From the legislative perspective, the Speaker, Osun House of Assembly, Honourable Najeem Salaam in this interview with ISRAEL AFOLABI spoke on the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola in the last seven years. Excerpt
OSDF: In assessing the Rauf Aregbesola, APC-led administration in Osun in the last seven years, what will be your take?
Salaam: It’s been seven eventful years and it has been promises made, promises kept. We could all see that the first tenure was used for strategic planning, methodical execution and serious development spadework.
Aregbesola long before assumption of office had drawn up his plans for the development of the state. He started from the scratch, laying foundation for intangibles in terms of identity and self awareness – state anthem, flag and crest that tell our story, qualitative education, roads and infrastructure, empowerment and innovation and we are glad that some of the programmes were copied by the federal government and some international bodies.
Besides, the State capital, Osogbo, our collective heritage and centre of convergence has been turned to a city proper and it can now be compared with any beautiful state capital in the federation, unlike a glorified village that was bequeathed to this administration.
As for the state parliament, we are glad to be part of the development, as our cooperation provides synergy between the two arms of the government to work together, because we are all craving for development. I think Aregbesola has blazed the trail in the delivery of solid and intangible dividends of democracy in the last seven years.
OSDF: How would you rate the state Assembly under your watch?
Salaam: Excellent. Yes, I mark the parliament under my watch the best ever at the risk of being accused of blowing my trumpet. The reality on ground attests to the fact that we have done our best for the state in the last few years.
It is very convenient for members to embark on selfish agenda by making some of the celebrated projects impossible, giving excuses based on constituency projects or any other issue, but members suppressed their individual’s interest for collective good of all.
Yes, our governor performs so well, but I give the credit to God and the fifth and sixth House of Assembly under my leadership.
OSDF: Which sector of government would you laud for doing well?
Salaam: I think education got the attention of the government and government invested hugely on it, but I am not surprised, because if a better generation is to be anticipated and seen the better way to go is to restructure education.
Infrastructure got a good attention and there is a huge investment in it too, but because Osun is big, it will take some years of consistency for us to brave the weather of bad road completely. Besides, the ten kilometre road project for each local government in the state has become a novel that must continued.
One thing is that, the programmes of the government are intertwined and to stand on one will be hard, but without derating, education and infrastructure development seem to be the master piece.
OSDF: How do you describe critics of Governor Aregbesola on his style the running of the state?
Salaam: I think we should be tolerant of the opposition, though the opposition most times do overstep their bounds, they still must play their role as opposition; what is not tenable is destructive engagement they indulge in on some occasions and I think the electorate are wiser now. So, those who are criticising Aregbesola administration are doing so for political relevance, I will only advise them to be reasonable and talk with facts, not fallacies.
OSDF: How many laws have been passed so far since you assume Speakership?
Salaam: We have passed not less than 45 bills to laws and we are still working on some. But let it be known that our jobs transcends just that, it also include dispute resolution, go-between government and institutions, oversight functions and some others.
OSDF: What is the relationship between the Assembly and the executive now?
Salaam: Our relationship is perfect. We have a way of interacting on any given issue and members of the executive arm respect us as a legislature, that’s why some cynics dub us “rubber stamp”. Do we care about that? No! Besides, our relationship has given the state the best of development you can think of.
OSDF: What can you tell the citizens of this state as a leader?
Salaam: I am to thank our people for making good governance possible and I still want to implore them to continue to support our government, because continuity of our tendency as a party in power is what can fast track development in every nook and cranny.