Sustained controversy has trailed the establishment of the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), code-named Operation Amotekun by some South-Western states. Amotekun is grabbing national news headlines because it is novel, daring and decisive a strategy towards dealing with the ubiquitous insecurity across the federation for which the incompetent Nigerian federal police force are demonstratively incapable of solving or resolving.
Amotekun may be seen in some quarters as state police dressed or disguised as vigilante or para-military security outfit but the determination of the originators and proponents of the idea behind it all in the face of criticisms or condemnations from certain quarters up north remains commendable.
The formation of Amotekun is an internal security masterstroke destined to send a deafening defense message across. The process of de-marketing of the regional security outfit aimed at addressing the daunting security challenges in the South-West in particular is unfortunate. Yet nothing less should have been expected in an atmosphere of ‘born-to-rule’ mentality!
Expectedly the Federal Government through the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, had declared the security outfit an illegality, saying his office was not consulted before its formation. And the Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Maigari Dingyadi, speaking from Sokoto, backed the position of the AGF. For him: “If Operation Amotekun differs from the support being rendered by state governments to the Federal Government on security matters, then it is unconstitutional.”
The former radical Governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, added his disagreeing voice to the Amotekun national controversy. In an exclusice interview he granted the ‘Sunday-Sun’ newspaper penultimate weekend he had argued strongly against the security outfit warning Nigerians surprisingly to be wary of the intentions behind the establishment.
Declaring the project a “distrustful one”, he said “it was a ploy to secure Yoruba-land and a prelude to the declaration of Oduduwa Republic”. Strong words but strong reactions had followed almost immediately. From the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka to Gani Adams, Femi Falana to Olisa Agbakoba the reactions in support of Amotekun were as hard as they could come.
The old Musa was spot on when he acknowledged that the Buhari presidency’s incompetence had led to the formation of Amotekun. But he goofed when he called for its resistance on the ground that it would definitely lead to the declaration of the Oduduwa Republic. What oracle did Musa consult before coming to such conclusion?
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) otherwise known as Fulani herdsmen terrorists had added their antagonistic voice to the raging national debate over Amotekun. The National Secretary of the group, Saleh Alhassan, had last Tuesday while featuring on Channels Television’s programme Sunrise Daily, described Amotekun as a “monster and threat to democracy”. “We are afraid because if they don’t tame this monster at the early stage, it is going to be a serious disaster for the country” he had reasoned alarmingly.
Few weeks ago The Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi and Prof. Wole Soyinka, had met and asked Nigerians to rise up and defend their ancestral lands since the Muhammadu Buhari-led government was idling in protecting the lives of citizens.
The point to be made here is that the Nigerian state has since collapsed! And we are just deceiving ourselves that things are still working. Nothing is working anymore anywhere! When the ill-equipped and ill-trained federal police force are not up to their duties and when the Buhari-led federal government has manifestly failed to secure lives and properties across the board then Amotekun is called for.
The Federal Government, boxed to the corner, had recently, albeit belatedly, accepted the Amotekun security outfit. The Governors of the Yoruba-speaking states had met with the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, in Abuja where the government pronounced its volte face on the issue.
For us Amotekun is a welcome development in a nation without security. The primary objective of any government is to protect lives and properties of the citizenry. And since the Buhari-led administration has failed to secure lives and properties of Nigerians then more Amotekuns should be encouraged to follow suit!
Amotekun is, therefore, here to stay and the Governors of the South-west states deserve commendation for the revolutionary initiative. Let other geo-political regions or zones– South-East, Niger Delta, Middle Belt– create their own Amotekuns. The nay-sayers must give us a break and let them be.
As Igboland, besieged militarily with scores of checkpoints from Enugu to Umuahia, recently marked fifty years of Biafra, a muted jubilee from all indications, the Amotekun phenomenon has paid an indirect posthumous tribute to the late Ikemba-Nnewi, Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, who had seen prophetically and radically pointed out the dysfunctional ingredients of the Nigerian federalism as presently constituted and practised.
As it was then, decades ago, so it is now if not worse!
The day Nigeria would break up would definitely mark a befitting milestone in Ojukwism. In the event of disintegration happening in this generation then Ojukwu’s leadership vision and sagacity would have triumphed at long last!
By Ozodinukwe Okenwa…
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