Thursday, August 5, 2021
POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE with Lekan Shobowale

 

Operation Amotekun: South West, Tinubu And Politics Of 2023

Insecurity they is as old as man. Mortals from time immemorial have devised several means to secure their lives and properties from assassins and bandits as well as threats from their immediate environment or from far distance who are ruthless and could be fatal if their sinister demands are not met.

This initiatives by the south west region would not be the very first of such not only in Nigeria but even international community. So many years ago, Irish tried to resist the British rule in their country and therefore Resistance Army was formed
as a response.

This really secured the lives and properties of the Irish as it was used to gathered intelligence because its members were also Irish who understand better their enviroment and the workings of each ommunities than the British visitors.

The Italian mafia started in Sicily in Southern Italy as a response to the constant
attacks from the Northern part of the country. It was also exported to the United
States where many Italians of southern descent migrated to. It kept the spirit of
southern Italy alive in America and greatly protected the interests while attending
to their security needs of them even while in exile.

The South-West part of the country has been under vicious attack from the Fulani
herdsmen as well as kidnappers and bandits which makes it unsafe for habitation.

The Nigerian Police Force is terribly ill equipped to handle the needs of the region
due to its defective centralized structure which doesn’t allow for the best
intelligence gathering.

Mariam Popoola, a 65-year old farmer in the village of Ibeku in Ogun state’s Yewa North, wept as she described how attacks by Fulani herdsmen were making local peoples lives a misery.

Some 500 herdsmen were using the Agua border area in Ketu local government for grazing between December and April each year. Although they had been passing through for the last two decades, friction had been getting increasingly worse for the last ten years.

Farmers accuse the herders of damaging crops and allowing their animals to run wild. In some cases, they allege Fulani involvement in serious violence including rape, robbery and murder.

For their part, the herdsmen say that they have no choice but to find pasture for their animals and argue they are the victims of unfounded prejudice. Local agriculturalists say that some villages in Ketu, including Asa, Agon-ojodun, Ayetoro, Ogunpa, Kodera and Igo nla, have been left almost empty of their inhabitants.

Timothy Olasope, another Ibeku farmer, said that his crops had been destroyed for the last two years. He agreed that the presence of the Fulani herdsmen left villagers so frightened that they kept indoors in the evening for fear of attack.

Community leaders have kept lists of attacks. Incidents include the death of Yomi Alade, a teacher in the Area Community High School who was killed in a fight with herdsmen on December 24, 2011, although no one was ever convicted. Three years earlier, local woman Ruth Oga died in a stand-off with herdsmen in her farmland in the village of Asa. A fellow villager was raped and killed as she tried to defend her farm from herdsmen.

In Oyo state, a community leader said that the herders had caused havoc in the ten local government areas of Oke-Ogun. Chief Amos Ajibesin, the chairman of the All Farmers Association, Oyo State, recounted a murder earlier this year that nearly led to a riot.

With Nigeria’s land resources depleted by development as well as desertification, there is often conflict between these sedentary and pastoral communities. Chief Rafiu Magbeje, a community leader in Afua, near the town of Ayete in the Ibarapa North local government of Oyo State, accused pastoralists of allowing their herds to rampage over farmland.

They delegated children to look after their cattle, who were unable to keep the animals on designated grazing paths, he continued. “How can someone just place one man and little children to oversea a herd of 60 cattle?” he asked. “We have held meetings with their leaders to no avail. It has now gotten to the extent that our farmers can no longer get food to eat on their farms, yet the farmlands in
the Fulani settlement are booming.

“Our traders now buy cassava from the Fulanis, which they usually buy from the farmers in the hamlets,” he continued. “Young farmers have been affected, as some of them who took loans from the bank have been sent into debt.”

Community leader Chief Samuel Edun, the Ashamu Apesin of Oja- Ona, said that he no longer believed the herdsmen were interested in grazing animals. “They don’t event eat grass anymore. They are after our farm yields. If they meet a couple in the farm, they will chain the husband and rape the wife in his presence.

As a true son of their ancestors, Oduduwa, the concerned six south west governors came together to form the Operation Amotekun (Leopard in the Yoruba language) to combat the growing menace of insecurity in the land. These men couldn’t sit back and watch their people being mindlessly slaughtered and maimed and so they had to step in, think outside the box while proffering a solution to the nagging challenge.

Now where is politics of 2023 in this whole issue of securing the lives and properties of the people of south west?

The Attorney General of the Federation , Abubakar Malami, on Tuesday said the outfit was illegal , saying security could only be provided by the Federal Government.The AGF in a statement said , “ The setting up of the paramilitary
organisation called Amotekun is illegal and runs contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian law .

“ The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended ) has established the Army , Navy and Air Force, the Police and other numerous paramilitary organisations for the purpose of the defence of Nigeria.

“ As a consequence of this, no state government , whether singly or in a group, has the legal right and competence to establish any form of organisation or agency for the defence of Nigeria or any of its constituent parts.

“ The law will take its natural course in relation to excesses associated with organisation , administration and participation in Amotekun or continuous association with it as an association.

Hours after its inauguration, the Northern Youths Council of Nigeria (NYCN), on
kicked against the formation of ‘Operation Amotekun’ in the southwest zone of the country.

The national president of NYCN, Isah Abubakar, in a statement issued in Kaduna, urged President Muhammadu Buhari, not to allow what he described as “unconstitutionality” to prevail. It also described the security outfit as military wing of the Oodua Peoples Congress in disguise.

“Amotekun group in southwest is OPC military wing in disguise and in the same league with the proscribe IPOB. The president must not allow this unconstitutionality to prevail,” he said.

Miyetti Allah Kaute Hore warned the South-West governors to give up Amotekun, describing the security outfit as political.This has, however, drawn the irk of notable South West leaders, who said that Miyetti Allah Kaute Hore should go to hell with its presidency.

Reading through all this reactions one could then be wondering how can Operation Amotekun solely established to keep peace now getting to breaking peace and a fore runner of sort to 2023 elections.

No doubt 2023 to an ordinary Nigerians may still be so far considering we are in the year 2020 and still have three over three years to go. But to an active politician, 2023 Is only tomorrow and preparation is every seconds if he or she truly want to succeed as a politician.

After a very long wait for the former governor of Lagos state Bola Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), reportedly said the newly launched security outfit in South-West, Operation ‘Amotekun’, is a good innovation, but not what the region needs.

Tinubu, a prominent personality from the south west region had not made any comment since the five governors in the geo-political zone launched the initiative to tackle insecurity in their states and this has made many leaders, stakeholders and groups in the south west questioned the silence of Tinubu.

Whether the step taken to secure lives and properties of the good people of the south west by their governors will affect Yoruba quest for 2023 Presidency or not, only time will tell.

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