National leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has proffered solutions to make the Southwest security outfit, Operation Amotekun work effectively.
Tinubu, who gave his backing for Amotekun, said the matter could not be resolved on the pages of newspapers or by attributing negative motives to either side and that the best way to resolve this was still for the two sides to enter private discussions.
“Either the governors should seek an official but private meeting with the Attorney-General, or the Attorney-General can initiate the contact. Since Amotekun is their initiative, the governors bear the greater onus in seeking the meeting.
“The meeting will initiate further discussion on how to resolve what appears to be a misunderstanding caused by an unfortunate lack of communication. Remedy the gap in communication and the misunderstanding will begin to disappear,”he said.
He said the governors stated that they consulted regularly with the police and security agencies, which he said was the right thing to do, but that however, their failure to include the office of the Attorney-General in these discussions was the fount of the current public uproar, saying that this was an unfortunate omission the governors should regret and sought to remedy.
“However, the conceptual merits and positive functional aspects of Amotekun should not be tainted by this procedural defect. While the Attorney-General is a conscientious public servant, he is also human. Not having been consulted, he was suddenly faced with an unexpected public announcement regarding a matter within his official ambit. He likely feared the failure to consult him meant that federal prerogatives were being encroached. To blame him for this conclusion would be to blame human nature itself. Though his negative reaction was understandable it was also unhelpful,” he said.
Tinubu said the Attorney-General acted hastily in rendering a public statement that was more inaccurate than it should have been, as Amotekun was never proposed as a “defence” agency and that the Attorney-General erred in using this description, explaining that the use of uniforms and brightly coloured vehicles might not be the best ideas but that they did not render Amotekun a defence agency or paramilitary group any more than a designated school van carrying uniformed students constituted a paramilitary deployment.
“Believing the governors had crossed the line, the Attorney-General should have reached out to them. Before going public, he should have sought a private meeting so that he could have a better factual understanding of Amotekun. This would have enabled him to give the governors any specific constitutional or other objectives he might have. In this way, the two sides would have engaged in private consultations to reach agreement on the way forward. This cooperative process might have helped to correct some of the organisational lapses above identified. Such a diplomatic and wise step also would have prevented the current public acrimony now surrounding the issue,” he said.
The former Lagos governor urged Nigerians to shun those who employed heated language to inflame emotions, as it did the nation no good to rush toward exaggerated statements that suggested calamity of the highest order, saying “Don’t allow yourselves to be fodder for those who seek to divide us.”
According to him, “the fabric of the Republic has not been put at stake by Amotekun. However, that fabric could be torn by the dangerous rhetoric of those who should know better. Those claiming that this limited, inoffensive addition to security threatens the Republic have taken themselves upon a madcap excursion. Those claiming that the Federal Government seeks to terribly suppress the Southwest have also lost their compass. Those who occupy these two extremes have sunken into the dark recesses of fear and political paranoia that can undo a nation if such sentiments are allowed to gestate.
“We are one nation, 200 million strong with 36 states and a great complex of federal authority residing in dozens of federal ministries and agencies. If everyone is allowed their democratic expression, there are bound to be disagreements. This is inherent in the federal structure. Nations that have practiced federalism much longer than us still frequently debate over where the line between state and federal power is to be drawn. They have hundreds of court cases each year on this very issue. Yet they do not attack each other as we do. We must all learn to be more restrained and judicious in our reactions when such disagreements arise.”
He advised that before leaping from their seats to lift their voice to the high rafters in profound indignation, they first would be wise to properly discern the situation.
“We must ascertain whether it merely is a tempest in a teapot or whether our house and all its teapots are swirling in a real tempest. Despite the ominous headlines and heated talk, an objective analysis points more clearly to the former than the latter. The resolution of this matter is not beyond us if only we allow ourselves to be the democrats that our better conscience and the very documents of our national existence call us to be.
“In trying to help resolve this matter, I have initiated communication with the Chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, with a view to meeting the South West governors to explore amicable solutions to the avoidable controversy. I am sure that, at the end of it all, peace, security, and progress shall reign in our nation,” he said.