Worried by spate of insecurity in the southwest zone of the country, governors of the area invented a crime bursting outfit codenamed, Amotekun, to send on exile menace of Fulani herdsmen, kidnappers, among others in their homeland, hence Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), a socio-cultural group, recently called on the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to speak up now on controversies surrounding the new security initiative. CYRIACUS NNAJI writes.
The Federal Government (through the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation), Abubakar Malami had recently declared the initiative, Amotekun, illegal, while southwest governors and major stakeholders in the region insist they have carried major stakeholders in the Federal Government along since the idea was first muted in July 2019.
Tinubu, who is the leader of the southwest APC that currently controls five out of the six states in the zone, has remained tight-lipped, and the YCE, Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, as well as Yoruba Ronu are deeply troubled by his failure to speak.
According to the Secretary-General of YCE, Dr. Kunle Olajide, Tinubu’s silence on Amotekun is worrisome and gives the impression that he has abandoned the governors, who took the laudable initiative, amidst the rising wave of insecurity across Yoruba land at the mercy of the federal authority.
Olajide said “One would have expected Tinubu to speak up. His silence is not inspiring to most of us because it is incumbent on every reasonable Yoruba person to speak on insecurity confronting us since APC came into power in 2015. YCE is not particularly happy about his silence.”
Olajide urged the media to approach Tinubu to speak up on the issue because his voice as the political leader of the zone in the APC is important. “The entire Yoruba nation supports what the governors have done in setting up Operation Amotekun, but the Federal Government just came up to declare it illegal. Tinubu’s silence is absolutely worrisome.”
Afenifere, through its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said Tinubu’s voice is irrelevant in this situation since the governors and the entire Yoruba nation have taken a position on how to provide security for their lives and property.
According to Afenifere:“Anybody who speaks up or not on this issue does so for his/her sake, and the Yoruba future. Operation Amotekun transcends party affiliation because Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, who is deeply involved in this, is a member of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while Governors Kayode Fayemi and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ekiti and Ondo states spearheading it are of APC. And most other dignitaries backing Amotekun have no political leanings.”
But for the President of Yoruba Ronu, Mr. Akin Malaolu, Tinubu is not in government, therefore he does not have the power to speak for or against Amotekun.
“It is true Tinubu’s followers and all concerned Yoruba people would have expected him to take a position on the issue, but we at Yoruba Ronu feel it is not yet appropriate for him to talk since the governors and Federal Government are still discussing on the issue, while we also believe that deliberation would be ongoing at APC levels of which Tinubu would be involved.”
But surprisingly, a factional chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of APC, Mr. Fouad Oki wondered what the people expected Tinubu to say on Amotekun now when the governors, who planned the new security initiative did not carry him along during the process.
According to him, “We must first and foremost establish whether the governors appropriately sought Tinubu’s input on Amotekun when they were planning it, and when it was launched? I am not advocating for anybody.”
As at the time of filing this report, Tinubu’s spokesman, Mr. Tunde Rahman was yet to respond to several calls placed to his mobile phone. But another source close to him confirmed last night that he would soon speak.
However, the Yoruba within and outside the country have been urged to file out on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, in support of Operation Amotekun.
The protest code-named “Amotekun Solidarity Walk,” which is being organised by Yoruba World Congress (YWC), an umbrella body of all Yoruba socio-cultural and self-determination groups within and beyond the country, will take place in all states capital in the South West.
The YWC is led by Yoruba Leader, Emeritus Professor of History, and Second Republic Senator, Banji Akintoye.
According to a statement, yesterday, by YWC Director of Contacts and Mobilisation, Comrade Victor Taiwo, the protest will hold simultaneously in Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Osogbo, Akure and Ado-Ekiti respectively from 9 am.
“All Yoruba people are urged to come out in their millions anywhere they are in Oduduwa Land on Tuesday to show to the world that Amotekun has come to stay. We must show to the external forces and their internal collaborators, who want to stampede our resolve to protect ourselves, safeguard our land from kidnappers, armed robbery, and put an end to consistent destruction of our farmlands that enough is enough.
“Well-meaning Yoruba people and leaders of thought would be at designated venues to address the protest. We want to assure our governors that Yoruba people are behind them on Amotekun. We urge them not to shiver and they must never shiver. It is no retreat, no surrender. We will not surrender Amotekun.”
FORMER Commander of the First and Fourth Guard Battalions in Lagos, General Yakubu Rimdan (rtd), yesterday, came hard on the South West security initiative, saying it is not only illegal, but unconstitutional.
General Rimdan in an interview with The Guardian said: “You cannot form a force in a force unless you are asking for chaos. In any legitimately established operational outfit that has been formed by the government, nobody has the right to go and form any other thing unless you are against the government. Then, of course, the government will come out to deal with you. So, no one has that constitutional right to do it.”
“If there is any group or persons that are doing that, it is short of asking for another Boko Haram within the area. The government cannot just sit down to look at you and let you go ahead with it … If you are trying to create a force in a force, you should never be allowed to continue with it because it is a dent, which is against the Constitution of this country. It should never be allowed to continue.”
Right Reverend James Akinola (rtd) of the Diocese of Igbomina, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), also yesterday, called on the Federal Government to support the security initiative, which is aimed at boosting security in the geo-political zone.
The cleric, in his remarks at the 10th-anniversary thanksgiving service of the Diocese of Ijebu South-West of the church, said the initiative would complement the Federal Government’s effort at stemming widespread insecurity in the country.
He charged the Federal Government to applaud the initiators of this bright idea, the southwest governors, urging that the initiative should be backed by law.
According to him, anyone, who loves life and hates shedding of innocent blood would not only support Amotekun and those that came up with the lofty idea but also promote the same.
“If some people are saying that the idea is not in the Constitution, then since the Constitution is man-made, a clause for establishing Amotekun should be simply included instead of continually casting aspersions on a very bright development,” he said.