- Region’s Speakers meet in Ibadan, pledge legislative support
By Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akerodolu, yesterday disclosed that governors of the South-west are set to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari over the region’s security outfit, code-named Amotekun, which has been generating controversy.
On the same day, the Speakers of Houses of Assembly in the South-West met in Ibadan, Oyo State, and pledged to provide legislative support to the security outfit.
Akerodolu, who is also the Chairman of the South-west Governors Forum, spoke with journalists at the Ondo State Governor Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja.
He dismissed the fear that Amotekun was created to rival the nation’s security agencies.
Akeredolu said a meeting was earlier scheduled with Buhari, but had to be postponed, because of the president’s trip to the United Kingdom.
“We will discuss with him when we have the opportunity. I can tell you our letter was to see the President, but he said he was going to be in England and that we should meet with the Vice President until he returns. But by the time the Vice President asked us to come, most of our colleagues too were in the UK with the President.
“The President will hear us. He is a person that understands us anyway, we will explain to him when we meet.”
On the controversies generated by the creation of Amotekun, Akeredolu said they were unnecessary, adding that from onset, the regional security outfit planned to work with the nation’s security agencies, adding that Amotekun’s vehicles were supposed to have policemen with them.
He added: “From onset, we planned to work with the police; what we are trying to do is to compliment the work of the police; but the police’s concern was that Amotekun came at a time they were planning to introduce community policing and we told them there was no cause for alarm; and we will work with them.”
On the regional structures of Amotekun, the Ondo State governor added that there would be no single structures, saying that each state will have its own structure.
‘’We want to share information, intelligence and logistics; we have agreed that each state should domesticate it. And there are ongoing efforts to get the state to domesticate Amotekun through the state houses of assembly,’’ he further explained.
He said those saying the security outfit was created as a plot by South West to pull out of the country spoke out of ignorance, expressing strong belief in the unity of the country.
On his party, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Akeredolu expressed worry that there is lack of internal cohesion within its leadership at the national level, but expressed hope that the issues would be addressed because President Buhari remains a formidable force that would continue to hold the party together, even after leaving office.
The governor also expressed confidence that his re-election would be a ‘’walk-over’’, saying he has done enough for the people of the state to guarantee his second term in office.
On the fear by some APC’s leaders that the party may collapse after Buhari’s tenure, the governor said it was absolutely correct to infer that the personality of the President had remained a strong factor for the unity of the party, but he said that the lack of internal cohesion among the leadership at the national level need to be addressed quickly.
“President Buhari, as the leader of APC, has never dictated to the party on what should be done; and why should one person be dictating the affairs of the party at the national level?
“One of the issues that created problems in the last general election was the different methods used in conducting the primaries. In some states, Direct Primary was used, while Indirect Primary was applied in some states. We need to agree on one method to avoid crisis in the party’’, the governor stated.
While insisting that the issue was not bad enough to divide the party, Akeredolu said every effort was being made to address the issue.
On whether he is confident about his re-election or not, the governor said: “I didn’t ask to be governor in my state; my people decided that I should contest. I am perhaps, the only governor who never gave a kobo to party’s members to be nominated as governorship candidate.
“The Almighty God had a hand in my election and there is nothing anybody can do about it. It is only God that gives power. And if APC picks another candidate in Ondo State it will lose the election; we have done enough for our people. I am very confident they will re-elect me again.’’
Amotekun: South-west Speakers Meet, Pledge Legislative Support
The Speakers of Houses of Assembly in the South-West Zone have pledged to provide legislative support to Amotekun.
They made the pledge at the end of a one-day security summit themed, “The imperative of Western Nigerian Security Network (Operation Amotekun): Legislative Support for the Initiative,” held in Ibadan.
The summit was attended by the speakers from the six South-West states including Adebo Ogundoyin (Oyo State), Funminiyi Afuye (Ekiti), Bamidele Oleyelogun (Ondo), Taiwo Oluomo (Ogun), Timothy Owoeye (Osun) and Mudashiru Obasa (Lagos).
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting and signed by the Chairman, Conference of Speakers of South-West States Legislature, Mr Bamidele Oleyelogun, the speakers expressed support for Amotekun, saying it would go a long way in curbing the worrisome security problems facing the region.
Oleyelogun said, “The establishment of the security outfit in the South West is in tandem with the constitution, which makes the protection of lives and properties a matter of priority for any responsible government.
“Operation Amotekun is a welcome development, especially in the spirit of existing community policing laws in the South-West states.
“We have collectively resolved that the issue of security as it is in the region especially, and the country as a whole, can no longer continue to be handled with kids glove.
“As legislators, we must do our bit to complement the efforts of our governors through legislation that will give legal strength to the security force.”