S/West Governors back Tinubu’s on Amotekun

South-West governors and the apex Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere,  on Wednesday differed on the All Progressives Congress leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s  position on the Western Nigerian Security Network, Operation Amotekun.

The governors commended the former Lagos State governor and promised to look into the  issues he raised, but  Afenifere hit  Tinubu hard, saying his statement lacked substance.

After almost three weeks of silence on the launching of Amotekun, Tinubu on Wednesday made his position known on the security outfit, which was launched by the South-West governors in Ibadan on January 9.

Afenifere chieftains, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Senator Femi Okurounmu, had, in a report published by Sunday PUNCH on January 19,  challenged Tinubu to speak on the security outfit, which the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, on Thursday last week declared illegal.

But Tinubu, in a statement he personally signed, took a neutral position on  Amotekun. His position is at variance  with the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; Ohanaeze Ndigbo and prominent lawyers, who lauded the initiative.

Tinubu blamed both the South-West governors and Malami  for the controversy the matter had generated.

The APC leader, who is rumoured to be nursing a presidential ambition, said the intentions of the governors were good but the manner with which Amotekun was being set up was wrong.

The former governor of Lagos State criticised Malami for issuing a statement condemning the initiative when he could have simply reached out to them and handled it internally and more amicably.

He added, “The governors stated that they consulted regularly with the police and security agencies. This was the right thing to do. However, their failure to include the office of the attorney general in these discussions is the fount of the current public uproar. This was an unfortunate omission the governors should regret and seek to remedy. However, the conceptual merits and positive functional aspects of Amotekun should not be tainted by this procedural defect.

“While the Attorney General is a conscientious public servant, he is also human. Not having been consulted, he was suddenly faced with an unexpected public announcement regarding a matter within his official ambit. He likely feared the failure to consult him meant that federal prerogatives were being encroached. To blame him for this conclusion would be to blame human nature itself. Though his negative reaction was understandable, it was also unhelpful.

“The Attorney General acted hastily in rendering a public statement that was more inaccurate than it should have been. Amotekun was never proposed as a ‘defence’ agency; the Attorney General erred in using this description. The use of uniform and brightly coloured vehicles may not be the best ideas, but they do not render Amotekun a defence agency or paramilitary group any more than a designated school van carrying uniformed students constitutes a paramilitary deployment.”

The APC chieftain said Amotekun was a laudable initiative, but needed some operational and conceptual modifications or else it would fail.

Tinubu wrote, “As I understand it, Amotekun is to be another set of eyes and ears to assist the police. As such, it is but the second generation of Neighbourhood Watch expanded to a regional scale. Conceptually, there is nothing wrong with this. It does not appear to insult the constitution.

“However, my position regarding Amotekun is not blind or uncritical; there are several organisational and functional aspects of the proposal that could cause some problems if left unresolved.”

Tinubu said Amotekun should have been fashioned to the peculiarities of each state rather than having a regional structure.

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