By Bode Opeseitan.
No matter what becomes of Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu hereafter, he is the unsung modern-day hero of freedom and liberty in Yorubaland.
There comes a time in a man’s life when he must stand up and be counted on the side of courage. That moment came for Rotimi Akeredolu in the build-up to the establishment of Amotekun, the security outfit created by the people of South West Nigeria to liberate themselves from a rampaging militia of Fulani herdsmen.
The battle for Amotekun threw up three kinds of leaders in Yorubaland. The first were the Saboteurs who were non-committal and even attempted, unsuccessfully, to leverage their overarching influence to stop the pivotal initiative. The second were the Silent Leaders who believed in the Amotekun intervention but were too timid or intimidated to speak up. The third were the Rotimi Akeredolus who stood solidly on the side of the Yoruba people and fought tooth and nail until that aspiration was met.
Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, underestimated the resolve of the people when he threw a spanner in the works, saying Amotekun was illegal.
President Buhari, in a moment of statesmanship, allowed for a meeting to be held in the office of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo to find a political solution to the imbroglio. It was at that meeting courageous Akeredolu sealed his place as an exceptional defender of the Yoruba cause.
He pointedly asked Malami what gave him the temerity to issue such a provocative statement when the exasperated people of South West had resolved to liberate themselves from perfidy.
The true Yoruba blood of honour, valour and protection of the heritage of his forebears boiled in him at around 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
As a truly deserving Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a former President of Nigeria Bar Association, Akeredolu knew Malami was talking gibberish. He knew nothing short of the institutionalisation of Amotekun would placate the Yoruba people who were already at the tipping point of their frustration with insecurity, ready to go to any length to protect lives and property in the South West.
He marshalled his points aggressively, vociferously and meticulously. Seeing obviously that he was knocking his head against a granite harder than Aso Rock, Malami beat a retreat.
Today, Amotekun is launched and the much-desired peace is waltzing its way back across Yorubaland.
Akeredolu’s love for his people is deep and peerless. It is the kind of ferocious love a leader must feel for his people, not the condescending or thieving charade being masqueraded as leadership.
Arakunrin, akoni Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, posterity will be kind to you. Even if your flaws are as expansive as the Atlantic ocean, on the account of this bravery and exemplary leadership, the love the people Yoruba people have for you will continually grow fonder as they come into the full knowledge of how you fought and won this battle with other courageous leaders like Professor Banji Akintoye, Kayode Fayemi, Seyi Makinde, Gani Adams and countless other Yoruba freedom fighters.
No one who has not contributed to this victory should be allowed to share this moment in the sun with all the leaders who worked hard to liberate the people. To the other leaders who are still fiddling with the destinies of their peoples, they may yet have another opportunity for self-redemption or be ready to meet an imminent Waterloo. The people are much wiser. They can now easily see through the veneer of decades of shenanigans, decoy and grand deceptions.