By Ola Ajayi
SPEAKER, House of Representatives, Mr Dimeji Bankole has chided associations and elders in the South West for not acknowledging the remarkable achievements his leadership has made since it came on board.
Bankole, who was at a Civil Society/Legislatorâ€™s interaction organised by the Convener, Nigeria Votersâ€™ Assembly, Comrade Mashood Erubami yesterday in Ibadan, said he did not expect anybody to praise him but when a remarkable achievement and acknowledgement is given, it serves as impetus and a sign of solidarity to him to put in more efforts.
The Speaker, who spoke extensively in Yoruba Language was replying to allegations by the former Governor of Oyo State, Alhaji Lam Adesina, leader of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr. Fredrick Fasheun, Areoye Oyebola, leader of Movement for Total Transformation of Nigeria and many others that the country had not achieved much in this political dispensation.
He did not mince words about the indifference the South West people had shown about the progress made so far in the House of Representatives.
He lamented that the zone had not initiated anyÂ blueprint on what it would achieve in future. While enjoining the zone to have a common voice, he wondered saying, â€œsince we have been running government in Yoruba, have you ever heard of South West Summit? When did Yoruba leaders come under one umbrella and say this is our plan for the next 30 years?
He said, â€œIn 1979 and 1983, where did our elders sit and plan the blueprint for the region for the next 30, 50 years. Some of us are there now and we are making some slow but remarkable progressâ€.
â€œWhen we said the unspent budget should be returned into the treasury, where was the support of our leaders then. Nobody could say you have done well. We know it is our job but nobody has ever done that before. Where are Oodua Peoples Congress, Afenifere and our fathers who are journalists? When brickbats were being thrown from all nooks and crannies because of the steps we took, where were you our elders to defend us?â€, he asked.
Lam Adesina and Fasheun jointly said the people of the zone would not allow any rigging again in the 2011 elections. They said they would lead the people and resist any imposition of candidates on them.
Continuing, Bankole noted that â€œWhenever we make reference to Papa Obafemi Awolowo, all of us know how old he was before he became the leader of Yoruba. You his associates, we knew your ages then when you became commissioners, Ministers and the rest. It is true Iâ€™m not yet forty, but I know that most of you were not forty years old when you became ministersâ€.
The present predicament that our country found itself today did not happen in four years. Things had gone worse for long and we were not the ones at the helm of affairs then. We are not former governors.
On the Electoral Bill, he assured Nigerians that the present legislators in the National Assembly would conclude what they had started.
He urged the mammoth crowd that attended the forum to put their ideas and suggestions on how the country would get to its promised land in form of bills and forward same to the lower chamber.
â€œWe in the National Assembly want to see your contribution not in the form of a communiquÃ©. Anybody can write a communiquÃ© but a constructed proposal on bill. That is what we want. Where is Oodua Peoples Congress Bill, Arewa Bill and Voters Assemblyâ€™s Bill? All you have to do is to show up with that bill and we promise that we will look at it,â€ he promised.
â€œWe know that the leaders of Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reforms(CODER) are our leaders but we all know that there is politicking there. Let us not hide behind any civil society, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), or it is serious politics.â€
He charged them to stop playing tricks but say things when occasion called for it. â€œLet us identify ourselves so that all Nigerians would know one another. Donâ€™t let us hide under the canopy of politics and be deceiving ourselves. Some people would say they are civil societies and they would be talking against the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP)â€, he stated.