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Bakre cautions against open discussion on security

By Rotimi Agboluaje, Ibadan
22 December 2019   |   3:50 am
It’s an initiative meant to improve security in the region, but I think security matters should not be discussed openly otherwise the marauders would seize the opportunity to develop...


Matter Chairman, Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Justice Ademola Bakre (rtd), who spoke to ROTIMI AGBOLUAJE, in Ibadan, said security matters politicized and discussed publicly.

South West governors are on the verge of launching a novel security initiative. What do you make of it?
It’s an initiative meant to improve security in the region, but I think security matters should not be discussed openly otherwise the marauders would seize the opportunity to develop counter-attacks, and also make provisions to circumvent the system. So, you can say that progress is being made, but don’t say openly, strategies that have been developed or what has been done.

Having said that, let me add that I agree with the principle, but the methodology is what I don’t agree with.

The delay in the commencement of operation is a source of concern to many. Isn’t it?
Even if they have started, you may not know because it is a security matter; it is a matter of action and not of talking, and the promoters of this initiative should not give publicity to what they want to do.

You don’t expect the DAWN Commission to say that the operation has started. Everything about security should not go to the press because you don’t have to announce the details of security meetings because governors are chief security officers of their states.

But Afenifere is of the view that what the region needs now is true federalism and not operation Amotekun?
No. Don’t get it mixed up. Even when you have federalism, you still have to do some things at the community level, and if Nigeria is a federation, the Yoruba have to do some things the way they see it.

Sometimes, with due respect, I don’t listen to politicians because everything is politicised in their way. Except you do it in their way, it is wrong, and I’m not able to divorce Afenifere from politics.

Some have called for a total decentralisation of the police system. Do you subscribe to this?
Anything the state is doing is in addition to what the Police can do. Internal security is a police matter, it is external that concerns the army. Despite them doing different jobs, but they are all working together for the security of the country.

What is your advise to governors in the region as the gear up for this launch?
My advice is that we should not rush into conclusions. Let’s give them a chance and we can also give advise as to what to do, and what not to do. Nobody is extra-wise. All of us are bringing our intellectual resources to bear with a view to improving security in the zone. So, it’s a matter of time, and patience is very important.

Are you in support of state police, which is being agitated in some quarters?
I’m in support of it. I said it in my paper under restructuring. I suggested that we need to restructure this country. We should have a weak centre and strong states.

Will that not amount to empowering state governors, who may eventually become emperors?
Even the President is an emperor. One thing we must get clear is this, our problem is because we are primitive. Powers should not be abused. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There should be checks and balances in everything that we do.

Are you in support of the establishment of the South West Development Commission?
I’m very much in support of it. I believe we need to come together and do some things. We are too individualistic and if we stick together we can get so many things done. I think we should be able to do things conjunctively.

We can run the country better than this if we restructure. The problem we have is that some of us are selfish. Those who are eating the cake don’t want others to have a bite. Except you let things go round, there can’t be peace. Balancing and accountability is what we need in this country and not removing an Igbo man from a position and replacing him with a Hausa man or removing a Yoruba man and replacing him with a Fulani man.