If there are still souls yet to get the reason we have ceaselessly called for Nigeria to be restructured to a federalism, instead of being locked in its present unitary arrangement and maligning the most ideal structure for multi-ethnic society; the brouhaha over the introduction of Amotekun in the South-West-substantial area of Yorubaland within Nigeria should have brought them some understanding.
The Western Region with relative autonomy under a federal structure in 1962 established a university in Ile-Ife with an Atomic Energy Centre in place without any internal colonial authority asking it any question.
Fifty eight years after and under a unitary structure, one of its governors had to go from Israel to Egypt (the same distance from Lagos to Abuja) on behalf of his colleagues to take approval from an ordinary Inspector General of Police to attempt to secure their people.
I repeat the “Ordinary” before the IGP because there is no state in what Nigeria calls South West today that does not have what it takes to be a country in the United Nations with a head of police reporting to its leader.
That trip to the colonial office by Dr Kayode Fayemi, the governor of Ekiti State to take the nod of IGP Adamu to commence Neighbourhood Watch at best should not be lost on all those who do not believe in singing freedom song in captivity.
There was this hot debate at the 2014 National Conference on state police with vociferous opposition from delegates from the core north. We adjourned the matter to the next proceeding. Shortly after we adjourned for the day I got a copy of The Nation in my hotel room and behold on its front page was the image of unformed man you would mistake for an elite police cop with new and well ironed attire. It was only the inscription that told you he was of Hisbah the Sharia Police in Kano.
My adrenalin pumped and I let all those who should know be in the know. I called the Abuja Editor of the newspaper to get us about 500 copies of the edition. With the marked picture, a copy was placed on the table of every delegate the following morning and we passed multi-level policing without the opposition of the previous day.
There was no trip to the IGP by the governors of Sharia States before Hisbah was introduced to enforce Sharia Law in the north. The whole Sharia itself was introduced in subversion of the constitution some loudmouths now say will handle Amotekun. It was the greatest dare thrown at the Obasanjo presidency but which he handled with deft maneuvering to avert a crisis that would have ended this nasty (nascent ?) democracy years ago.
It was a defining moment of a section of the country that believes it can always force its wish down the throats of the rest of the country at its insolent best. I remembered those days when our “airplane driving” CJN started his Sharia next level campaign recently .
The countries that were at the same level of projections with the Western Region of 1962 are today looking for spaces to conquer outside the moon. Was in China recently and robots were coming to serve us food in our hotel rooms while Yorubaland that was aiming for atomic energy in 1962 is locked in perpetual feud with feudalists over mundane issues like the permission to learn our history in our schools, right to prospect mineral resources under our territory and the capacity to defend ourselves with the cheapest rifles while our tormentors surround us with illegal AK 47s the Nigerian state has failed to disarm.
This is why Amotekun is a token symbol of assertion of the right to live as human beings which Yoruba must not back down from and other vulnerable groups in Nigeria must assert. If Fulani herdsmen carry sophisticated weapons across Nigeria unhindered to trouble the lives of other nationalities, the command-and-control rulers of Nigeria will have to let us go to any court in the world to argue the reason why the rest of us should be denied the right to defend ourselves.
There could be among operators of Amotekun who many not see this beyond political mileage to just show we can still find some accommodation to continue to manage under this structure as it is. We have no problem with them for as long as our people have their sense of history without necessarily being professors of history.
All we ask of the governors at this time is to stand firm on the resolve to secure our people. We know they have no desire to trouble Nigeria contrary to the postulations of our troublers. They must be warmed by the experience of Nigeria to pay living wages to the boys engaged in the Amotekun project. To give gums to poorly paid people is to breed a new layer of extortionists and robbers of the poor that the Nigerian Police has epitomised.
The vulnerable groups in Nigeria must understand that what they face within the country which made former Defence Minister, Lt. General T.Y Danjuma to scream “collusion between bandits and security forces” and former President Olusegun Obasanjo to alert of “Fulanisation agenda”; is not what you can overcome easily with just informal security measures. You have official apparatus stacked against you in addition to the state-of-the-art weapons of the enemy. This is why a detour should not supplant the main struggle to re-work Nigeria into a properly federated country where all sections of the country are equal, free and cooperating. We must bring an end to the current apartheid arrangement where a section is superior and the other is inferior.
I have shared my feelings about the recent daring encounter of Borno State Governor with some soldiers at a checkpoint. I have not stopped wondering what a governor from a part of the country would drink that would not clear from his eyes to be so “unruly” at the sight of the caliphate army.
In the meantime, when those who are repositories of all available means of violence which has Nigeria to a major insurgent point in the world come foaming in the mouths saying the fence of the house of their neighbour is becoming too high for their comfort, just remind them of the eight-point demand of their fathers as a condition to return to Nigeria after they practically opted out in 1953 as a protest against the motion for independence:
1) That each region shall have complete Legislative and Executive Autonomy with respect to all matters except the following: External Affairs, Defense, Customs and West African Research Institutions;
(2) That there should be no Central Legislative body and no Central Executive or Policy making body for the whole of Nigeria;
(3) That there shall be Central Agency for all regions which will be responsible for matters mentioned in Paragraph (1) and other matters delegated to it by a Region;
(4) That the Central Agency shall be a neutral place preferably Lagos;
(5) That the composition and responsibility of the Central Agency shall be defined by the order -in-Council establishing the constitutional arrangements. The agency shall be a non-political body.
(6) That the services of railway, air, posts and telegraphs, electricity and coal mining, shall be organised on an inter-regional basis and shall be administered by public corporations. These corporations shall be independent and covered by the statutes under which they are created by the board of experts with a minority representation of the regional governments;
(7) All the revenues shall be levied and collected by the regional government except Customs revenue at the port of discharge by the Central Agency and paid to its treasury;
(8) The administration of the Customs shall be so organised so as to assure that goods consigned to the region are separately cleared and charged to duty. Each region shall have a separate public service.