…Says Regional security outfit portends no risk to national security
Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has finally broken his silence on the establishment of the South-West regional security outfit, Amotekun, calling for dialogue in resolving the controversy over the initiative.
Amotekun was launched by six governors of the south-west under the Western Nigeria Governors’ Forum (WNGF) penultimate week to tackle the rising insecurity in the region. But the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami declared the outfit as illegal. The long silence of Tinubu over the initiative however raised suspicion in the region with many stakeholders challenging Tinubu, who is a prominent Yoruba leader, to state his stance on the initiative.
But through a press release today, the APC leader broke the silence today calling for private discussion between the Governors of the South-west and the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami, over Amotekun. According to him, the foundation of the country had not been put at risk with the South-west regional security outfit launched by the governors of the zone.
The former Lagos governor, however, asserted that, that foundation could be broken by what he called the “dangerous rhetoric of those who should know better.” Tinubu in a statement personally signed by him titled, “The Public Discourse Over Amotekun”, said: “Those claiming that this limited, inoffensive addition to security threatens the Republic have taken themselves upon a madcap excursion. “Those claiming that the Federal Government seeks to terribly suppress the Southwest have also lost their compass. Those who occupy these two extremes have sunken into the dark recesses of fear and political paranoia that can undo a nation if such sentiments are allowed to gestate. “This issue has dominated recent discourse and media headlines. Distilled to its basics, it concerns how best state governments can assist with the safety and security of their residents. This is a matter of serious concern entitled to sober thought. However, it has been turned into a political tug-of-war. Fierce, often unthinking rhetoric, for and against, has crossed the lips of too many Nigerians. More subjective talking than objective thinking has been the fuel of this outburst. “Question those in favour of Amotekun. Most have but the vaguest notion about it. They know few details yet vigorously attribute to its opponents the most negative intentions. Ask those who oppose Amotekun. They are equally ignorant of its provisions. They oppose the initiative not on its merits but merely because it was proposed by their political opponents or because they don’t see an avenue for personal gain from it. “While colourful, the rhetoric has been disconcerting. How people have mishandled this matter demonstrates that we still have far to go in perfecting this democracy. Too much energy has been spent distorting this issue instead of seeking a resolution that supports local enhancement of security while keeping the constitution intact. If this becomes the standard for how we handle disagreements then we will obscure Nigeria’s path forward with our own rubbish. “In this matter, I do not see malign intent in the differences of opinion between the SW Governors as authors of Amotekun and the Attorney-General as the primary law enforcement officer of the Federal Government. Shorn of the overly dramatic language, what lies before us is but a step in the evolution of our federalism. This is an opportunity to more clearly define that federalism; but one cannot attain this better, more functional definition through overblown, emotional language. Objectivity and calmness are required. To a significant degree, the enduring quality of our republic will be established by the sagacity with which we handle disagreements regarding the division of power between federal and state governments. Such disagreements are inevitable. This is not the first. Nor will it be the last. We must devote our energies more toward solving problems rather than amplifying them. “Seeking to fulfil their mandates by helping protect their people, the governors of the Southwest collectively established a program to buttress existing security mechanisms. Seeking to protect the constitution as best he could, the Attorney-General offered his opinion on what he believed the governors have sought to do. No one can blame either party for seeking to fulfil what they genuinely see as their public duty.”