By Jide Ajani
|Governor Makinde. Photo; SEYIAMAKINDE|
Those pushing the narrative still think demonising Amotekun will score for them political points. In their fancy, they are already drawing a link between the Amotekun and the fabled SARS, which some youths rose up against last year. They are wrong and totally miscalculating because it is a faulty narrative.
Weaponising ethnicity with a view to destroying Amotekun will meet with a solid brickwall and it will also not work.
And because they failed in their bid to stop the launch of Amotekun, they have now resorted to twisting facts and creating their own bubble of alternative and fictional reality. They will fail again as they failed before.
Placed side by side, facts will always trump fiction, lies and incitement. That Amotekun strategically launched six counter-banditry, counter-kidnapping and counter-terrorism operations in four local governments simultaneously on Saturday deserves credit. Yet, more deserving of credit is the inclusive nature of the rainbow coalition that went after the criminals. It comprised Amotekun, vigilantes, hunters and Miyetti Allah vigilante.
In fact, not just members of Miyetti Allah, but some Fulani were part of the operations, with the Seriki being fully briefed about the operations. Some lives were lost; some sustained injuries. Those killed in the process were criminals and not herdsmen.
And the coalition, led by men of Amotekun, succeeded in sending a very clear message to criminals terrorising the people: that enough is enough. But strange and stranger narratives are being woven round Amotekun’s noble effort to rid the thick forests of Ibarapa East, Ibarapa Central and Ibarapa North, as well as Iwajowa Local Government Areas, of kidnappers and bandits.
Some of the victims of the criminals have been Fulani as well as Yoruba and other tribes. Which explains why Amotekun worked in concert with Miyetti Allah and Fulani supporters who have been victims of kidnapping. Those who are struggling to sell the lie that Amotekun killed Fulani are doing so with the wicked intent of creating ethnic tensions. They will fail.
Meanwhile, arrests were made, pieces of useful information are being extracted, and the criminals have been handed over to the police. One of the strange and contradictory deductions is that the same media warriors and politicians condemning insecurity in Oyo State are the same Vuvuzelas and mouth organs being used to misrepresent, misinform and churn out false narratives about the exploits of Amotekun.
If the intention is to dampen the morale of corps members, it will fail. If the plot is to paint Oyo State or parts of Yorubaland as ungovernable, they will equally fail. There are gaps being filled in the bid to make Amotekun more responsive and professional and Governor Seyi Makinde has assured of that.
Whereas there is cogent and verifiable consensus that stereotyping, criminalising and profiling members of any ethnic group does not help matters, one is then left to wonder why it is now fashionable for some enemies of the state to empathize with criminals by deploying ethnicity? Why are some people weaponising ethnicity against Amotekun’s onslaught in its war on criminals? Do they want to destroy it? They will fail.
This is Yorubaland and those toying with the cobra of banditry and criminality should look up to other areas of Nigeria that have become playing fields for bandits. It is this same type of indulgent narrative, of twisting facts and misinforming people of the real dangers these criminals represent that has made bandits, criminals and terrorists to take over some parts of the country, where some governors have got no other option than to negotiate with bandits and criminals.
We are daily being served chilling and horrific tales of criminals and bandits who now hold state governments to ransom and engage in profitable negotiated settlements of crimes and criminality.
Governor Makinde will not tolerate that. His principal responsibility is the welfare and protection of lives and properties of all the indigenes and residents of Oyo State, irrespective of politico-religious and ethnic background. The people pushing false narratives simply want to distract Governor Makinde.
But the governor remains resolute and focused, deploying the Blue Ocean approach to governance, an approach that has seen him devise creative means of doing projects at a time of cash crunch. He received commendation for his handling of Covid-19 and #ENDSARS protests as well as his novel welfare package for workers and pensioners in Oyo State.
This is our Oyo State and we must not allow enemies of the state to succeed. This is Yorubaland and criminals should not be allowed to do harm to our people.
Let us join hands to secure our dear Oyo State and Yorubaland.
* Ajani is Special Adviser, Media, to Governor Seyi Makinde
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