There has been no shortage of intrigue since the Governors of the South West states united to launch Operation Amotekun.
That step, it can be argued was the first time in a long while that the Yorubas united to speak with one voice, ditching political allegiances to stand as one.
Of the six South West states, of them belong to the All Progressives Congress, APC, with only Oyo State led by Governor Seyi Makinde belonging to the PDP.
That arrangement has always put the states at loggerheads especially when Governor Fayose was the Governor of Ekiti State but with Operation Amotekun, the South West may just be taking the first step towards uniting and putting aside political differences to speak as one.
The South West has been one of the unfortunate victims of kidnappers’ activities and unchecked proliferation of armed men hiding under the banner of herdsmen to commit crime.
Ordinarily, it is the job of the Nigerian Police Force to safeguard the lives of all Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion or region. But there has been a growing distrust of state apparatus when it comes to securing the citizens with majority of those affected insisting that the government has been treating the criminals with rubber gloves.
Elder statesmen like General TY Danjuma have been very vocal about the state of security in the country. The last time he spoke in the South West, he was very direct and came short of berating leaders in the region.
Perhaps that was the last straw for Governors in the region or maybe it was the encouragement needed to launch the project but one thing is clear, the initiative, which is an attempt for Yorubas to protect its people and safeguard properties is a noteworthy one that is long overdue.
Since the launch of Operation Amotekun, there have been support from a number of quarters but there have also been opposition.
The Attorney General believes that it is unconstitutional and illegal. The problem is that in the north of Nigeria, the Hisbah Police are allowed a field day. They have uniforms and arrest defaulters and the AG has yet to call them out for being unconstitutional.
The loudest mourners have been the Miyetti Allah Cattle Rearers Association. Their opposition to the initiative is understandable seeing as they are proponents of a Nigeria where cattle is free to graze anywhere; a backward notion, I must add that deserves every bit of condemnation as possible.
If it was merely a grazing issue, one could merely oppose it on grounds of it being a backward policy, but lives have been involved. In cases of theft of cattle, herders resort to violence and take lives. As such, grazing should not only be seen as a backward policy, but a deadly one that should be stopped and Amotekun is one potent way to put an end to that insanity before it develops wings.
Are Our Pandering Days Over?
It is an open secret that when it comes to confronting issues head-on, there have always been a willingness to let things slide with regards to the north and what they want.
That’s why certain people would see nothing wrong with the Hisbah Police in the North but find fault with Operation Amotekun.
In a system that works, there would be no need to consider alternative measures to protect oneself, but what happens when those who are supposed to protect you hold your hands at the back and let your attackers run riot?
The Yorubas must stop pandering and I honestly hope that Operation Amotekun is the first step in that direction.
What needs to be done now is to stick to the plan. Nobody can or should be allowed to stop Amotekun. Anyone or group of people owe it to themselves to do whatever it takes to protect themselves and their properties.
As Ilesanmi Samuel said: “When your neighbor starts complaining that your fence is too high, you know who the thief is.”
The Yorubas must continue to speak as one in the face of threats and political manipulations. This is not the end. It is just the beginning.
By James Ogunjimi