Wednesday, January 22, 2020 5:07 pm
The National leader of All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu says the governors of the Southwest states who initiated the idea of Western Nigeria Security Initiative codenamed Amotekun and Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation who opposed the initiative should be blamed for the controversies generated by the idea.
The former Lagos State Governor who said this in a statement he issued on Wednesday on the raging controversies over the security initiative lamented that “too much energy has been spent distorting this issue instead of seeking a resolution that supports local enhancement of security while keeping the constitution intact.”
Tinubu said if the governors had worked with Malami in their bid to establish the security outfit, the controversies would have been avoided.
He added that the Minister of Justice should had also consulted the governors privately to express whatever misgiving he may have about the initiative after it was launched in Ibadan, instead of issuing a statement to declare it illegal and a ‘defence agency.’
Tinubu said, “Seeking to fulfil their mandates by helping protect their people, the governors of the Southwest collectively established a program to buttress existing security mechanisms. Seeking to protect the constitution as best he could, the Attorney-General offered his opinion on what he believed the governors have sought to do. No one can blame either party for seeking to fulfil what they genuinely see as their public duty.
“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.
“The Attorney-General acted hastily in rendering a public statement that was more inaccurate than it should have been. Amotekun was never proposed as a “defence” agency; 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.
“Believing the governors had crossed the line, the Attorney-General should have reached out to them. Before going public, he should have sought a private meeting so that he could have a better factual understanding of Amotekun.
“This would have enabled him to give the governors any specific constitutional or other objectives he might have. In this way, the two sides would have engaged in private consultations to reach agreement on the way forward.
“This cooperative process might have helped to correct some of the organisational lapses above identified. Such a diplomatic and wise step also would have prevented the current public acrimony now surrounding the issue.