A socio-cultural organisation, the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), yesterday called on the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to stop playing the ostrich and speak up on the raging controversy surrounding the new security initiative, Operation Amotekun, recently launched by the Southwest governors, and declared illegal by the federal government. Tinubu, who is the leader of the southwest APC that currently controls five out of the six states in the zone, has remained tight-lipped, and the YCE, and other Yoruba socio-cultural organizations, such as Afenifere and the Yoruba Ronu are deeply troubled by his deafening silence.
The Federal Government through the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami had declared the initiative illegal, while southwest governors and major stakeholders in the region insist they have carried major stakeholders in the Federal Government along since the idea was first muted in July 2019.
YCE Secretary-General, Dr. Kunle Olajide, said Tinubu’s silence on Amotekun is worrisome and gives the impression that he has abandoned the governors, who took the laudable initiative, amidst the rising wave of insecurity across Yoruba land at the mercy of the “almighty federal authority.” According to Olajide, “One would have expected Tinubu to speak up. His silence is not inspiring to most of us because it is incumbent on every reasonable Yoruba person to speak on insecurity confronting us since APC came into power in 2015. YCE is not particularly happy about his silence.” Olajide urged the media to approach Tinubu to speak up on the issue because his voice as the political leader of the zone in the APC is important.
Afenifere, through its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said Tinubu’s voice is irrelevant in this situation since the governors and the entire Yoruba nation have taken a position on how to provide security for their lives and property. According to Afenifere, “Anybody who speaks up or not on this issue does so for his/her sake, and the Yoruba future. Operation Amotekun transcends party affiliation because Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, who is deeply involved, is a member of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while Governors Kayode Fayemi and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ekiti and Ondo states spearheading it are of APC. And most other dignitaries backing Amotekun have no political leanings.”
Another association, the Save Lagos Group, has demanded that Tinubu issues a public statement on his position on the establishment of Amotekun within 24 hours. The group gave the ultimatum, in a statement in which they acknowledged and commended those who have spoken up on the issue, like Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; Mr. Femi Falana, (SAN); Chief Olu Falae, Otunba Gani Adams, among others.
“Yoruba nation is presently in trying period over the formation of the security outfit in the Nigeria Federal Constitutional democracy and no leader of Yoruba nation as well its lovers could keep mute on the burning matter at this period. Yoruba leaders should unite to speak in one voice on the issue,” Sulaiman pointed out.
The statement signed by the Convener, Save Lagos Group, Adeniyi Sulaiman, said they are not unmindful of Tinubu’s position as a stalwart of the All Progressives Congress with presidential ambition in 2023, adding that the security of the South-west was more important than any political ambition while it was not the time to sit on the fence over issues concerning the region.
He assured Tinubu that if he was ordained by God to be President of Nigeria in 2023, no mortal could cost him the position for standing for the truth and his people. They said it was important for Tinubu to speak up, considering the fact that he is seen by many as the leader of the South-west, and in the face of provocation by groups in the North that said the security outfit established by governors of the South-west states would cost the region the presidency in 2023.
Meanwhile, Yorubas within and outside the country have been urged to file out on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, in support of Amotekun. The protest code-named “Amotekun Solidarity Walk,” which is being organised by Yoruba World Congress (YWC), an umbrella body of all Yoruba socio-cultural and self-determination groups within and beyond the country, will take place in all states capital in the South West. The YWC is led by Yoruba Leader, Emeritus Professor of History, and Second Republic Senator, Banji Akintoye.
According to a statement by YWC Director of Contacts and Mobilisation, Comrade Victor Taiwo, the protest will hold simultaneously in Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Osogbo, Akure and Ado-Ekiti respectively from 9 am. “All Yoruba people are urged to come out in their millions anywhere they are in Oduduwa Land on Tuesday to show to the world that Amotekun has come to stay. We must show to the external forces and their internal collaborators, who want to stampede our resolve to protect ourselves, safeguard our land from kidnappers, armed robbery, and put an end to consistent destruction of our farmlands that enough is enough.
“Well-meaning Yoruba people and leaders of thought would be at designated venues to address the protest. We want to assure our governors that Yoruba people are behind them on Amotekun. We urge them not to shiver and they must never shiver. It is no retreat, no surrender. We will not surrender Amotekun,” the statement noted.