Insecurity has become an existential threat in Nigeria. The South-West zone had been at the forefront of the campaign to restructure Nigeria to true federalism, arguing that such model would lead to a more progressive and safer nation. However, the campaign stalled on the altar of parochial political interest after the All Progressives Congress (APC), the majority party in the region, captured power at the centre.
All that changed, however, after July 12, 2019, the day bandits murdered Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, the leader of Afenifere, the apex Yoruba socio-cultural group, in cold blood.
Tongues have been wagging on why the South-East Governors Forum reneged on its initial plan to launch a regional security outfit in Igboland, similar to the Amotekun of the South-West. But the people should ponder no more: the sudden u-turn has everything to do with sheer selfishness.
Recognising that their people must first survive before they can prevail, the South-West governors put politics aside and floated a revolutionary regional security network, codenamed Operation Amotekun, an arrangement that mirrors a true federal structure. The South-West governors could no longer fold their hands and wait forever on the long-awaited restructuring of the country nor continue to rely on an inept federal police before securing the lives and property of their people.
The Amotekun is not a foolproof solution to the security crisis, but it is common knowledge that the mere emotion of fear stokes deterrence. The elaborate style in which the Amotekun was launched, coupled with its unique name, not only demonstrated unity of purpose in the region, it is also an eloquent statement that it is no longer business as usual. The optics quickly sent shivers down the spines of criminals who may entertain the thought of venturing into Yorubaland.
In view of the worsening wave of insecurity in Igboland, the consensus, therefore, was that the South-East governors would emulate their counterparts in the West to float a regional security outfit. But the South-East chief executives looked the other way. Rather, they pandered to the Federal Government on the basis of a naïve political expediency and agreed to wait on a community police model that was proposed circa 2006 but is yet see the light of the day.
To these governors, the status quo trumps a regional security apparatus. Ironically, such view is coming from the same Igbo leaders who have been going around in recent times, heaping blame for the lack of development in the zone on the long-awaited restructuring of Nigeria, which they insist must feature regional autonomy.
The truth is that the South-East governors decided to discard a new layer of security in Igboland because the victims of insecurity are typically the ordinary people. The nonchalance, of course, is hinged on the fact that the Nigerian rich and famous enjoy maximum security by maintaining a retinue of large convoys of police personnel for the protection of their families and estates.
Therefore, instead of colluding with the police to promote convoys of individual security details, the South-East governors should hearken to the yearnings of the masses and join their counterparts in the South-South zone by launching, without further delay, a true regional security network to stem the rising tide of crime in the entire East. “A stitch in time saves nine.”