Since the debate over the creation of the South West security initiative popularly known as Amotekun started raging, there have been an uncomfortable silence from the biggest politician in the region, Bola Tinubu.
The former governor of Lagos and acclaimed political godfather of the region has lost his tongue, so are his proteges – the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Osun State counterpart, Adegboyega Oyetola. This is despite both governors originally signing in on the initiative from the very beginning.
The silence of Tinubu, the so-called Asiwaju of the South West and his proteges have become so loud that many people of the region are beginning to wonder if Tinubu really has the interest of the region at heart or he is merely a selfish politicians who is primarily interested in his political survival.
But to understand Tinubu’s tongue-tied disloyalty to an initiative that has massive support in the region one has look no further beyond the 2023 election. Though he is trying to hide it, but it is now an open secret that Tinubu is interested in becoming the president of Nigeria. Becoming the president of Nigeria would put Tinubu as the most successful Pan-Yoruba politician in the history of the country. In the books of many analysts, it would place him ahead and above a former Premier of the West Region, the legendary Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who himself tried to become president but was unsuccessful before he passed on.
On paper, 2023 seems to be his best chance. He was instrumental to the creation of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and he believes he deserves to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari after the completion of his second term in 2023. But his ambition has placed in in a quagmire. It is clear that the north and by extension President Muhammadu Buhari is against the creation of Amotekun. Though the president himself has said nothing about the outfit but many of his supporters and in fact, senior members of his cabinet has openly kicked against the creation of the security outfit. The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, expressly stated that the security outfit was illegal and ordered that it should be disbanded.
Tinubu’s ambition has exposed his powerlessness. If he was hiding it, this Amotekun issue has exposed him as lacking the influence even with his party to emerge as its candidate. Despite his acclaimed power and influence in Lagos, it is now evident beyond doubt that Tinubu is a political light weight outside the former capital of the country.
Tinubu knows that to become president he needs the endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari and support from the north of the country. So, he is doing everything not to upset the apple cart. Amotekun may have exposed Tinubu more than others but this is not the first time, the Jagaban, as his supporters like to call him has played possum or given surprisingly obtuse explanation or support for policies pushed by President Buhari.
The only reason Tinubu has been silent about Amotekun is because he is scared of offending Buhari and northers, who sees Amotekun as a creation against nomadic herdsmen from the region. At the moment Tinubu cuts a very pitiable character. If he speaks in support of Amotekun, he knows those who holds the yam and the knife would not give him a slice. If he speaks up against Amotekun, he was would be labeled a betrayer by his kinsmen.
But if Tinubu thinks he is fooling anyone by his silence, he has another think coming. People in the South West know he secretly supports Amotekun. But this is not enough. As a political leader of the region they want more. They want him to add his voice to the growing support of the security outfit in the region.
Similarly, northerners know he supports Amotekun. They know that his silence is a contrived and that he is merely quiet because he does not want to offend them. As it seems Tinubu is stuck between a rock and a hard place. And his decision to remain silence over this burning controversy is not doing him a whole lot of good.