This has raised question of their commitment to the initiative with observers construing their absence as a deliberate stance in order not to be seen as being antagonistic to the federal government or the presidency.
When the South-West governors under the aegis of Western Nigeria Governors’ Forum (WNGF) launched the regional security outfit codenamed, ‘Operation Amotekun’ at the Oyo State Government House in Ibadan, the Ooni of Ife, one of the very prominent traditional rulers in the region, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, hailed the governors for setting aside political differences to come up with the initiative. Chairman of the governors, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State also clarified that personnel of Amotekun would not be deployed for any political activity, emphasizing that the initiative has no political undertone. But right at the launch, the whole project has raised political suspicion following the absence of three out of the six governors in the zone. The governors in attendance were the host governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde; Governor Akeredolu and Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State who is also the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). Governors Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State and Dapo Abiodun of Ogun state were represented by their deputies while the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu was not represented. The attendance at the launching has fuelled speculations of political division with governors believed to be loyal to the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, absent at the launch.
Over the weekend there has been pressure on Tinubu to speak up on the Amotekun initiative, saying his continued silence in the face of the FG’s repudiation of the outfit is not ‘golden’. Some Afenifere chieftains have particularly taken on him to state where he belongs as far as Amotekun is concerned. Attempts to get Tinubu’s comments have been futile as his media aide did not respond to our correspondent’s enquiry. Could this be as a result of 2023 presidency which Tinubu is said to be interested in? This is a question many pundits are asking over the silence of the APC National Leader on the regional initiative. Dr. Kayode Esuola, a political scientist believes politics of 2023 is at play with the silence of the APC National Leader. “Politics of 2023 presidential elections, godfatherism and very dogmatic party loyalty are at play here against geo-political concerns,” he said. Another public affairs analyst and APC member, Mr. Fariu Arebi, said it is not necessary for Asiwaju to speak when other South-West leaders are already talking. He said: “You don’t throw all your cards open. Yes, Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Ogun and that of Osun have been more or less silent but must everybody be talking. If Makinde is talking, Akeredolu, who is the chairman of the South-West governors, is talking and Fayemi by virtue of his position as the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum is talking, that is enough. “I don’t see any reason why people want to listen to Tinubu. Has Obasanjo spoken? Has Falae spoken? To me I think Tinubu should keep quiet.” Arebi insists that Tinubu is aware of what is happening and he approves of it which explains why Sanwo-Olu has been part of the initiative from conception.