Home Columnist Amotekun Chief — Amitolu Shittu: ALL EYES ON YOU

Amotekun Chief — Amitolu Shittu: ALL EYES ON YOU


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HERE & NOW COLUMN – Written by: Kayode Oladeji

The issue of who would head the novel Amotekun Security initiative in Osun state was laid to rest a few days back with the appointment of your good self as it’s Director-General, by His Excellency, Governor Gboyega Oyetola. I personally congratulate and rejoice with you on this appointment, which is obviously a pioneering one.

I must also immediately drop with you the hint that given what may likely be the nature of the office and the assignment, you should, right from this outset, be ready for both cheers and jeers. Circumstantially, as you are fully aware, Amotekun as a Yoruba Security outfit is a child of our collective agitation aimed at curtailing the nefarious activities of bandits and Fulani herdsmen that have led to wanton destruction of lives and property in Yoruba land.

When I first heard the rumor of your impending appointment almost  a month ago,  as the DG Amotekun, I shrugged and counted it as one of those rumors. Because I had thought such an appointment should go to somebody with military or related background. This was never to be as you eventually clinched the coveted post.  Obviously, Governor Oyetola preferred you! If it was lobbying that fetched you this critical appointment at this critical moment of our lives as a people, I  thank God on your behalf. This is because I am sure that you were not the only person that lobbied.

On the other hand, if your appointment was based  on merit, I still thank God for you because very many, equally qualified but were not given. Of course, it’s one position that could go to only one person, regardless of how many people were interested or considered. You have clinched it; and you are well able to man the position. Though you do not have a military background, your activism in those days laced with militancy coupled with your contributions as a member and Chairman of the Police Public Relations Committee  (PPRC), might have given you the leverage; and this will somehow make the assignment tolerable for you.

Even though you have somehow left the “street” as an activist by joining politics, specifically the APC which you are eminently qualified for, anyway), late Gani Fawehinmi would always be proud of you for being one of his ardent supporters and a dependable ally.  But I doubt if he would be happy with your foray into mainstream politics, especially by aligning with the ruling party, the APC.

Seriously, I commend you for the past years, particularly for fearlessly taking on the military by fighting for human rights and the less privileged. Sadly, at a point, you “fizzled” out, only to reappear on the platform of the Agbada-wearing gang (the politicians). This, in itself, like I said earlier on, is not a crime but it has succeeded in denying the “street” that vociferous comradeship, and the high pitched voice, “We no go gree oo, we no go gree….. ” But then, your appointment is a new phase of your personal Odyssey which is somewhat different from the previous ones.

It is even likely to be somehow arduous because no pioneering effort is  ever a cheap meat.  Yes, any new assignment that does not have previous and definable pattern, often looks like a proverbial blind man groping in the dark. *Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way*  Gov. Oyetola chose you out of the motley of crowd (if at all),  that angled for this post because he believes in you that you will deliver. I, too, believe that you can do it.  On the sideline and at the other end, you had lampooned the Police and the military for human rights abuses and security lapses; now it is time to bring to bear what you have been preaching.

Here, I remember, and I’m reminding you of the late American singer, Barry White’s efforts on the vinyl released in 1994 with the title: “Practice What You Preach”. Methinks you don’t have reasons to do otherwise. I know you to be a Muslim who takes the religion seriously. If that is the case, does it make any meaning to you that your appointment coincided with the take-off of this year’s Ramadan? To me, this clearly indicates that God wants to hold you accountable!

As a child of necessity that it is, you know that Amotekun was originally thought of and was eventually birthed to protect the Yoruba race and not to oppress them. It defied politics as all the Southwest Governors (five APC & one PDP) and their people, spoke with one voice on the resolve to have the outfit. Everybody agreed and politics was thrown to the backyard.    This sent jitters to the Federal Government and the northern states, mostly controlled by the APC who never hesitated in opposing the formation of Amotekun. This you are quite aware of.  That being the case, you know that in the circumstance, Amotekun was not formed based on political considerations, especially with APC or PDP  tilt but rather for the common interest of the whole Yoruba race.

LITMUS TEST: Against this backdrop, you should be dispassionate and fair minded in your dealings as the helmsman  of Amotekun in Osun State by having it at the back of your mind that the security outfit is not for any political party -whether APC, PDP, DDD, or whatever; it’s for the entire Yoruba race.    Soon, personnel that will be running the day-to-day affairs of the outfit, will be recruited. Make sure that merit, justice, equity, fairness and not politics, determine who gets what.

Again, please Amit, as you are fondly called in some circles, don’t turn and never allow the outfit to be turned as a terrorism gang. In other words, under your watch in the state, you should not allow Amotekun to become egregious by becoming a conquistador of sort.  Should you try this, Walahi, our people will revolt! Trust them. Somehow, that is the similitude of the act which sounded the death knell of the OPC. Again, don’t use it to hunt and hound the opposition. It may not augur well.

Through your organisational skill, the outfit can become a respectable face that will be the envy of those in the neighboring states.You should always remember that you are being funded with owo oniru, owo oniyo, and owo alata (commonwealth)! Without  the contributions of an average Yoruba man on the street, through his/her valued kobo kobo,there is no way Amotekun can be sustained. So, protect these people and not oppress them. No prancing!

My brother, you are now at a precarious junction and as such, as Yoruba would say; Won ma n ba eeyan wa se ni, won o ki n ba eeyan see (meaning that a person can only be assisted to get a job, but he/she will never be assisted to do the job). Like I said earlier on, if it was a “button” you pressed that buzzed and eventually crystallized into this appointment, I am happy for you and I say congratulations. Conversely, if it was on merit and it clicked, still, I rejoice with you and congratulate you all the same.  But rest assured that in the end, it’s you that will take the credit or blame, as the case may be.

One thing is sure, however, there will be clap-back from different quarters. Expect it in full. Cheerleaders, too, will goad you on. However, like I’m wont to say; you have criticized others, it is your turn to be criticized. And you, definitely, will be.

Once again, congrats and safe trip.