Najeem Salaam: Celebrating Honest Broker @52, By Goke Butika

The concept of time is still a work-in-progress, because some of the early thinkers who dwelled on the matter of time were only deploying intellectual arguments. Time is different things to different worldviews.

 

Time to the western worldview is money, because wages are quantified by the numbers of hours put in a job. So, to the western employer, it is time that should be priced not the quantity or quality of work; for it is believed that job description has taken care of the two variables. Whereas, in Africa, if the thought of J. S. Mbiti is given a filtered look, events constitute time; all things being equal, time is still a work-in-progress, because human beings designed to use time to measure their milestones as constituted by events are created in such a way that the philosophical principles of: thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis are work-in-progress too.

 

How time flies? Rt. Hon. Najeem Folasayo Salaam, Speaker, State of Osun House of Assembly is a year older today, and his milestone deserves to be noticed not because he is the presiding officer of the

state parliament, though part of it; the fact that many had occupied the exalted position before him, and certainly legions of people would still occupy the post after him, makes one to relegate transient

position as indelible mark.

 

The question would now be, what makes Speaker Salaam birthday deserving? Then, it would conform to logic to argue that his humility, brilliance and accountability which have formed the core values of his

statesmanship disposition in the discharge of duties his office dictates, is worth celebrating.

 

Born 52 years ago from Ejigbo, Speaker Salaam who was an orphan at the

early stage of life, knew that education is a leveller, and it is the gateway to success in life. As a result of that, he braves all odds to obtain knowledge for the journey of fate, and in the process, he studies political science at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, where he bags his first degree; he proceeded to obtain his masters in the same field at the same prestigious citadel of learning and at the peak of being inducted into the hall of

doctoral fellows in the same discipline at the same respected university to which its practicality has shot him to political limelight from the grass of the grassroots.

 

Being a certificated politician, his deft moves in politics with grassroots appeal suggests that Speaker Salaam is a certified politician whose focus is service to the people, and his philanthropy

bears eloquent testimony to the solidity of his acceptance by the people at his remote, immediate and extended constituencies.

 

Speaker Salaam was elected in 2011 by  the Speakers of 36 states of the federation as the national Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of the State Houses of Assembly, and the way and manner he fixed the conference of equals before he midwifed it into democratic formation, speaks volume about his democratic

credentials, and leadership potentiality.

 

Not a few are wondering how Speaker Salaam has been coordinating the

parliament since 2011 without hitch, but those who are observing him keenly will agree that his core value: humility,

brilliance and accountability are the attributes deployed to carry along his colleagues in the house. His humility is not pretentious, it appears it is in his DNA, for he believes that success in life lies in

being stooped to conquer, and that all humans are equal before the Creator; his brilliance is rooted in native wisdom and emotional intelligence; his accountability is grounded in open-door policy garnished with collegiate system he upholds in the discharge of his responsibility.

 

It is a public knowledge that Speaker Salaam is a peace maker, and his

effort as go-between in some disputes concerning public institutions,

and his persuasive skill which has made the State of Osun House of Assembly as honest broker, have created an enabling atmosphere for development being witnessed at every nook and cranny of the state.

 

If the attributes mentioned above are worth celebrating as virtues, an individual who exhibits such a character profile should equally be celebrated, and that is the reason why Rt. Hon. Najeem Folasayo Salaam is being celebrated today as he marks his 52nd birthday on earth.

 

Happy birthday Speaking Speaker!

 

Goke Butika

Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker

State of Osun House of Assembly

Osun Speaker Tasks Academics On Research Application

Speaker, State of Osun House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Najeem Salaam has tasked university Researchers to find nexus between their findings and the mode of production, saying that is when the society would be a better place for the people.

Delivering his speech at a reception organized by the Centre for Sustainable development Goals for the Vice Chancellor of Osun State University, Professor Labo Popoola, Speaker Salaam who was represented by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Goke Butika, urged the academics to engage political authorities with their researches with a view to applying them to social programs.

He said: “the iron curtain that barricades the academics against the politics and politicians must be removed in order to have nexus that would connect research with social programs for the overall benefits of the people”.

Speaker Salaam also acknowledged the towering profile of The Vice Chancellor, describing Prof. Popoola as a consummate teacher and inclusive administrator; hailing him on his appointment and pledged the support of the state parliament for his task.

The reception was attended by Mr. Debo Adesina, Managing Director, Guardian newspapers who chaired the occasion, Medical Director, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, university scholars and Professionals.

You Be Thief! I No Be Thief By Goke Butika

“Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil”—–Thomas Paine

Can it be true that the National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Professor Wale Oladipo was begging Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to find a way of shielding him from criminal trial as a result of his readiness to return his share of loot from DASUKIGATE?

No, I can’t believe that a Professor Oladipo could beg the President he once described as an illiterate for mercy! So, guilty conscience could make a man with fleet of degrees kiss the canvass of those who have no “certificate”? Life has phases and a careful analysis of the phases could be interesting.

Even f I chose to play doubting thomas’ character, the PDP scribe has confessed to have shared from the Dasuki’s bazaar, and he has thrown his hands up in surrender with a promise to pay N75 million he collected for doing nothing back. It may appear like a script of nollywood, but the entire drama of death and absurdities is real.

Was I surprised when I read the story of self confession of Professor Ladipo? No, but I was provoked to think aloud on how we have found ourselves in that magnitude of impunity, and I must say without apology that history would never be kind to the former President Goodluck Jonathan for superintending the most wickedly corrupt administration which saw to the death of thousands of Nigerians before he was pushed out.

I was at a meeting at the instance of Governor Rauf Aregbesola in 2013, when the picture of this impunity was in its negative copy, and the man lamented that Nigeria was in state of war; insisting that Nigeria was bleeding so badly, and that the bubble would soon burst, and everybody irrespective of position or status would be in trouble. Honestly speaking, none of us at the meeting except the governor understood the magnitude of the looting spree.

While the state of anomie painted by Aregbesola began to manifest, Boko Haram that was at a formation stage began to kill in hundreds, bombed churches, and ambushed traders. Remember, it was Ali Modu Sheriff, the current National Chairman of the PDP that was in power as the governor of Borno state when the terrorist network called boko haram was formed, and I recalled that he once responded to a reporter’s question on the criticism over his lifestyle, that majority of the voters in Borno are not literate. So, they would not read the arguments of his critics. And when the then NSA before Dasuki dropped the bombshell that PDP’s politics amplified boko haram activities, he was fired and got killed in a chopper crash. The rest is history.

Then, Colonel Sambo Dasuki came on board, and being a man from the North, and a Prince in the Sultanate, the assumption was that he would deploy his religious and regional connections to gather information about the festering sore in the North East, and tame the terrorism, but we were wrong because under his watch boko haram began to open caliphate and gaining territories. Thence, there was need to launch a full war, and it became the business of the military. Oh, you want to say that Jonathan was not a man with military background? Well, he was the Commander in Chief, and he must have presided over security meetings; he must have been made to approve funds for technologies and weapons to fight the war. However, the latest confessions from Metuh and Ladipo and co have shown that instead of prosecuting war as citizens were made to understand then, Dasuki was prosecuting electioneering campaign.

Ha! The hearts of men are full of wickedness, as it was written in one of the religious books. Scores of boys in government school were slaughtered before dawn in 2014 in Buni Yadi, Yobe State; 257 young and promising girls of Chibok school were kidnapped in Borno state, several villages and town were sacked in Adamawa state; scores of traders from Oyo state killed in Maduguri; scores were killed in bomb blast at United Nations House in Abuja and so on. But, instead of prosecuting war, Dasuki was prosecuting electioneering campaign.

I do not intend to appeal to emotion, but even if Ladipo and others who shared the blood money return their loot, can we ever return the lives lost? How come none of the PDP chiefs and their accomplices who shared the blood money lost the tinge of humanity in them? So, Sekau was not just boasting, he knew for sure that there would never be fund to buy weapons to fight his satanic sect, as long as Jonathan was in power; he knew that money voted for military equipment would continued to be shared as long as Dasuki remained NSA. What a country!

Bafarawa, former governor of Sokoto state got two billion naira for spiritual purpose, Raymond Dokepsi of AIT/Ray power media group got over two billion from Dasuki, Metuh got over 400 million, Fanikayode, the Jonathan campaign spokesman got N850 million, Prof. Ladipo got N75 million, and the roll call continues, at the detriment of the innocent lost souls and at the expense of a nation.

Because of Ladipo and his Comrades in crime, 219 innocent girls are passing through harrowing experience in the hands of terrorists yet to be found as you are reading this piece. Today, the dragnet of anti-graft agencies are sharpened for fight against the wicked looters, but they could not afford to lose their comfort; so they want to return their loot, but the question that is yet to be answered is, are they going to return the lost souls of the innocent ones whose crime was that they come from or reside in the North East? Are they going to return the souls of the students slain in their schools, whose crime was that they answered the clarion call of a nation for a “total person”? Are they going to return the livelihoods of the millions who had become refuges in their country?

Honestly speaking, Nigeria needs a complete purge with iron hand that can only be deployed by President Muhammadu Buhari, but it is a pity, the so called advocates of “rule of Law” who are sharing from the shared loots cannot understand that what comes around goes around. Anyway, the looters are returning their loots, and that presents some semblance of hope. But?

Butika is an intercontinental journalist

Bayelsa Salary Issue: Where Is Ben Murray-Bruce?

By Goke Butika

“If we are in poverty, we can lie our way through, but we should elect not to embark on hypocrisy and conspiracy because of the consequence of death,”—-Ifa panegyrics.
President Muhammadu Buhari while explaining the parlous state of economy in Nigeria pointed to the fact that 27 states of out 36 have difficulty in paying workers’ salaries, ascribing the challenge to the crash of crude oil price and zero productivity, and it was widely reported in all dailies and electronic media.
Last week, an interesting headline seized front pages, that workers in oil rich Bayelsa state with eight Local Government council Areas were resorting to begging for survival as a result of delay in salaries close to six months. Whereas, Oyo state, one of the biggest states in the country has entered into a deal of placing all his allocations from the federation account for salaries alone in order to halt an imminent strike.
In a related development, while the nation’s currency was taking plunge for US dollar, the President and his team became sleepless on the drama of death at the forex market, but Buhari appeared clever in this game of baiting as he extends the country’s net of international engagement to the East, particularly China, the second economic super power of the world as against the pressure from the West on him to reduce the value of naira.
However, what appears to be troubling “Ajebamidele” is different from his son. While Ajebamidele was thinking of making more money for the family, the son wanted more food. While the President was losing sleep to fix the country in response to the cry of the millions, the representatives of the same people at the National Assembly were busy padding national budget with secret projects that would get them more money to make statement of “new arrival” on the political permutation of their states; don’t ask me about the intention of top national assembly members who want to become governors in 2018/19 in their states.  At the same time, the Senate under the leadership of the embattled Senator Bukola Saraki was struggling to alter two bills: Code of Conduct Bureau/Tribunal (CCB/T) and Administration of Criminal Justice.
To the best of my knowledge, the first bill must be altered to help the Senate President who has run from frying pan to furnace with a view to evading  justice on his alleged criminal past at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, while the second bill must be quickly passed to return the snaily speed of justice which could make Saraki’s case last eternity. And I found my justification in the words of Ekiti Senator-Ekiti again! Biodun Olujinmi, the impeached deputy governor to Ayo Fayose-Fayose again! She said: “If you don’t help your neighbour when his house is burning, you will not get help when the fire reaches your house.” In one piece,  the Senate of the Federal Republic has become “stock exchange market for corruption.”
Yes, some critics have their misgivings about the China deal, but yours sincerely thumb up for it, because it makes sense to say that an import dependent nation like Nigeria must get its Maths right. We import over 80 percent of wares from China, but used US dollar to denominate the transactions, making the naira to be chasing the dollar that would later be changed to yuan, Chinese currency. In the exchange, naira gets weaker, dollar gets stronger. Now, with the new deal, Nigerian importer would exchange naira for Chinese yuan at rate of N30 for a yuan, the import would be done with ease; machinery for local industries would be procured at cheaper rate; while dollar would have rest from hot chase, and possibly relax and reflex on its hike, and the economy would be on its legs again. If I am wrong, let the economists fault my argument and come up with convincing one.
Let it be known that the narratives I have read about the other side of arguments against the China deal seem to be planted by the looters who had stocked looted dollars in their soak aways with a view to be selling it at higher rate for the benefit of their families alone. But the analyses above were not even the hit of this piece, the meat is to draw out the “common sense” Senator Ben Bruce who once mocked State of Osun on national media that he would be donating his wardrobe allowance to its workers in sympathy to their agitation on delayed salaries, that Bayelsa, his home state where he represents could not pay for ten months now at the Local Governments and six months at the state level, and common sense suggests that Bruce begins to release his jumbo salary to the workers there.
Today, Rauf Aregbesola, Governor of Osun who was their boot of jokes some months back while he declared that the nation’s economic downturn has hit his state badly has found his template for fixing his remaining  projects, paying though not regularly, the reworked salaries known as “afusa” pejoratively means half salaries for some categories of workers, and enjoying his peace with work force in the state, while watching states with bigger allocations with “nosa” pejoratively means no salary with justifiable concern.
The long and short of my story is that Nigerians should know that we are in a dire strait, the country is in need of collective will and unalloyed support, and certainly the support for a better Nigeria would not come from the National Assembly, because the guys there want to be rich quick at the expense of the vulnerable citizens. So, it is high time we rose to support Nigeria project under President Buhari.
Butika is a journalist of intercontinental exposure

The Unending Struggle Of The Elite And Poor By Goke Butika

“The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.”—Abraham Lincoln.

News from different templates and platforms are not too cheering, though we have some headlines which constituted distractions to our experience lately. It is now commonplace for the people who ought to play decency to resort to methodical beggings; workers who ought to be shoulder high are now walking with their tails wrapped in their laps; government officials who are fond of flaunting peacock arrogance are now gentle as jelly, and our governors are now talkative because they have to appeal to matter and spirit to convince us that they are not the cause of our collective sufferings.

To those who could not reason beyond religion, our contradictions (poverty, failed education sector, fuel shortage, insecurity, man inhumanity to man and political imbroglio) were caused by the spirit or celestial realm to teach us about the mightiness of the Supreme force. While those who have strive to divorce God or Satan from human affairs believe that successive governments had mismanaged our resources all along, and the attendant results is what we are experiencing in the country now.

I am tempted to support the latter position on the mismanagement of our country, because it appears logical and straight in discussion, but a situation like this demands a deep thought process called a priori approach if we care to abandon the confusion of illusion and delusion the two positions have presented.

In the first place, what are the indicators to identify from the metaphysical position of the spirit as the cause of our nation which is still flinging on the cliffhanger whose hooks have loosened and struggling to give way? To the determinist, everything we are passing through now had been conditioned in the highest form, and that we are helpless. However, a thinker would ask, why the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ethiopia and Ghana are working and Nigeria with all resources is perambulating on the edge of recession? Can we say, God is kind to those countries and wicked to Nigeria? If no, why the difference in thinking and institutions? It goes on like that.

Yes, it is belabouring the obvious that Nigeria has been unlucky with leaders, because those who were elected in the immediate past and far past turned out to be opportunists, we know because they messed up the opportunities given to them to better the lots of the country people, and I elect to be silent on the incumbent leaders because they are still on the job, and it will be unfair to pass judgment on the people with four year mandate to be critiqued in nine months. Hence, the second position of cause of our trouble seems inviting, but I need more than that.

From my volitional concept, I think I place the cause on the struggle of the elite and the poor, compelling me to retool the dialectics of this situation. The poor are in millions, they have the population, and electorally, they have the power to change their leaders and situation, while our elite holds the power  of superstructure, where slogan and manifestoes of the parties are designed, where resources are deployed for political struggle and where the good or bad leadership is authored.

A look at the dialectics will show us that the elite must rely on the poor to achieve their set objectives, but quite interesting, the poor of this nation have never negotiated for their well being using their power, because the elite class has a way of using the common denominator (money) to wrestle the power from them. And it is simple-the elite class will just warehouse the money that belongs to everyone, allow the poor to suffer hell, and when the election is approaching, they release the crispy naira of smaller proportion to the leaders of the poor, and the poor will begin to divide into pro and anti elite; there would be no debate on good governance again, but on “good man” with inexhaustible wallet.

The followers of the poor class would begin to pick perception about the big spender, and bombard his place with the shout of “hosanna”, they would throw caution to the wind and ready to fight for the man who has a second address abroad. Meanwhile, as the poor are fighting outside, the elite class are counting the cost of their investment and designing ways of recouping their money. So, the interest is no longer collective, and the diagnosis of the suffering of the masses does not matter anymore.

Give it to the “boy scout” of Ekiti, Governor Ayo Fayose,  he finds himself among the elite class, but his mind is on the street, hence, his incongruences become volatile and confusing. It is strange because his character is neither  fully elitist nor “poorish”, and the only way to manifest the confusion is “stomach infrastructure” he personified. Look, the man recognizes the poor of the poor, but desires elite class, and that is the struggle of two opposites.

Meanwhile, the national leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Tinubu seems to be angry with the arrogance of Petroleum Minister of State, Ibe Kwachikwu who just told us to lose hope on fuel queue at our filling stations, because “he is not a magician” and he hits him hard on why he failed to massage the empty ego of the poor masses-that is negation of the negation in the dialectics of the struggle.

What is the way out? The only credible way is for the poor to truly identify a face that would speak for them and the person must have conquered his greed, because the elite will certainly offer a price, irresistible price in terms of money, position of authority and women. Though very difficult to get such a character. Can I be that person? Ha! I have tasted the two sides already-poverty and comfort and I am no longer neutral, because I have chosen side of comfort like any mortal. Can you be that person? I doubt it, but somebody from the blue could match the quality if the poor get it right. Until then, the difference between six and half of a dozen is difficult to find.

Certainly, Tinubu does not fit the frame, because he is a leading light of the elite class. More so, he is 64 years now, on passage of mortality. The first step is for the poor masses to put up a thinking cap and dissect the antics of the elite before taking position, unfortunately, the poor does not have a congregation like association or church, but everywhere.

(This article is dedicated to Bola Tinubu’s 64th birthday.)

Goke Butika, is a journalist of continental exposure.