By Okey Ugwu
It is no longer rumour that the South West people of Nigeria have come under a test of unity lately. For once in recent history, beyond party lines, the people of South West Nigeria have united themselves under one agenda in spite of threats from the Presidency and its allies. Even on the line is the hope of clinching the Presidency in 2023. This is coming rather as a rude shock, hearing cattle-breeders even having to comment on the matter, to the point of asking the South Westerners to choose explicitly between the “Amotekun” and 2023 Presidency.
What first started as an idea has turned out to become a struggle. Commendable in the struggle are leaders like Rotimi Akeredolu (Governor of Ondo State), Kayode Fayemi (Governor of Ekiti State), Seyi Makinde (Governor of Oyo State), Femi Falana SAN, to mention but a few that despite the odds are standing their grounds.
History will of course be fair to those who are putting their friendship and affiliation with the Presidency on the line to sustain the idea of the “Amotekun”. Remarkable in the silent group is none other than former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Since the debate on the “Amotekun” started even till date, Tinubu has, as an acclaimed South-West leader, even as an assumed political associate of the President, been silent. This silence on the part of Tinubu makes one wonder as to whose side he is in the debate that is costing the South-West its very pride and right to regional unity, if nothing else. The silence of Tinubu is sponsored by what exactly? Another promise from Buhari again?
This is the same Tinubu that is watching Nigeria get ‘northernised’ time and time again by his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and of course the President himself, and has said nothing to such effect.
During the 2015 and 2019 campaigns, Tinubu championed the Buhari-cause in the South-West, today the country is getting divided along regional lines, North vs South, and Tinubu is quiet. To make matters worse, the “Amotekun” came to the front-burner and it is seriously testing the sensibilities and unity of the South-West region and all Tinubu can do as an acclaimed leader is to be quiet. He should have been this quiet during the election campaigns as well. He did not speak when South-Westerners were being murdered by bandits and farms in South-West were being attacked by herdsmen, he is in fact not speaking at a time when his voice ought to be heard except when it is election campaign times.
The South-Westerners can now see where, indeed, Tinubu’s relevance lies, between home and partisan politics. Indeed, Tinubu is now considered irrelevant, as much as the politics of South-West is concerned, moving forward, even though it is now a matter of time before this new reality of Tinubu’s regional irrelevance comes to full manifestation.
NB: Opinions expressed in VIEWSCOPE are strictly those of the writer.