally, but was never sent to me. Rather, one subscriber to Tribune drew my attention to it. In that hate letter, Odumakin accused me of many crimes and called me all sorts of indecent names. And this is a boy who had not yet been admitted into the University of Ife at the time I left Ife for Benin to start a new Faculty of Law there.
I am flattered that Odumakin obtained information from the internet about my life as a student at University of Ife. It is true that when I saw the low morale in the student’s populace and the country at large, amongst the supporters and followers of Awolowo, I decided to form a branch of the Action Group in the University of Ife.
This branch in collaboration with the University of Ibadan branch led by persons like Akin Omoboriowo, former Deputy Governor of Ondo State and Dipo Adamolekun, recently of the United Nations, played an effective role in the December 1964 Federal Elections.
We sacrificed our Christmas holiday, organised ourselves in different groups, using old fashioned jeeps, provided by the Action Group National Executive Council, campaigned all over the Yoruba West for the Palm Tree, (The Action Group symbol). I learnt to speak Yoruba during that campaign. My operational area was the current Osun State. We nearly lost our lives at Ile-Ife when armed thugs sent by the Late Chief Remi Fani-Kayode descended on us with an assortment of weapons. We had a miraculous escape.
I personally, as leader of the University of Ife Student’s Action Group was appointed to the National Executive Committee of the Action Group, presided over by Alhaji Dauda Adegbenro.
We were not paid a kobo for our sacrifices both in terms of the risk to our lives, our time and our resources. We participated gladly and freely because we believed in the principles and ideology of the party and had great love and admiration for the leader.
This is Itse Sagay that was, is and shall continue to be. Therefore, genuflecting sycophancy is alien and revolting to my nature. I have never changed. I am serving the Buhari government with the same fervour and passion with which I served Awolowo and Action Group. Just as I believed in Awolowo, so I believe in Buhari. Both leaders have the same traits; integrity, honour, spartan orientation, austere disposition and an uncommon love for the masses, the poor, the vulnerable and a resolute determination to raise the standard of living and welfare of Nigerians.
Yes, Femi Adesina and Garba Shedu may be more reticent than I am. They are full time Government Officials. I am a free man; just a part tie Chairman of a Government Committee. So, I suffer no limitations of the type that Adesina and Garba may be experiencing. I speak as a free Nigerian, not as Chairman of PACAC. I, therefore, have an encyclopedic freedom to express my views on any topic of my choice, just as Odumakin has and does exercise frequently.
I have never been involved in politics for gain in my life. In 1979, I joined the UPN of Chief Awolowo. I was a member of the UPN Think-Tank based in Ile-Ife and headed by no less a person than the Late Prof. Sam Aluko. We asked for no material reward and were given none.
I was a supporter of AD, AC and ACN led by Asiwaju Tinubu, who I regard as the closest inheritor of the Awolowo mantle. Now, I am a member of the APC and I am serving it just as I served the Action Group. I have not changed since 1962. I will never change.
In 2011, Odumakin came calling at my house with a card from Gen. Buhari seeking my support. Odumakin spent two hours, vigorously putting across the high qualities of Gen. Buhari. Although, I was already inclined to support Buhari, Odumakin’s visit capped the whole matter.
But what of Odumakin himself? He was a chief supporter and spokesman for Buhari in 2011, but as the whole world knows Buhari has no free money for anybody. And so, Odumakin packed his bag abandoned Buhari and headed for Jonathan to become Jonathan’s errand boy.
As expected, the morally bankrupt Odumakin collected money from the Jonathan campaign to set up a fake news Radio Station in Ibadan in 2015.
Jonathan lost the election and carpet bagger Odumakin pulled up his tent from Jonathan’s environment and headed for Atiku to pitch his tent there. Odumakin always follows the money. As someone once described him, Odumakin is unprincipled, a moral invertebrate: a vulture, always seeking new fields of carrion – a jackal.
He is a man who moves from camp to camp in order to feed. Unfortunately, Odumakin brings bad luck to every Principal he purports to serve. When he served Buhari, Buhari lost the presidential election in 2011. He moved on to Jonathan, and Jonathan lost the presidential election in 2015. Now that he has moved on to Atiku, Atiku’s fate can be foretold.
For me, the most painful part of his savage attack on me is his assertion that I betrayed Deprieye Alemieyeseigha, former Governor of Bayelsa State. Odumakin had made this assertion before in October 2017; I corrected it in the newspapers. That he has repeated these lies again shows that Odumakin is a chronic and unrepentant liar.
Let me say straight away that I was strongly opposed to the rumoured move by Government to extradite the former Governor. I was certainly not consulted by the Government and could therefore, not have advised them on that subject. All these stories were concocted by his enemies in order to ruin my reputation.
I was indeed, one of the Counsel to Alemieyeseigha in the period of 2005 and 2006. My main effort was towards getting him reinstated as Governor of Bayelsa State because of the horrific, illegal and unconstitutional manner in which he was removed from office.
Armed Police were deployed to arrest members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, who were carted to Abuja and tortured into signing an impeachment notice. The whole state was taken over by troops and the government’s bank accounts were frozen. They even shut down Radio Bayelsa.
This was the aspect of the Legal struggle I was involved in. I appeared with Chief Mike Ozehkome at the Supreme Court three times on behalf of the former Governor. The Federal Attorney-General had no answer to our case, and the matter was finally struck-out because the Solicitor-General of Bayelsa State filed a notice of discontinuance of the case without our consent.
The Supreme Court struck out the case for this reason on the ground that if we were not acting on behalf of Bayelsa State, but only on behalf of Alemieyeseigha, we had no right to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Court. We should commence at the High Court level.
That effectively scuttled our case because the Bayelsa State Judiciary would have been hostile to our case, given that the then Chief Judge was neck deep in the illegal ouster of the Governor.
I had great respect for Alemieyeseigha and my view is that he had paid very dearly for whatever offence he had committed and should have been left alone to enjoy the rest of his life in peace. Indeed, if he had lived longer, he would probably have still played an important role in the struggle to resolve the intractable Nigerian National Question. I fully supported the state pardon granted him by President Jonathan. I was not only appalled, but I was vehemently opposed to the blood thirsty proposal to extradite him to the United Kingdom.
It can therefore, be seen by all and sundry that Odumakin is indeed a jackal. He is a man with no loyalty to anybody or anything, including the truth. His loyalty is only to money. I am sorry for him because, he will never leave a legacy of any value behind, because he has no values. He will forever continue to eat carrion, as his opportunistic and exploitative nature demands.