By Nwabueze Akabogu
The official take-off of the regional security outfit named “operation Amotekun” which was recently launched by the South West Governors came like a bombshell to the nation as the historic event was kept top secret by the organizers until the day of the actual launch which took the entire nation by storm. The security vehicles all fitted with security gadgets and numbering about 110 which were on display at the event together with security personnel in uniform on parade clearly demonstrated the enormous resources as well as the painstaking efforts and planning deployed towards the formation of this novel security architecture by the State governors.
However, the launch of this security outfit “Amotekun” had already elicited a barrage of commentaries and mixed reactions from many Nigerians even as the first negative reaction came from the Federal Government which strongly condemned the formation of the security apparatus as illegal and unconstitutional. The Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami as the Chief Law Office of the country had maintained that the six South West Governors lacked the constitutional powers to launch a regional security outfit or by whatever name called as such an action tantamount to gross violation of the nation’s constitution which explicitly vested the formation and operation of the nation’s security apparatus exclusively in the Federal Government. In a swift reaction however, the South West Governors had threatened to challenge the position of the Federal Attorney General in court.
The current controversy appears to have now shifted to the court as the battle line has already been drawn between the Federal Government and the South West States Governments on this rather unnecessary confrontation and national embarrassment.
A common saying that “Nero was fiddling while Rome was burning” readily comes to mind and is very apt in the context of the current flexing of muscles between the Federal Government and the South West leaders on the rather alarming security challenges facing the country.
And to put it more succinctly, our common adage also says, “One whose house is on fire does not go about pursuing rats”. Common sense and rational thinking demand that all possible measures should be adopted to reduce the current intolerable level of insecurity in the country and as such, any patriotic initiative by the State authorities to confront head on this hydra-headed or ubiquitous monster called insecurity bordering on Boko Haram insurgency, kidnappings, armed banditry, Fulani herdsmen insurgents etc should be welcomed and applauded by all and sundry. The extremely grave situation calls for synergy and collaborative efforts among all the tiers of government and certainly this is not the time for blame game or unnecessary controversy as the country is currently facing one of the most difficult times in her history.
It is against the backdrop of the foregoing therefore, that the bold initiative taken by the leaders of the South West region to embark on the formation of the region’s internal security architecture should be commended by all well meaning and patriotic Nigerians even as other regions in the country should equally emulate the example of the six South West Governors and urgently set up their own internal security apparatus to stem the tide of the unprecedented upsurge in criminal activities that seem to have taken the entire nation hostage for pretty long time now.
The people of the South West led by the powerful Yoruba Socio-cultural organization, the “Afenifere” had again demonstrated their legendary diplomatic prowess, pragmatism, political sagacity and uncommon ingenuity for which they are well reputed through their deftly planning and execution of this commendable project which could rightly be described as a masterstroke without anyone having an inkling or knowledge of their well thought-out strategy.
It is instructive to observe however, that all the six State Governors of the South West region with the exception of Oyo State where the historic event took place belong to the ruling APC party that controls the Federal government. The Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo also comes from the South-West region.
This is obviously different from what is obtainable in the South East region where the people led by the toothless bull dog called “Ohaneze Ndigbo” who had acquired the reputation of always talking before thinking or planning. The South East Governors and Ohaneze Ndigbo seriously lack unity of purpose, cohesion and proper understanding of the current geo-politics in the country, hence they often sound discordant tunes in crucial national issues that affect their own people.
The persistent calls for the decentralization of the nation’s security apparatus had been on the front burner of the national discourse and it has become imperative therefore that all the zones or regions in the country should adopt their own strategy in dealing with the current extremely dangerous insecurity situation in the country. The Nigeria Police Force as presently constituted is grossly and hopelessly inadequate and incapable of dealing with the prevailing monumental security challenges confronting the nation and as such any action initiated towards complementing the efforts of the National Police Outfit by any group of States coming together for the sole purpose of offering adequate security to their people must be commended and certainly not be condemned.
It is pertinent to stress also that the primary responsibility of any government the world over, is the security of lives and property of her citizens and therefore it would amount to gross insensitivity or sheer sabotage for any government worthy of the people’s trust to abdicate its sacred responsibility or worst still appears to oppose any measures aimed at providing adequate security for her own citizens.
The raging controversy over the constitutionality or otherwise of the States or regional authorities to set up their internal security architecture for the security of their citizens is totally uncalled for. This issue with the right frame of mind could easily be sorted out through dialogue and not by unnecessary flexing of muscle or power tussle among the political gladiators operating within the system.
The primary function of the National Assembly is to make laws for good governance and the wellbeing of the citizens and therefore the issue of State or regional police should be handled by the National Assembly as a matter of urgent public importance and national priority. The National Assembly should come up with a legislation to empower the present six geo-political zones in the country and not the individual States to set up their various zonal police organizations which would complement the functions of the Federal or National police as obtainable in developed democracies. The bottom line or the main objective is to safeguard the lives and property of the Nigerian citizens, period. The type of system or modus of operation adopted in achieving the noble objective is completely immaterial.
Nigeria that often prides herself as the most populous nation in Africa must always set the pace for other African nations and must equally live up to her popular appellation as truly “the giant of Africa” not only in words but in deeds.
Nze Nwabueze Akabogu (JP) is a Regular Public Affairs Commentator and Analyst.