With those words, Senator Babafemi Ojudu declared that it was not possible for all governors in the South-West to belong to the same party before the zone could be developed.
Ojudu said party affliation is not synonymous with cooperation among the Yoruba-speaking states.
Also, he said progressive politics is not the exclusive right of the ACN, saying progressives could be found among all the regions and political parties in the country.
Ojudu, who was Akure, the Ondo State capital to deliver a lecture organised by the Afenifere Renewal Group to mark June 12 celebration said for regional integration to work out among the states in the region, what the governors need is to subscribe to the development agenda and not necessary political party affiliation.
Many of the speakers with ACN sympathy had said the Ondo State governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, had been a cog in the wheel of regional integration for his refusal to join the mainstream political party in the geo-political zone.
Echoing the other governors of the region during the electioneering campaigns for the governorship seat in the state, the ACN leaders had insisted that for the regional integration to be effective, all states in the zone must belong to the same political party.
But Ojudu, who represents Ekiti Central senatorial district on the platform of the ACN in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, said as desirable as that may be, regional integration does not rest squarely on it.
His words: “Regional integration is not canvassing for all states within the region to belong to the same political party, if it happens, all well and good, but if it does not happen, it means that all governments in the region would subscribe to the development of the region.
“For instance, if Ekiti decides to dualise the road that leads to Ondo, Ekiti has to work in conjunction with Ondo and dualise the road, that is regional integration. If we decide that there should be rail line within all the towns in the South-West, Ondo should not say we are not interested. It is, therefore, not compulsory that one party must rule the South-West but there should be basic things that we will all subscribe to, development education for all, medical facilities for all, employment for our young people, these are basic things that we should all strive for.
“So, we must shelve our ego in order to achieve all these things even when we are not from the same political party. Since we have so many things in common, like our tradition, our customs and languages, there’s no way anybody can say we are not part of them”.
On the marginalisation of the zone at the national level, which was caused by the alliance between the Congress for Political Change (CPC) and the ACN, Ojudu exonerated his party saying the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, was able to play his politics right and that enables him to clinch the seat.
“The speaker of the House of Representatives is a PDP man and he doesn’t belong to either ACN or CPC. If a man comes up and wants to offer leadership in the House of Reps and he plays his politics well and align very well and won over a Yoruba person, we cannot begrudge him.
“It is not a must that Yoruba must be number three or four, why can’t a Yoruba man be number one? It is not the fault of anybody, it’s not the fault of ACN or CPC. Tambulwal is still a PDP man and he has not declared for either CPC or ACN and nobody can blame this on the ACN or CPC.”
On progressive politics in the country, Ojudu said: “As PDP stands today, there are progressive elements in the PDP so, if we can work with the progressives in the PDP and join forces with the ACN, with the ANPP, CPC and if other parties come together, we will surely provide good government, what we want is good government and good governance for Nigerians.”