Yoruba leaders and other stakeholders from the southwest yesterday flayed the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, over his comments on the region’s recently launched security outfit, Operation Amotekun. They accused him of speaking “from both sides of his mouth.” Tinubu yesterday, who broke his silence on the establishment of the outfit, declared support for it and described it as a laudable initiative.
Tinubu in a statement he personally signed, titled, “The Public Discourse Over Amotekun”, called for dialogue in resolving the controversy over the initiative, saying the governors goofed by not carrying the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation along. He said the failure to involve the AGF was an unfortunate omission by the southwest governors which they should regret and seek to remedy.
“However, the conceptual merits and positive functional aspects of Amotekun should not be tainted by this procedural defect,” he added. He said the foundation of the country had not been put at risk with Operation Amotekun. He said that foundation could be broken by what he called the “dangerous rhetoric of those who should know better.”
Tinubu also said the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, also acted “hastily” in declaring Amotekun illegal. Tinubu said: “While the Attorney-General is a conscientious public servant, he is also human,” he said, adding, He (AGF) 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.”
“The best way to resolve this is 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,” Tinubu said.
The Pan-Yoruba organisation, Afenifere, said Tinubu had not said anything, saying he should be firm in his response. Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin in a chat with our correspondent, said: “We cannot understand what he is saying, speaking with four tongues from different sides of his mouth…even Atiku (former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar) who is not from here (South-West) was bold enough to state where he stands.
You now constituted yourself to Tanko’s apex court and dishing out judgement, verdict on this and that…to impress who? Afraid of whom? Is he (Tinubu) afraid of President Buhari? “When there was a crisis between herders and farmers, Buhari came to Ibadan and told Lam Adesina, ‘your people are killing my people.’ Oduakin said Tinubu should have kept quiet instead of throwing “tantrums” around. “But we chose to ignore all those tantrums, less, people say we’re fighting ourselves. But he cannot be a judge in this matter, he should state his position. “At a time there is a test of will between the west and the Federal Government, he should not be speaking in four tongues.”
A member of Yoruba World Congress, Chief Olawale Taofik, accused Tinubu of being political by being neutral on the issue. He said the governors cannot consult the AGF before taking a position on matters involving the security of their people’s lives and property. But the Treasurer of the Yoruba Unity Forum and chieftain of the APC, Hon. Moshood Salvador, said those attacking Tinubu were only being sentimental, saying Tinubu was absolutely right by calling for dialogue on the controversy.