We wait for how far the Centralized (not Federal) Government of Nigeria will go in its attempt to trivialise Amotekun after the Thursday more civil intervention of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo as against the earlier internal colonialist approach of AGF Abubakar Malami, who was forced to climb down his high horse by the resistance of the West and its freedom loving friends across Nigeria.
Amotekun was too token for those of us who have eyes on the big prize of federalism at the beginning. I told a western diplomat in Lagos last week that it was infradig of me to be explaining to him that I am struggling to have guards around me in 2020 when I commune regularly with Mr Solomon Asemota (SAN) who was a Federal Police Officer alongside the Native Authority Police in Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s Owo hometown in 1962.
The imperial attitude of Abuja made us to invest our time in asserting the will of the West and on Amotekun as a matter arising on the federalist agenda in this unsettled polity. I wonder why this dialectics is so difficult to understand by a former Yoruba self-determination activist who is now a full-time Fulani internet thug. Well, if he has not become a turncoat, he would not have been throwing poisonous daggers at the back of his bosom friend,Omoyele Sowore at a time we invested all our strength to get him out of illegal detention. I will not waste time on the contemptible cultist who plagiarised him.
The Amotekun struggle no matter its limitations has reassured Yoruba assertiveness and brought a new focus for all cheated nationalities in Nigeria. The internal colonialists should know by now that yesterday ended last night and never will they be able to rule in the old way again.
Now to the length of Sokoto and Amotekun. When civil rule came in 1979, veteran journalist Chief Bisi Onabanjo was elected Governor of Ogun State and he did something unusual to check little things that determine big ones when he was to put his cabinet together.
He had a team of the best Ogun could produce put together with more nominees than portfolios. They had to go through the final test after all the screenings which none of them knew was part of the examinations for the job.
The nominees were invited to a dinner where the number of meat each person packed on his plate and the bottles of beer consumed were used to gauge what their attitude would be to public resources. Some were dropped that night.
When order returns here, we have to get to those little things that matter even though the big things don’t even matter to us at the moment.
One of such little things that matter could be the length of a sokoto (trouser) which has played out in my state of origin -Osun.
The state was an embarrassment to Yoruba values years back when it became the epicenter of religious intolerance which was an alien thing in Oduduwa land. As young pupils in that space, we never knew there was any difference between being born by Muslim or Christian parents. I attended Christian Primary and Secondary Schools with all my Sherif and Mulikat classmates who never changed their names or faith. We shared our festive foods across religious lines. We danced to welcome Hajj returnees singing “Barka re o e, Barka re; Alhaji to re Mecca to bo Barka re”. Experimental ones from both divides would even munch some bean cakes with egungun worshippers.
All of a sudden the same space became one where government could not insist on uniform in its schools when Hijab wearing became an instrument of fomenting religious fault lines.
A court in the state delivered what was seen as an orchestrated judgment giving right to female students to wear hijab to schools instead of uniform. Duoform started immediately. Before anyone knew what was happening, students who were Christians turned up in schools in church service garments and egungun worshippers in their masks.
Public schools in the state were thrown into disorder. The government lost control with Governor Rauf Aregbesola speaking in forked tongue about the judiciary that destabilised the harmony in public schools being an independent arm of government. He spoke about the state being a democracy (that should allow a breakdown of existing harmony?) and not a theocracy.
Of course, he was hiding behind a finger. The entire hijab distraction flowed from the length of his own sokoto. His trouser is never full length. It is not because of lack of clothe, but because short trousers are the normal for Tabllqs-a Muslim sect. It was a religious exhibition the hijab-wearing students were enforcing in their own way.
Where the governor failed to be governor because of his own bigotry, the Yoruba spirit prevailed. There was a meeting of leaders across faiths as the issue degenerated. It was Islamic leaders in the state who ended the crisis at the meeting when they told the governor that they sent their children to school to acquire knowledge and not to exhibit faith attires!
The remnants of that divisiveness raised their ugly heads again as Abuja breathed down the necks of the Yoruba over Amotekun. They spoke for those who would want to drag the Yoruba people in the mud.
The phoney group that went by the name Osun State Muslim Community said that they were in full support of existing security outfit, which has made our people so vulnerable, for protection of life and property in Nigeria provided by the Nigeria constitution and the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The group in the communique signed by the duo of Alhaji Mustafa Olawuyi (President) and Alhaji Hashim Ilelabade Olapade (Secretary), added that “The composition and establishment of Amotekun in the South-West of Nigeria is unacceptable by the Osun State Muslim Community (OSMC) as highlighted in its nomenclature.”
“The composition and establishment of Amotekun in the South-West of Nigeria is unacceptable by the Osun State Muslim Community (OSMC) as highlighted in its nomenclature.
“We unequivocally condemn issuance of certificate of birth, letters of recommendation from the Church deliberately silent about other religions. Osun State Muslim Community (OSMC) can never support one-sided security outfit which may later on prove insecure for the general populace.”
They made a lot of other sense-bereaved comments not worth this space.
This group lied, of course, when it claimed to be the community of Muslims in Osun State. We know it is not a body for the proper Yoruba in the state who are Muslims, including my good brothers, Mr Kayode Ogunbunmi, Dr Lasisi Olagunju and Governor Gboyega Oyetola.
And because the governor knows the responsibility of his office and a Muslim whose sokoto is full length, he did not allow any saber-rattling. He did not speak in forked tongues when he quickly made a statement. I quote his timely and responsible response:
“Amotekun: Kidnapping, Rape and Armed Banditry have no religion.
“The raging debate over the launch of the South West Security Network otherwise known as Amotekun is no doubt healthy and a welcome development.
“But to politicise it on the altar of religion and ethnicity will be unhealthy, dangerous and counter productive.
“Amotekun is a collective response by the South West region to the spate of armed banditry, rape, kidnapping, and other violent crimes that suddenly became a past time in the South West.
“To therefore claim that it is an agenda against a particular faith or adherents of a particular religion is not only preposterous, but also in bad taste.
“Kidnapping, Rape and Armed Banditry have no religion and know no tribe or ethnicity.
“For the records, no recruitment has been carried out so far, especially in our dear State of Osun. So, rather than constitute ourselves into opposing a project we all clamoured for in response to existential threats for which some of the governors in the region have been called out and vilified in the past, we should rally support for Amotekun by coming up with strategies to fine-tune it with a view to bridging any communication gap between the Federal Government and the South West Governors over it.
“Section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is clear that the security of life and property of citizens as well as their welfare is the primary purpose and responsibility of government, be it state or federal.
“The State of Osun is committed to protecting its citizens; and every reasonable and responsible Osun indigene must join our collective resolve as a government to protect our citizens and their property. “
Nigeria: Ko le work!
I must appreciate your courage and indefatigable commitment to the cause of human rights, fairness and justice.
It is begging the issue to think or believe that Yoruba have not already been pushed to the wall with the nauseating and putrid activities of the audaciously clannish and lawless political warlords at the corridors of power in Abuja. The unfair opposition by Abuja to the Amotekun security outfit to safeguard the Southwest from banditry and other like criminality, should sound a clear alarm to the Yoruba that there is fire on the mountain; Abuja does not mean well for the Yoruba.
Yoruba, again by fate, must now lead from the front and take the bull by the horns to redeem their own people and other people alike that are suffering from this cesspool of brutal and narcissist overlord tribe plaguing the country. Progressive Yoruba leaders and vibrant youths must think out of the box now to birth a regional government or a true federal system for their people, away from this totally rigged, unworkable and incompetence laden current pseudo federal system. Sustainable pressure must be asserted using both domestic and international strength and wherewithals to rescue and reposition the destiny of the Yoruba and other oppressed ethnic nationalities before it is too late. The template of regionalism fought for and established by the Nigeria’s heroes past like Awolowo, Azikiwe and Abubakar after independence to reflect the ethnic diversity and existential cooperation of the people of Nigeria must define the new Nigeria where the regions must develop at their own pace and not at the no pace strategy and incompetence of the clannish political bandits at the corridor of power. Thank you.
Thank you so much for your views. I am one of the die-hard readers of your column. Thanks to God for Amotekun. It has suddenly united Yorubas nationwide no matter our political or religious affiliations. I hope those opposing Amotekun will tread with care.