Born on August 8, 1965, Najeem Folasayo Salaam hails from Ejigbo. There was no peculiar circumstance to his birth, though he lost his mother at the age of two and his father when he was 10; his big aunt, Iya Agba raised him and his sister with utmost care. What defined his childhood was that he courted so many friends and as a young man, he had the habit of offering his ration for others to eat. So, he seemed to have exhibited the traits of generosity and love for others and “live and let other live” from the threshold of his life.
Najeem Salaam attended Ansar-ul-Deen Primary School, Ejigbo; Baptist High School, Ola-Ejigbo; Baptist High School, Ejigbo and proceeded to the then Oyo State School of Arts and Science, Ile-Ife, for his ‘A’ Levels, before he was admitted to Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) where he obtained B.Sc Political Science, M.Sc Political Science and he has crowned his intellectual capability with the highest engagement of academic laurel in his chosen field, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) Political Science in the same university.
Najeem Salaam joined politics in 1995. He started as a follower from the grassroots; he enrolled himself under the political tendency of progressive leaning, under the leadership of Tayo Ilupeju, an Ejigbo born political leader who also stocked himself in the Obafemi Awolowo’s school of politics.
He signified intention to vie for House of Assembly seat in 1999, but was persuaded to stand down his ambition for another aspirant on a political calculation; he was later appointed as the Supervisory Councillor for Health, Ejigbo Local Government Council. By 2003, he won the ticket of Alliance for Democracy (AD) to stand for election as Chairman of Ejigbo Local Government Council, but failed to make it due to the hostility of the then ruling party to the opposition. However, he won election to the Osun State House of Assembly in 2007.
By 2009, his election was voided by the Court of Appeal, which held in Ibadan upon the petition filed by a candidate of Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), who claimed that her party logo was not included in the ballot paper used for 2007 legislative election in Ejigbo State Constituency. The court called for a rerun election but the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) brought “war” and glaring compromise to Ejigbo and Najeem Salaam became a victim. Against all odds, he was re-nominated for 2011 election and won with moonslide.
By 2011, Salaam returned to the State House of Assembly and he was elected Speaker unanimously. By 2012, he was selected by the 35 Speakers of the State Houses of Assembly to lead Conference of Speakers and midwife the conference into a democratic structure, which he did within six months.
Salaam was returned again in 2015 and he was re-elected as the Speaker and he has since become a honest broker, stabilizing the state with his go-between among disputing parties, as the State House of Assembly under his watch has been able to fix broken system in so many respects. Under his watch, the state parliament has passed over 50 laws, over 45 resolutions and four public hearings, coupled with interventions in different areas.
Despite his intimidating physique and academic credentials, Salaam possesses unparalleled disarming humility, sprawling native wisdom and rare generosity; virtues that have made him tick as a politician with a difference and a colourful humanist, whose stock-in-trade is to make people smile in all situations, even in the face of daunting challenges. The aforementioned virtues made his friends and associates to call him IWALOYE- good character is royalty.
He attended a brief legislative class at London School of Economics and Political Science; he undertook a study-tour at United Kingdom Parliament, Westminster, London; he attended legislative assignment in Tanzania, Brazil, United States of America, Ghana, Malaysia, United Arab Emirate (UAE) to mention but few.
Salaam is a man of many accolades, he garners 65 awards from educational institutions of higher learning; he earns 50 leadership awards across social organizations and groups; he was honoured by religious institutions across board. He is the current Asiwaju Adeen of Ejigbo-land. Alumni International of his Alma mata, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 2013, bestowed on him, Grand Commander of Great Ife (GCI); he is the Asiwaju Musulumi of Ejigbo-land (the overall leader of Muslim faithful in Ejigbo-land) among other accolades, including, Outstanding Achievement Award & Extraordinary Services, Dedication to Our State by All Progressive Congress (Canada Branch); Evergreen Award as Worthy Ambassador of Yoruba by the Southwest Youth Leaders Association; Award of Excellence in Political & Social Development by LAUTECH International College, Ogbomoso; Most Outstanding Legislative Administration Award by Leadership and Followership Development Centre (LEFDEC) among several others.
Salaam, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has not officially declared to govern the state, his group, Iwaloye Movement has begun mobilisation for his ambition.