Rt. Hon. Najeem Folasayo Salaam, the Speaker, State of Osun House of Assembly
Rt. Hon. Najeem Folasayo Salaam, the Speaker,
State of Osun House of Assembly
Happy Birthday From New Punch
Rt. Hon. Najeem Folasayo Salaam, the Speaker, State of Osun House of Assembly marks another year, but would not be celebrated with fanfare, because this period in the historical phase of our nation calls for sober reflection. As a result, this piece for this newstalk would look into his story to justify the organic link between suffering and success, apology to late Comrade Ola Oni.

Speaker Salaam appears to have premised his worldview on tripod of humility, emotional intelligence and philanthropy. He is not rich, but very generous with his little; he is not diminutive in physique, but chooses to be humble; he is not cold, but elects to work and consummate dealings and relationship with all manner of men and women with reason attached to humanism. No wonder his colleagues, friends and political allies fondly call him "IWALOYE"- meaning: proven character is royalty.

This is one individual who as a matter of principle, sees human beings as ends, that must not be treated as means, because in his wisdom, he believes that those who are fortunate to be in position of authority or wealth only have opportunities ahead of those who are disadvantaged, and that the only permanence in life is change. So, he believes that it is the responsibility of those who have opportunities to lift the lacked.

Some bookmakers were of the opinion that Speaker Salaam was only generous because he has inexhaustible wallet sourced from political pot, but they were proved wrong through the trend of history. It was said that Salaam as a private young businessman who once operated a patent medicine shop among the chain of businesses in his hometown was so generous that the indigent sick could always get their prescribed drugs available for free, not because he wanted an electoral favour then, but because he could not afford to see the poor die a cheap death. The lyrics of late "dadakuada" exponent, Odolaye Aremu comes to mind while extolling generosity of a man that, "a generous man hires labourers with aim of empowering them, just the way he bought a slave with sore in his legs, so as to feed the flies".

Ever since democracy returned to this nation, and Salaam had joined the political fray, his political foes could testify that IWALOYE has redefined politics of Ejigbo Local Government with  his keen interest in developing his people. It was said that while he was appointed as Supervisory Councilor for Health in the council; he deployed his entitlements to the care of the needy, and kept a register of the people in critical need.

However, when he contested for the chairmanship position of the council, and met the hostility of the then ruling party, he retooled with equanimity, and when he was relieved of his mandate in 2009 as a member of Osun State House of Assembly, he maintained a dignified calmness in the face of conspiratorial politicking; rather he returned to the drawing board, where he reloaded his political warhorse and returned to the same parliament in 2011.

Salaam won the trust of his colleagues when he was voted to be the first among the equals, and that year, he was elected as the Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the Conference of Speakers of the State legislature, with a responsibility of midwiving the first election of the conference. Report has it that the staff of the secretariat of the Conference got the best working condition under his leadership; while his colleagues attested to the fact that the election Speaker Salaam conducted was free, fair and credible, a situation that engendered unity and harmonious working relationship among the Speakers of the state Houses of Assembly in the federation then.

Speaker Salaam also broke a record in his Ejigbo state constituency in the build up to the 2015 election, as no member of the state parliament had ever been allowed by the stakeholders to return to the House twice, and his case was not different because he was the Speaker, for the unwritten rule was unspeakable zoning between the main town and the subs, but the electorate insisted in having him returned, and the voice was pronounced during the last election.

Born in August 8, 1965, Speaker Salaam attended his elementary and post elementary school in Ejigbo, before he proceeded to Oyo state School of Science, Ilesa where he bagged his A level certificate, after which he was admitted to study political science at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife; where he obtained his masters degree in political science and currently on his doctoral thesis at the same institution respectively.

Besides, he had a crash class on legislative matters at the London School of Economics and Political science, apart from his exposure on legislative exchange in United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Brazil; plus his working visits to UAE, Tanzania, Ghana, Canada to mention but few.

Speaker Salaam is a recipient of many awards and titles, among them is the Commander of Great Ife (CGI) conferred on him by the OAU Alumni International. He is Asiwaju Musulumi of Ejigbo land, state of Osun.

This wonderful Nigerian was not born with sliver spoon in his mouth, for he lost his mother while he was two and lost his father at age 10, but was lucky to have been raised by his aunt who was a caring businesswoman, suggesting that he is a self made man, who rose to his challenges and got his dose of suffering, but weathered the storm through God and perseverance.

Written by Goke Butikakuro, Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, State of Osun House of Assembly,

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