BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on Wednesday declared that the setting up of Amotekun does not appear to insult the constitution.
Tinubu in a statement said that Amotekun is to be another set of eyes and ears to assist the police, adding that as such, it is but the second generation of Neighbourhood Watch expanded to a regional scale.
He noted that conceptually, there is nothing wrong with Amotekun, saying that the South-West Security Network codenamed ‘Operation Amotekun’ is a laudable initiative, adding however that it needs some operational and conceptual modifications if it is not to fail.
Tinubu, who finally spoke on the issue after days of pressure and criticisms for his refusal to speak on the matter, explained that his position on Amotekun is not blind or uncritical.
According to him; “There are several organisational and functional aspects of the proposal that could cause some problems if left unresolved. Amotekun should have been fashioned to the peculiarities of each state rather than having a regional structure.
“Amotekun should have focused on grassroots local organisation at the state level without a regional command hierarchy. The regional approach may undermine efficiency. There is no compelling logic why the same personnel providing security informational assistance in Ado-Ekiti should be under the same functional and operational leadership as those providing assistance in Lekki or Akure. This will not lead to optimal performance.
“The regional approach has only limited benefit with regard to the procurement and maintenance of vehicles and communications equipment because this wider approach allows for economies of scale.
“The regional approach also helps tackle the growing incidences of interstate criminal activity. Some things need to be corrected before Amotekun becomes operational. If not, it will not live up to expectations. Thus, the current formulation of Amotekun is in need of repair before it takes to the road only to quickly slip into a ditch,” Tinubu said.
The APC leader being rumoured to be nursing Presidentil ambition for 2023 berated the South-West governors and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami SAN, for the controversy being generated over the Amotekun initiative, which he noted is heating up the nation.
He opined that the South West governors ought to have consulted the Attorney General of the Federation when they were considering the setting up of Amotekun.
Tinubu specifically faulted AGF Malami for issuing a statement condemning the initiative when he could have simply reached out to the governors and resolve it amicably.
In the words of Tinubu; “The governors state that they consulted regularly with the police and security agencies. This was the right thing to do. However, their failure to include the office of the Attorney-General in these discussions is the fount of the current public uproar.
“This was an unfortunate omission the governors should regret and seek 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 enthused.
Tinubu specifically berated the Attorney-General for having acted hastily in rendering a public statement that was more inaccurate than it should have been, stressing that Amotekun was never proposed as a ‘defence’ agency.
He further said; “The Attorney-General erred in using this description. The use of uniforms and brightly coloured vehicles may not be the best ideas but they do not render Amotekun a defence agency or paramilitary group any more than a designated school van carrying uniformed students constitutes a paramilitary deployment.”
The APC leader assured that he would soon meet with the Chairman of South-West Governors Forum, who is also the governor of Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, on how best to device the implementation of the Amotekun initiative.