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Amotekun a waste of time, South West needs true federalism – Odumakin

By Rotimi Agboluaje, Ibadan
22 December 2019   |   4:14 am
You are in bondage; in a cage, and instead of looking for your freedom, you are looking for something else. Which ‘ekun’ (lion) are you looking for? You are in a cage, and instead...

Yinka Odumakin

The Publicity Secretary of pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Comrade Yinka Odumakin, in this interview with ROTIMI AGBOLUAJE, disagreed with those rejoicing that Operation Amotekun can rid South West of security challenges. True federalism, he said is what the region needs now to solve its myriads of problems.

What is your reaction to the soon to be launched Operation Amotekun?
You are in bondage; in a cage, and instead of looking for your freedom, you are looking for something else. Which ‘ekun’ (lion) are you looking for? You are in a cage, and instead of you looking for freedom, you are looking for a shortcut in Amotekun. Which ‘ekun’ does a rat want to know?

Until we fight for federalism to get our autonomy so that we can be in charge of our security, and our governors can be the chief security officers of their states, Operation Amotekun will simply be a waste of time.

Even if we want autonomy or true federalism that won’t come in a month, or three months. So, in the interim, isn’t Operation Amotekun the best bet to secure the region?
What area can Operation Amotekun secure? Which power do the governors have? They have no power of arrest; they have no police, no army, which Operation Amotekun will be better than Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) Brigade or other traffic management agencies? In what way will it be better than these agencies? People are saying you won’t be in charge of your life; you are not addressing that, but are busy now looking for a shortcut. That Operation Amotekun means nothing!

But these operations would be done in collaboration with local groups like O’odua Peoples Congress (OPC), Agbekoya and others. Don’t you think this will go a long way in securing the region?
They are all informal security outfits. The issue is, as of today, Nigeria is operating a single police system, centralised army, and security structure. Everything is in the hands of Abuja. So, you are vulnerable; you are not in charge of anything about your life. So, fight for autonomy instead. And until we fight for autonomy, we are going nowhere. This shortcut in the name of Operation Amotekun is a waste of time.

Is this not a step towards the decentralisation of the police system?
Have we decentralised the police? We should rather fight for state police so that states will be able to set up their police structures and equip them. If operatives of Operation Amotekun arrest anybody, can the suspect be charged to court?

Have you submitted a memorandum to promoters of this initiative and made your position known to them?
Which memorandum are you submitting to something that means virtually nothing? We have made our position clear that what we need is true federalism. In states, governors don’t have police that can enforce the law. It’s abnormal. So, we should concentrate our efforts on fighting for true federalism so that we can be in charge of our security. But to set up something like Operation Amotekun is not the way to go.

How is Afenifere’s relationship with DAWN Commission, being a strong regional organisation?
They are within the Yoruba space, and like every other organisations within our territory, we are not opposed to what they are doing. But before DAWN Commission arrived, we have been here since. We are not opposed to any organisation in Yoruba Land.

Senator Ibikunle Amosun is sponsoring A bill on the creation of the South West Development Commission. Are you in support of this?
They have created the North East Development Commission, South East Development Commission is being debated. The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is there. Since we can’t govern centrally, we just create commissions, even when we know that a commission controlled by Nigeria will not work. What has the NDDC done for the South South?

We need to decentralize because centralisation is not working; it has killed Nigeria. So, having commissions across the country is to admit that the centralised system we are operating now is not working; it has failed. A commission controlled by Abuja will not take us out of this mess ultimately.