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Amotekun is a vote for regionalism – Sam Amadi

Following the controversy that has enveloped the launch of the Western Nigeria Security Network code named Amotekun, senior lecturer with the Baze University,  Abuja, Sam Amadi, warns that if the lingering insecurity that necessitated Amotekun is not promptly addressed by the Federal Government, Nigeria may face dismemberment.

In this interview with INNOCENT ODOH, the former chairman of Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) attributes the controversy to the failure of the current government to manage the Nigerian diversity and the gradual loss of professionalism and universalism in the management of the Nigerian polity. He faults the lopsided security appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari, describing it as bad for the country. He also spoke on the Supreme Court judgment on the governorship election in Imo State, among others. Excerpts:

In view of the current controversy over the security outfit ‘Amotekun’, launched by the South West governors and the seeming panic reactions coming from some sections of the country, is the country moving towards dismemberment?

The ‘Amotekun’ saga is poetic justice for those who have managed Nigeria recently and have not listened to complaints of the gradual loss of professionalism and universalism in the management of Nigerian polity. Yes, the present crisis has the capacity to destroy the fragile unity and patriotism in the country. It is more worrisome because of the rhetoric of hate and demonisation that have accompanied the controversy. I think the country is moving towards disintegration. But the good news is that it’s reversible. We can still save the republic if we heed the warning signs and not pretend we can muddle through. Nigeria has almost a religious belief in its ability to break the laws of nature and of science and come to grief. That’s why many Nigerians proudly say God is a Nigerian. It’s only foolish people that continue to move towards the precipice and expect God to deliver them. We are tottering as a country and tottering towards a precipice. The Amotekun saga just quickened our steps to perdition. But like I said, it’s all reversible

Some experts predict that the Amotekun mantra could lead to a ripple effect across the country, which may produce chaos and confusion if not properly handled. What is your reaction to this?

Yes, such predictions are reasonable but not unavoidable. Amotekun is not just about security. It is more than that. It’s a vote against a sense of injustice and an indictment of the federal security agencies. It dramatises the phenomenal failure of security in Nigeria, a failure that is aggravated by the lack of professionalism and nationalism of the security agencies. Of course, every country faces such challenges but the difference is that a general high level of trust for the agencies dealing with the challenges in Nigeria is different. The President’s security team comes from one part of a regional divide. This is bad for a country that struggles with ethnic and religious conflicts and suspicion. The President has refused to change his team in spite of managerial failure and the outcry. We have also seen widespread allegations of ethnic and religious bias against the leadership of the security agencies. So, Amotekun is a vote for regionalism in a sense and it will likely lead to other things. The momentum going forward has to be better managed to avoid serious political crises that will undermine national unity and development.

Some have said that the current Federal Government despite the huge investment in the fight against insecurity, has failed to provide security and the people are merely responding by forming security outfits. Is this a path to the much-touted true federalism or just a spontaneous reaction?

Of course, the failure in security is glaring. The other day, we heard about the brutal killing of the CAN chairman in Adamawa by Boko Haram. Statistics show that more people died of attacks by Boko Haram than by any other cause. Insecurity has destroyed human capital and businesses in Nigeria. If we do an evaluation of the economic costs of insurgency and terrorism they will be mind blowing.

Government has not taken serious action to address insecurity across all levels. We need to stop this sloganeering. Every form of insecurity has risen. Nigerians are kidnapped at will, including judges and police officers. Obviously governments are not investing the required finance and commitment to addressing this insecurity; otherwise we would have seen better results. Today, we are less secured than we were in 2015. This is the truth. Some have argued that part of failure to address these problems is not just leadership failure but also structural problem. The country is structurally difficult to manage. The argument is that if we restructure we can overcome some of these crises. This is an arguable point but makes much sense. In fact, the crisis of service delivery and security may actually lead us to what they call true federalism. I guess we are heading towards de facto regionalism by virtue of regional efforts to supplement the failure of governance in the centre and the states.

The crises in the country have been attributed to lack of national consensus. So, why is it difficult for Nigeria or leaders to craft a workable national ideal for the nation?

Nigerian leaders find it difficult to strike national consensus on many of the issues that affect national stability and development. The reason for this is because Nigerian leaders have been oriented towards ethnic and religious supremacy. Nigerian political history has been based on raw competition for supremacy, especially amongst the major ethnic groups. This is really sad. So, the tendency to promote particularistic agenda as against universal good of all citizens means that Nigerian leaders are incapable of generating consensus on these important issues. This is worrisome because elite consensus is very important to sustainable development.

Finally, on the Supreme Court judgment on the governorship election in Imo State that seemingly baffled everybody for obvious reasons, can the Supreme Court reverse itself on the case?

The Imo judgment will constitute a landmark and rock of offense for many years to come. It’s a very controversial judgment. But it will be difficult to reverse except for arithmetic errors. The Supreme Court has the right to err and also have the right to correct itself.

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