Amotekun starts on shaky ground as three govs absent from launch
Written by Henry on January 10, 2020
The South-West security outfit, Operation Amotekun, started on shaky ground on Thursday with the absence of three governors of the zone from the launch of the event.
Governors, who were not present at the event, were Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and their Osun State counterpart, Gboyega Oyetola.
But the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, explained why two of the Governors were absent “I must convey the apologies of two of our governors, his excellencies, governors Sanwo-Olu and Dapo Abiodun.
They wanted to be here but the problem is associated with bad weather. That is one of the problems that are associated with governing rich states. Those of us from poor states used an alternative, like arriving in Ibadan since yesterday,” Akeredolu said.
However, Abiodun and Oyetola were represented by their deputies. The Lagos State governor was not represented on the occasion.
Also, Mohammed Adamu the Inspector General of Police, was not present neither was he represented by any of his subordinates.
Following serial killings and kidnapping by the Fulani herdsmen last year, the South-West governors, at a summit convened by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria in June, agreed to set up Operation Amotekun.
According to a report on Thursday, it was learnt that were intrigues among the South-West governors and interference by the Federal Government were threatening the operation of the security outfit.
According to the report, some elements within the Presidency and the police high command, are not favourably disposed to the regional outfit because they consider it as part of restructuring agenda, the South-West has been clamouring for.
It was gathered that ‘the body language’ of the Federal Government had created a division among the governors, with some of them developing cold feet.
The governors, when contacted by our correspondent on thursday evening, they gave reasons for their absence from the launch.
When asked why Abiodun was not at the event, his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, said, “Every politics is local.” He said the governor was inaugurating the state elders’ council in Abeokuta which he asked his deputy, Noimot Salako-Oyedele, to represent him at the launch so as to attend the state elders’ consultative forum
When asked if the inauguration of the consultative forum was more important to the governor than Amotekun, he said, “What I know is that deputy governor can represent the governor anywhere. It is not about rating one higher than the other. Every politics is local now.”
But the Chief Press Secretary to Sanwo-Olu confirmed that the absence of the governor from the launch of Operation Amotekun was caused by the bad weather.
Akosile, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said, “Governor Sanwo-Olu was billed to attend the launch. He has always cooperated with other South-West governors and has always attended every of the meetings on this initiative. As of Monday, the manifest that came out specifically stated that the governor would attend the launch of Operation Amotekun on Thursday.
“The helicopters operators called to inform us they will not be able to fly to Ibadan because of bad weather. At the time we got the information there was no way we would meet up with the programme by road transport.”
The Chief Press Secretary to the Osun State Governor, Ismail Omipidan, said the governor was attending to state matters that were as important as Amotekun. He, however, said the state government was officially represented at the event.
Omipidan said since the regional security meeting started, Oyetola did not miss any of the meetings.
Omipidan added that Oyetola sent a delegation that included the Deputy Governor, Benedict Alabi; the Deputy Chief of Staff, Abdullahi Binuyo; the Commissioner for Special Duties and Regional Integration, Lekan Badmus.
Although Omipidan did not mention a specific event that prevented Oyetola from attending the launch personally, one of our correspondents learnt that the governor received his predecessor and Minister of Interior, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, in his office on Thursday.
Omipidan said, “As a government, Osun State attended the launch of Amotekun in Ibadan today. Since the South-West security meeting started, Governor Oyetola has never missed a day.
“He has always attended in person. On two occasions, it was only himself and the host governor that were physically present. Others sent representatives. But today, he needed to attend to other state matters that were as important as the security issue you mentioned.”
Besides Akeredolu, others at the event included the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; his Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, as well as members of the Oodua Progressive Congress, local hunters, vigilance group and the Agbekoya from the South-West.
The Are Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, was represented by Akogun Kayode Balogun.
Fayemi, who is the Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, said the initiative was conceived to secure the zone from criminal elements.