By Benjamin Omoike
Over one year after the controversy surrounding the birth of the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), codenamed Operation Amotekun was formally launched in Ibadan, Oyo State, Lagos has remained the only State in the region where the security outfit is yet to commence operation, a development, which observers and analysts say is owing to some powerful political forces bent on ensuring the initiative is dead on arrival in the State.
Precisely on January 9, 2020, the six south-west states of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti, Amotekun was established, a resolution reached after the governors in the six states met at a regional security summit held in Ibadan, Oyo State, through the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria Commission (DAWN).
Although Lagos played a big role in ensuring the outfit came to fruition, the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, seemed to have developed cold feet at the final stage.
Despite the fact that the Lagos State House of Assembly passed a bill for the establishment of the outfit, with the rejigging of the law setting up the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency Law, Sanwo-Olu, till date has not signed the bill into law and has not given any reason for the non-implementation of the agreement reached with his fellow governors in the Southwest.
It is learnt that Sanwo-Olu’s refusal to sign the bill into law was beyond the grey areas he had pointed out after the House of Assembly initially passed the bill and sent it to him for assent. It was indeed, due to pressure from ’above’ for him to tarry awhile.
Interestingly, it was Sanwo-Olu who had sent the bill to the Assembly on February 20, 2020.
According to a reliable source, Sanwo-Olu had developed cold feet towards the regional security initiative as “the powers that be in the State did not give him the necessary green light to proceed with the idea in the first instance.”
“In the course of the meetings of the South West Governors, Sanwo-Olu was very vocal in pushing for such initiative to be set up. Recall that Lagos seemed to be bearing the brunt of insecurity in the region as the waterways had become porous, fueling incessant cases of kidnapping and increase in crime rate.
“The Lagos State Government just like the other states in the region also supported the outfit with 20 vehicles and 100 units of motorcycles, Amotekun in Lagos seems like it is dead on arrival.”
But more importantly, the source said that “Sanwo-Olu did not also get the blessing of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to launch the outfit in Lagos. It is difficult to tell what his reasons are but with 2023 around the corner, Tinubu is not ready to take chances or gamble with any move that could prove costly to his perceived ambition.”
“Although Tinubu has not officially declared his interest in the 2023 Presidential election, his body language and the moves by some of his henchmen already suggest that he would throw his hat into the race in due course.
Recall that Tinubu was accused of speaking from both sides of his mouth when he broke his silence on the setting up of the initiative, which many believe was a smart move on his part to pacify both sides of the divide, especially as the Federal Government, particularly the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami initially opposed the establishment of Amotekun which sparked controversy before a truce was reached.
The State’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso and the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Gboyega Akosile, both did not respond to requests on the reason for the delay