Amotekun and the influence of interests
It is apt to agree that politics is truly a game of interest. What all the active and passive actors in this drama have in common, is interest, and the game is all about whose interest can influence a higher gain.
The Western Nigeria Security Network codenamed AMOTEKUN, according to the South Western leaders, is created to assist the police and other security apparatuses in the country in better securing the South West against vices like banditry, kidnap, cattle rustling and herders/farmers clash, which according to the South West governors, have become the order of the day in the region.
They claim the outfit is no duplication, nor will it usurp the police responsibilities in upholding the law, but some people believe there is more, or could be more to the creation of Amotekun. Their fear isn’t about now, but the foreseeable future when things could get out of hands like the Bakassi boys and OPC of the past. On the graver levels, some think it is a recipe for national disaster as the move is seen as a clandestine strategy towards aggression against the Fulani cattle herders in the South West, while some say it is more towards secession.
The creation of Amotekun, in itself, isn’t a tragedy, but the intentional and unintentional double standards that characterise our political relationships and ideologies is the tragedy we are seeing today. It is good to note here that no political party, as of today, has made any public statement for or against Amotekun, and that should speak volume for the rest of the public whose understanding of the dramatics is limited to the surface issues.
On a general note, the argument against Amotekun is premised on the supremacy of the constitution, while argument in support is premised on the supremacy of the people over the constitution. After all, the intent of the constitution is to create enabling environment for security, peace and wealth, which, as of today, has become individual tasks rather than that of the governments entrusted with the responsibility. One is then forced to ask if the law is made for man, or man is made for the law. In reality, it seems the rich and powerful are made for the law, while the law is made for the common man, because at the end of the day, it is only the common man who is made to bear the brunt of every law.
The constitution states that matters of security in the country is in the exclusive list of the federal government, but how much of that security has been provided by the governments since the inception of our democracy? It seems to the common man that the governments are more interested in the security and wellbeing of their ilk, families and the capitalist barons. The individual politicians, business executives and religious leaders get more security details than a whole community would get in a lifetime.
It is apt to agree that politics is truly a game of interest. What all the active and passive actors in this drama have in common, is interest, and the game is all about whose interest can influence a higher gain. The South West that owns Amotekun claims to have the interest of protecting their people from criminal elements from other regions of the country. The federal government, through the attorney general of the federation, proclaims Amotekun as illegal because it supposedly goes against the constitution, but in reality, the federal government’s interest is in not being seen as weak and bias, because IPOB and other organisations are watching.
The interest of the northern element isn’t immediately clear because all we’ve heard is that Amotekun has an ulterior motive of secession, but in truth, that is mainly fear of what may or not be. The interest of the Fulani herdsmen is in the uncontrolled and destructive grazing all over the country and the protection they have enjoyed since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power. IPOB’s interest is in riding on the back of Amotekun’s campaign which he erroneously sees as armed insurrection, to further its own agitation for armed secession. The interest of the arms dealers is in ensuring the chaos doesn’t stop so they can continue to make more blood money. The interest of aggrieved politicians who lose election is to make the land ungovernable and keep governments off track so he can campaign on that basis that the government has failed. The farmers’ interest is in seeing an end to the endless destruction of their crops and lives which are never compensated for. The interest of the host communities constantly caught in the violence and arson committed by marauding herdsmen and vengeful farmers is in having peace and security in their community. The interest of many innocent Nigerians is in being able to earn their daily livelihood without fear.
While some of these interests are genuine enough, some are outright balderdash. Whose interest is the northern elements fighting for? Whose interest is the Miyetti Allah protecting by saying the South West risks the 2023 presidency? Of what interest is Amotekun to IPOB that wants to supply thousands of men to work with Amotekun? Which interest should be strong enough to warrant action or inaction from the Federal Government that is seen to have closed eyes and mouth to similar measures in other troubled regions of Nigeria, but is now very loud when the South West decides to take the security of their lives, livelihood and properties in their own hands.
It may be true that without proper adjudication, Amotekun may go out of hand, but that is mere speculation, though noteworthy. But the saying that necessity is the mother of invention might have spurred the South West to take this extreme step. It is also noteworthy that on such strategic foresight can the game of electioneering be easily calculated or miscalculated. It is apparent that the police can’t do more than they have done already. It is apparent that the military is having enough to contend with in the North Eastern part of Nigeria and some parts of the South East. It is apparent that our security apparatuses are overwhelmed.
It is better we all come to the table, discuss, make recommendations and amendments necessary because in the long run, this is a necessity for peace, and it can go in any direction. It is the South West today, it may be the turn of the South South or North Central tomorrow! We need to fashion out a way to make this security exigencies work, because it is better now to have a properly coordinated framework before individuals start taking up arms against their fellow countrymen in the name of providing his or her own security, and once the goal is achieved, we can return to the status quo. Perhaps, that is something that should go into the much touted constitutional amendment.
A case for a circumstantial and supportive but temporary security framework that can be linked with the mainstream security establishments in combating criminality. The sound of peace and harmony is sweet to ears, but the sacrifice they need is always slaughtered at the altar of convenience and intolerance. One is reminded of a proverbial bird that loves to eat worms, but hates the shit through which the worms are birthed. Now, more than later, we need to be dispassionate about the kind of relationship we want to have to make this country move in the desired direction.
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