Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Governors in the South-West geo-political zone of Nigeria on Thursday recorded a giant stride in their regional integration efforts as they formally launched the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), codenamed ‘Operation Amotekun’.
Governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti of Ekiti State and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, personally graced the ceremony, while governors Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State and Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State were represented by their deputies, Gboyega Alabi and Noimot Salako-Oyedele, respectively. Cloudy weather was said to have prevented Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, from attending the ceremony.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II; Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti and Chairman of Council of Traditional Rulers in Ekiti State; Oba Adebanji Alabi, a prominent Yoruba leader and astute historian, Prof Banji Akintoye; Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare, also graced the occasion.
All the governors, monarchs and Yoruba leaders who spoke at the event said: “Operation Amotekun” was initiated to strengthen security architecture of South West against banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, ritual killings and other social vices in the region.
All the speakers were emphatic that “Operation Amotekun” was not initiated for South West to cause disunity in Nigeria or for Yorubaland to break away from the nation, and it is not an affront of the constitution of Nigeria as the security network would play complementary roles for the armed forces in the country.
Akeredolu, who is the chairman of South Western Nigeria Governors’ Forum, said the states agreed to contribute 20 vehicles each, and they have done so, with the exception of Oyo State that donated 33 vehicles to the security outfit, adding that each of the states also provided hundreds of motorcycles to penetrate terrains that vehicles cannot get into.