Southwest governors have maintained that the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) Operation Amotekun has come to stay.
The security outfit, launched on January 9 to give cover to the zone, was declared illegal by the Federal Government.
But reiterating the position of the governors, Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said they would not “capitulate to blackmail either from within or outside the region but ready to pursue the Amotekun security scheme through all permissible political and legal means.”
Akeredolu (SAN), who is the Chairman of the Southwest Governors’ Forum, made this position known through a statement by Commissioner for Information Donald Ojogo, TheNation writes.
The statement said: “The concerns expressed by individuals, agencies of government and several stakeholders are noted without bias. Where possible, the inexorable efforts of the Southwest governors will be deepened through relentless interface.
“As such interface and engagements continue, Governor Akeredolu finds it pertinent to say that the on-going discourse on the issue of Amotekun must not be misguidedly used as a platform to ventilate personal or group views aimed at oiling primordial sentiments and grievances. Ethicizing the current situation is even more unhelpful. There should be no reason for such.
“This is more so that the Amotekun scheme is not targeted at any non-Southwest ethnic group just as its benefits are to be reaped by all Nigerians irrespective of ethnic or religious placements.
“Under circumstances of the nature of Amotekun, the choices are numerous. They range from prevarication and pretence; partisanship and sycophancy as well as moderate and complimentary steps not inimical to the corporate existence of our nation, Nigeria.
“ The Southwest governors have chosen the later. In unequivocal terms too, each of the choices has a consequence, if not consequences.
”Unfortunately, the steps of Southwest governors have unwittingly had to contend with forces of conspiratorial silence and unpretentious moves of sabotage. Each has a right to choices; but certainly, no one individual can circumvent the consequences of whatever choices he or she makes in life.”
It added: “Fears and apprehensions have been expressed in many quarters that his (Akeredolu’s) role in the formation of Amotekun could mar his second term chances. This is far from the truth because Akeredolu is on the path of national cohesion through collaborative internal security.
“The decision taken in respect of Amotekun was in the interest of the entire nation. The political insinuations and blackmail are the required ingredients needed to make it credible. But such will not discourage the governor in any manner.”
Similarly, senior lawyer Afe Babalola (SAN), said attempts by the Federal Government to scuttle the initiative would fail because it is constitutional.
His position tallies with that of other legal giants like Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) and Olisa Agbakoba (SAN).
Meanwhile, Yoruba youth groups under the umbrella of Yoruba World Congress (YWC) are planning a support rally for Amotekun in the capital cities of the six Southwest on Tuesday.
A renowned historian and YWC convener, Prof. Banji Akintoye, who made this known, also said the rally would take place in Ilorin, Kwara State.
“We the Yoruba nation, we are going to speak up. By Tuesday (tomorrow), there will be masses of people in the streets in the seven capital towns of Yoruba people, “ he told officials of the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission when he visited their office in Ibadan at the weekend.
The DAWN commission, a body in charge of championing the development of the Southwest geopolitical zone, coordinates Amotekun.