The governor of Ondo State and chairman, South West Governors’ Forum, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has said that the South-west security initiative, Amotekun, is neither a regional army nor an ethnic agenda aimed at undermining national cohesion.
He, however, advised against divisive statements and utterances that are capable of compromising the genuine intentions of the South west governors.
The governor’s statement is coming on the heels of floods of reactions from several leading elements of the south west, who have raised objections to the recent stance of the federal government on Amotekun.
Amotekun is the security outfit launched by the six states of the south west to rising insecurity in the region.
The governors launched the security organisation on January 9, but the federal government afterwards declared it illegal and contrary to the provisions of the constitution.
A statement by the Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Donald Ojogo, on Sunday, said the governor reaffirmed his earlier position that Amotekun was initiated to complement the efforts of the conventional internal security agencies that appeared to have been hampered by the absence of local intelligence gathering architecture.
“Put simply, Amotekun when fully operational would serve the purposes of local information and intelligence gathering for processing and usage by the conventional security agencies,” the statement said.
“Amotekun is therefore, merely supportive and not a replacement for the Nation’s security agencies.
“The concerns expressed by individuals, agencies of government and several stakeholders are noted without bias. Where possible, the inexorable efforts of the South west governors will be deepened through relentless interface.”
The governor warned that while the interface and engagements continue, the ongoing discourse on the issue of Amotekun “must not be misguidedly used as a platform to ventilate personal or group views aimed at oiling primordial sentiments and grievances.”
He said ethicising the current situation was even more unhelpful, adding that there should be no reason for such.
“This is more so that the Amotekun scheme is not targeted at any non-Southwest ethnic group just as its benefits are to be reaped by all Nigerians irrespective of ethnic or religious placements,” the statement further said.
Mr Akeredolu expressed confidence that the South-west governors will not capitulate to blackmail either from within or outside the region but were ready to pursue the Amotekun security scheme through all permissible political and legal means.
“Under circumstances of the nature of Amotekun, the choices are numerous. They range from prevarication and pretence; partisanship and sycophancy as well as moderate and complimentary steps not inimical to the corporate existence of our Nation Nigeria,” read the state.
“The South west governors have chosen the later. In unequivocal terms too, each of the choices has a consequence, if not consequences.
“Unfortunately, the steps of South West Governors have unwittingly, had to contend with forces of conspiratorial silence and unpretentious moves of sabotage.
“Each has a right to choices; but certainly, no one individual can circumvent the consequences of whatever choices he or she makes in life.”
Mr Ojogo noted that fears and apprehensions had been expressed in many quarters that Mr Akeredolu’s role in the formation of Amotekun could mar his second term chances.
“This is far from the truth because Governor Akeredolu is on the path of national cohesion through collaborative internal security,” he said.
“The decision taken in respect of Amotekun was in the interest of the entire Nation but not the Southwest alone. The political insinuations and blackmail are the required ingredients needed to make it credible. But such will not discourage the governor in any manner.”
He however said that there were “political vultures” waiting to reap from an imaginary scenario, especially as the 2020 Ondo governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress approached.
“In words and in deeds, Governor Akeredolu will not sacrifice the compelling need to make lives safer in the South west on the altar of political convenience, comfort and partisanship. The welfare of the people must come first,” he said.
“It therefore suffices that Governor Akeredolu considers more compelling, the need to institutionalize an acceptably complementary and more enduring security framework in the South west.”
Gani Adam speaks
Meanwhile, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, also called on traditional rulers in the South-West of Nigeria to throw their weight behind the Western Nigerian Security Network to ensure it comes to fruition.
Mr Adams made the call in a statement on Sunday, noting that it was obvious that since the launch of the project, crimes being perpetrated in the zone were gradually reducing.
He further urged the State Houses of Assembly in the region to back the security outfit by law within two weeks to conform with what happened in some Northern States on Hisbah commission and civilian JTF in Bornu state.
“As we can see and observe, since the launch of Amotekun few weeks ago, criminal activities is gradually going into oblivion, examples include kidnapping, invasion of farmland and other social vices. The existence of Amotekun is the beginning of wisdom,” he said.
Mr Adams said the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Federation had goofed to have described Amotekun as illegal security network, when similar security outfits such as Hisbah operates in Nassarawa, Kano and Katsina States.
He emphasised that the minister had no moral justification to discredit Amotekun, noting that if he found Amotekun illegal, he should also admit same for Hisbah in the North.
He advised the South West Governors not to go to court, but rather that the Minister should go to court.
Mr Adams also seized the opportunity to reply Balarabe Musa, who had condemned the establishment of Amotekun.
“Let me say this clearly, the emergence of Amotekun is the fear of wisdom, and the fear of the North is that, the existence of Amotekun may jeopardise their conquest agenda,” he said.
“They are not for good governance, but interested in their plan towards conquest agenda.”
He queried Mr Musa’s reasoning in the matter, asking if the Hisbah in the North as well as the CJTF were plot to established Arewa Republic?
“Since criminal Fulanis have been killing people for the past four years, even when they overrun Falae’s farmland, has he come to pay condolence visit to Olu Falae, as his friend or make a statement of condolence to the South West?” asked Mr Adams.
“As a former Governor in Nigeria, when has he become the spokesman for the North, that he is now addicted to condemning any good thing from the South West?
“It is on record that, he is the only former Governor in Nigeria who operates a one man show, has no aide, he has no followership.
“On his comments on OPC from the North, we are pleased because, the fear of OPC on the criminals in the North is the beginning of wisdom. Their fear in the North is that, OPC will not compromise on the security situation.”
Speaking on celebration of his second anniversary he expressed appreciation to all Yorubas within and outside the country with special acknowledgement to Governors Kayode Fayemi(Ekiti), Oluwarotimi Akeredolu(Ondo), Alaafin Oyo Lamidi Adeyemi, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Oba Olukare, and all the royal fathers.