A former member of the House of Representatives, Tayo Sarumi, has said former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, should be blamed for the lesser role that the South West is playing at the centre of Nigerian politics.
Sarumi, who represented Ibadan North Federal Constituency between 2003 and 2007, said the plan to relegate the South West in the composition of government at the centre was hatched shortly before former President Olusegun Obasanjo left government in 2007.
He said, “When Obasanjo was about to leave, I had a reliable information that the only position that was coming to the South West was the Peoples Democratic Party chairmanship slot and that no position was coming to us from the three arms of government.
“I wrote letters to all the South West governors where I addressed the issue. I made them realise that it would be a huge political loss if the South West was not given any position in government. My position pitted me against Obasanjo but in a meeting that took place in Ota, it was raised again and it was concluded that a Yoruba lawmaker should be the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“That was how Dimeji Bankole presided over the House until 2011. But there was a problem when the South West representatives in the house failed to hold on to their position after Bankole. Largely controlled by former ACN party, which is now All Progressives Congress, the members took directive from the party leader, Tinubu, and settled for Mohammed Tambuwal.”
Sarumi noted that a dangerous trend was gradually creeping into the South West politics, which could alienate it from the Federal Government set up and affect its development.
He said, “Today, the Yoruba interest is not protected because we don’t have anyone occupying any key position in the present government. We have people occupying ministerial positions but we deserve better stake in this government. ACN has more representatives in the legislative houses from the South West but they have not represented us well by offering what belonged to us to someone else.
“My concern now is that the Yorubas are now taking the back stage. If a major zone in a nation like Nigeria is not strongly represented in the executive and legislative arms of the government, then that zone is losing its relevance in the nation’s polity.”