Some South-West leaders are currently biting their fingers in regret over voting President Muhammadu Buhari into office.The zone is particularly angry with the President, who is the leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for tolerating the outcome of National Assembly leadership election, which did not favour the region.Buhari’s silence according to them is a serious indication that the zone, which queued behind him to ensure victory at the recent polls, may benefit little or nothing from the administration.
“For the fact that the South-West played a key role in the emergence of Buhari as the President, it is expected that they would occupy a more strategic position than the post of vice president”, said one of the leaders.
They argued that the National Assembly leadership election, which eventually placed the North Central geopolitical zone as a powerful force in the country’s power equation through the emergence of former Kwara governor, Bukola Saraki, as Senate President and Yakubu Dogara from the North-East, has depicted the South-West as not only a weak power bloc in the equation.
With the power structure now,the South-West as a region has been relegated to the background in the power structure of the country.Some of the leaders of the region who also participated in the last National Conference argue that since the South-West does not hold any substantial position in the current power structure, the region must re-strategise to assert itself in the politics of the nation.They further argued that the position of Vice President, which is presently held by a south westerner, does not place the region as a powerful force.
While referring to one of the speeches made by former President Goodluck Jonathan during the campaigns leading up to the 2015 general elections, National Coordinator of Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reform, CODER, Chief Ayo Opadokun, a South-West leader, who spoke to the on the current power imbalance, noted that the Yoruba race made a great mistake by not re-electing the former President,considering what he had in stock for the zone. He emphasised that the implementation of the National Conference report would elevate the standard of the zone, which is the reason people of the South-West should have queued behind Jonathan.
“Failure to do this needful may spell doom for the zone as their trust in their forged alliance with North would lead to regret. “Certainly, as the power structure is, there is the need for the Yoruba race to re-strategise on the way they would reassert themselves in the country’s politics and power equation,” Opadokun advised. Also lending his voice on the skewed power structure, image maker of Pro- National Conference, Wale Okunniyi, faulted the emergence of Saraki and Dogara, which he described as a conspiracy against the Yoruba nation by some powerful forces in the APC. He stated further that it was unfortunate that the South-West did not get the speakership of the House of Representative, as the region pushed forward Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.He condemned Sen. Saraki and Hon. Dogara for not adhering strictly to the party’s position, stressing that the leadership of the Yoruba people need to redirect their plan for the region would benefit in the current state of the country politics. Okunniyi said, “What happened at the National Assembly was a conspiracy against Yoruba nation by some powerful forces in the APC. Although, we hold the Vice President position, we lost the speakership. This calls for total re-strategising by Yoruba leadership so that we can have our way in this current power structure.”However, a prominent South- West leader and lawyer, Asiwaju Bisi Adegbuyi, stressed that as for now the Yoruba race needs self-determination rather than a symbolic representation.
“Yoruba race should know what they want. Yoruba made progress when Chief Obafemi Awolowo led us.Also speaking to this paper, a PDP chieftain from the zone, Barrister Olayinka Sanni, put the blame on the selfish interest of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. He said that Tinubu’s selfish interest was pushing the South-West backward.
According to him, “the system of leader takes- all that Tinubu used in Lagos politics gave the undue advantage to Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara as Senate President and Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives. “He derives pleasure from cheating people in public. If they had not conducted the mock election, Femi Gbajabiamila would have won since it would have happened at the same time in both chambers,’’ he noted, adding that going by the trend of things, South-West might be forced to pressurise President Buhari to implement the part of the recommendation of the Confab which would be favorable to them. However, notwithstanding the current leadership positions in the National.Assembly, which the South-West complains about being relegated to the second fiddle, the zone clinched the position of Deputy Speaker Hon. Yusuf Lasun had in spite of the All Progressives Congress endorsement of his opponent Monguno Tahir, polled 203 votes to defeat Tahir, who had 153 votes. Mr. Lasun represents Irepodun, Olorunda, Osogbo Federal Constituency in Osun State. But according to analysts, with the victory of Bukola Saraki as the Senate President and Yakubu Dogara as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the six geopolitical zones appear to have benefitted from power sharing. All the zones, North-West, North- East, North Central, South-West, South- East and South-South are adequately represented at the centre. While Senator Saraki hails from Kwara State, North Central zone, Rep. Dogara is from Bauchi State, North East Nigeria. The same for Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, an indigene of Enugu State in the South-East zone. The Deputy Speaker of the House,Yusuf Lasun, is from Osun State in the South-West. President, Mohammed Buhari is from Katsina State, North-West zone while his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, hails from Ogun State also in the South-West zone. The South-South is represented in the capacity of John Odigie Oyegun, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, the ruling party