There are several others before it. But obviously, they are quite unlike it. They came in the mode of Hisbah, Civilian JTF all in the North.
But this one entered in a manner like never before. It became the rave of the moment instantly. It wore the toga of a leopard; the Amotekun itself! Amotekun by every inch is a strong animal with equally strong character. That makes it a very strong brand.
Wikipedia agrees: “Leopards are astoundingly strong. They are pound for pound the strongest of the big cats. They are able to climb trees, even when carrying heavy prey, and often choose to rest on tree branches during the day. Leopards are renowned for their agility.”
Perhaps, that is the fear that informed the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN). He spat fire on Tuesday: “The setting up of the paramilitary organisation called Amotekun is illegal and runs contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian law.”
Then, the threat: “The law will take its natural course in relation to excesses associated with organisation, administration and participation in Amotekun or continuous association with it as an association.”
Nobody envisaged it could be this so, so messy. We hardly thought the well and warmly received Amotekun could easily run into troubled waters so soon.
Even at that, we wisely spotted the impending danger. We were sensitive to identify the huge fire on the mountain.
Just overnight a half of its six governors cold feet and sore throats. They were neither here or there. They suddenly chickened out of the laudable Amotekun project. They could not find their voices; the lost their bearings.
And so Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos; Dapo Abiodun, Ogun and Gboyega Oyetola, Osun, nearly made Amotekun a stillbirth. By their actions and inactions, they were doing the biddings of the so-called federal might.
But the unrelenting Governors Seyi Makinde, Oyo; Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti and Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo, took the risk and gave us hope. They stubbornly dared the consequences.
Against known and unknown odds, they successfully berthed Amotekun on Thursday, December 9, 2020, in Ibadan, Oyo State, the capital of the notorious old Wild, Wild, West (WWW).
Days before the Federal Government applied its sledge hammer recklessly, Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land and National Coor- dinator, Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Iba Gani Adams, rose stoutly in support of Amotekun. He read their eerie minds too well. He was succinct.
He told Daily Sun: “When the Joint Task Force (JTF) started partnership with the Nigerian Army to subdue Boko Haram in the North East, the Hausa stakeholders did not express any fear. Why is it that anything that has to do with us, we start to analyse and look for loopholes?
“Hisbah has been in Kano State imple- menting Sharia penal code for the past 15 years and nobody raised any eyebrow. Even Hisbah is psychologically more powerful than the Nigeria police within Kano State. The same thing in Zamfara State, the governor took the decision about four months ago and set up a security outfit to flush out bandits in Zamfara.”
Professor Wole Soyinka is also whole-heartedly with Amotekun. And he said it loud and clear, without mixing words.
Even from the far North, came an unusual solidarity. Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State vowed to replicate Amotekun in the North West, President Muhammadu Buhari’s home zone.
Governor Simeon Lalong of Plateau State and chairman, Northern Governors Forum, was even more forthcoming and more ambitious. He swore the 19 northern governors are planning a replicate of Amotekun.
Overwhelming support flooded in from Ohanaeze, PANDEF, ACF, Middle Belt Forum (MBF), MASSOB to Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), it was commendation all the way.
Amotekun is well rooted. It is more of a coalition of like mind: South-West Stake-holders Security Group (SSSG.) This itself includes Oodua People’s Congress (OPC); Vigilance Group of Nigeria (VGN); South-West Hunters Association (SWHAN); the Agbekoyas; South-West Agbekoya Group (SAG); Agbekoya Farmers Society Group; Yoruba Youth Council (YYC) and Com- munity Security Awareness Initiative Corps (COMSAIC).
Then we ask Malami, what is unconstitutional about Amotekun, but makes Hisbah and the Civilian JTF in Borno constitutional?
Yes, Malami was not allowed unchallenged. Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), thoughtfully told the South West governors to ignore him and his strange directive. He is better ignored than edified with a response.
His verdict: “Governors have no business consulting Malami before coming up with the idea of how best to secure their states or regions.”
The landmine for Amotekun was long tactically laid by the Federal Government through its security agencies. The threat was subtle, but the message was well decoded.
A newspaper report alleged: “Government security agencies rejected the work with the ethnic local militias, saying they were not trained in security matters.”
Any discerning mind would not be unmindful of this. It was expected it would happen the way it happened. We knew it would be a Herculean task for Amotekun not to be derailed. We knew such a laudable initiative would cause ripples and ruffle feathers.
It was obvious Amotekun was bound to step on sore toes even at birth. We were convinced it would throw up national discourse, debate and controversies.
It is normal. It was never out of place that Amotekun would experience hiccups at take-off. It was not unexpected. The proponents, ab initio, were conscious of this. They were not unaware that there would be issues and challenges.
They reasoned: no good plan scales through unchallenged, for good or for bad. Amotekun could not have been an exception. That would be odd.
One of the fiercest came from the most expected, the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore.
Its reaction was the most nauseating. Its national secretary, Alhassan Saleh, vomited arrogantly: “We have no problem with them (Amotekun) as long as they will not target our herders.”
The guilty were jittery. He boasted: “We have our own defence mechanisms. We fight injustice anywhere, not only in Nigeria. So, if they end up meting out injustice to us, we will fight back.”
Malami’s action and Miyetti Allah’s needless outbursts, notwithstanding. The proponents of Amotekun are unrelenting. The stakeholders have their focus and are fixed on it. They are undisturbed. Nothing would make them blink.
They have a purpose. And that is the protection of life and property. They are not in any way prepared to yield an inch of their people’s ancestral lands to hoodlums, not even herdsmen or Malami.
The security of life and property cannot be left solely to our security agencies. We need to collectively help them out by helping ourselves.
And that is the chief reason for Amotekun.
The fight over cannot be over so soon. We are in for more unfolding intrigues.
The fear of Amotekun, the beginning of…