Thursday, 10 May 2012

Olaitan Oyerinde our comrade, friend and brother will be laid to rest today 10th May 2012.

No assassin would be able to reach him ever again, gone but sadly sooner to be forgotten by a country he loved so much. Joining a league of arguably the finest cadres ever produced by the Nigerian students movement, such as Late Chima Ubani, Anselem Akele, Joseph Manman, Basil Chanson Chris Abachi and others, sadly the Nigeria of our dream, still remain a dream.

Till we meet to path no more, farewell Olaitan Oyerinde.

Very few Nigerians are privileged to be entrusted with political appointments in states other than their own. One of these few Nigerians is Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, the Principal Secretary to the Governor of Edo State.
He was born on the 7th of December 1968 to Alhaji Azeez Oyerinde, a journalist, and Mrs. Comfort Oyerinde, a stenographer. He is married to Funke Oyerinde and they are blessed with four children.
Comrade Olaitan attended the University of Lagos where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications. As a student, he was deeply involved in radical activism and helped to provide leadership for groups like the Thomas Sankara Movement (TSM), Youth Solidarity on Southern Africa (YUSSA), Patriotic Youth Movement of Nigeria (PYMN), the University of Lagos Students’ Union and the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).
This was at a period of intense political ferment which threw up the students’ movement as the most effective opposition to Military Rule in the country. In 1989 after the anti-SAP protest organized by the Students’ Movement, he was detained for two months under Decree 2 along with other leaders of the National Association of Nigerian Students. Incidentally, his detention order was signed by Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, Chief of General Staff as he then was.
On the verge of graduation,  Olaitan’s NYSC Call-up letter was seized by the university authorities allegedly for a pending disciplinary case related to another protest. But a court granted an injunction, which enabled him to proceed for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Again in 1991, he was detained after another national students protest purportedly for harbouring the NANS President and a few other students leaders, who had been declared wanted by the security agencies.
Olaitan Oyerinde started his trade union career in 1990 when he was appointed Assistant General Secretary by the Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, an affiliate of the Senior Staff Consultative Association of Nigeria, which metamorphosed into the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria.
While in the union, he was actively involved in the pro-democracy movement, which was waging a relentless battle against the military and the interim government. At this point, he was the Lagos State Chairman of the Campaign for Democracy under the national leadership of the late Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti. He was also executive director, Centre for Worker’s Rights (CWR) and a member of the Nigerian Tenants Association (NTA).
Olaitan left the Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria as a deputy general secretary after ten years to join the services of the Nigeria Labour Congress when Comrade Adams Oshiomhole assumed its leadership. Under  an organisational revival programme embarked upon by the leadership of Comrade Oshiomhole, younger and ideologically clear-headed activists were brought into the NLC to help build a more radical labour movement.
In the NLC, Comrade Olaitan  had been head of the departments of Industrial Relations and International Relations as well as the Special Assistant to the NLC President.
He established a reputation for thoroughness, uncommon brilliance, deep commitment to the values of the trade union movement and capacity for creative thinking and initiative. This explains his rapid rise in the NLC.
Like other comrades in the Labour movement, he was involved in the electioneering campaign of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and co-authored the manifesto entitled My Vision, My Mission.
In November 2008, following his victory, Comrade Oshiomhole sought and obtained the NLC’s consent to release Comrade Olaitan to work with his administration. Olaitan resumed as the Special Adviser, Special Duties but was appropriately re-designated as the Principal Secretary to the Governor/Head of the Governor’s Secretariat.
Olaitan has so far demonstrated extraordinary devotion, well-acknowledged competence and a passionate loyalty to his labour constituency. In the Government House, he was the focal and contact person for the entire Labour Movement. He attended to all comrades with so much enthusiasm. Indeed, it is usually said that you could never reach Comrade Olaitan with any problem, personal or official, without getting tangible results.