#OsunDecides 2022… WHO IS HON. Najeem Folasayo Salaam
Young Najeem Folasayo had a different case of humble beginning, as he lost his mother while he was just two years, and became an orphan at age of ten after the death of his father and he was raised by his aunt, who covered the lost parental flanks for him, until he was able to fend for himself, making him a different orphan with a unique orphanage.
Born on 8th August 1965, Najeem Folasayo Salaam by Mr. and Mrs Salaam in an ancient town of Ejigbo, located in the then old Oyo state, now State of Osun as a result of creation of Osun, from Oyo state in 1991. Salaam, while growing up had an ambition to engage in business and politics with a view to creating legitimate wealth that would be used to contest for power that would equally be deployed to the service of the people.
As a young man with a promising future, whose watchwords were the thought of Fredric Amiel as related above, Salaam enrolled in Ansar- U-Deen Primary school, Ejigbo,and he had a smooth ride to post elementary education at Baptist High School, Ola situated in Ejigbo Local Government, before he proceeded to Baptist High school, Ejigbo again where he got his O’ level certificate.
While his peers were venturing into trading, farming and other businesses immediately after high school then, Folasayo chose to listen to the voice of wisdom which sounded in the control room of his mind that: “one of the decisions that must be taken in life is to choose to walk away or try harder”; that might have compelled Salaam to decide on the pursuit of university education. Pursuing his ambition on politics, Salaam who had developed interest in politics as a result of pragmatic leadership provided by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo in Western region, and the visionary leadership provided by the Cicero of Esa Oke, Chief Bola Ige in the old Oyo State then nurtured desire to study political science at the prestigious ivory tower, Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU) and in order to achieve his aim on a broader spectrum. Salaam then proceeded to the then Oyo State College of Art and Science for his ‘A’ level before he was later given an admission to study political science at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife later as planned.
Salaam was not a student who would pass through school, without allowing school to pass through him, as he began to translate the theoretical aspect of his discipline into reality by engaging in the politics of his departmental student union, the Association of Political Science Students. Though, he was acknowledged by his colleagues as a silent political Strategist.
Being a level headed and accommodating person, his colleagues in school loved and respected him, and when the constitution review of the National Association of Political Science Students, OAU chapter was to take place in the early 90s, Salaam was among the candidates selected for the task.
Salaam also involved himself actively in the activities of Ejigbo Local Government Area Students Association (ELGASA), OAU chapter, where he rose to become the president of the association. Despite his involvement in different extra curricular activities, Salaam still graduated with second Second Class known as (2-1) a feat for a student with coat of different colors. He later got his second degree in Political Science and he is still working on his doctoral degree respectively at OAU, Ile Ife.
Burning with flaming desire to serve humanity through politics, Salaam did not chase any government job around as self made promise, he elected to do business after school with a view to venturing into politics later. As a businessman and politician, he is generous and he increases the tempo of his generosity while he serves in different political offices.
He was appointed as Supervisory councillor for Health in Ejigbo Local Government between 1999 and 2002. Learning politics from the core of grassroots politics, Salaam began as a follower of some progressive leaders in his hometown, that gave him an ample opportunity to relate directly with his people, his warm disposition to people scores him high as a grassroots politician on the political turf of his locality, and when he threw his hat on the ring in 2003 for the race of chairmanship of Ejigbo Local Government on the banner of Alliance for Democracy (AD), he was well received by the electorate and made an impressive outing
Besides, when the AD metamorphosed into Action Congress (AC) in 2007, Salaam returned to the political ring, and contested for the seat of Ejigbo state constituency in the Osun State House of Assembly and won convincingly, but became a victim of dirty politicking in 2009, as he lost his seat at the Court of Appeal to a suit instituted by a candidate of one of the less pronounced party which proved that its logo was excluded from the ballot paper.
Recognizing the huge following he enjoys from his supporters and sympathizers, and the value of his political weight among his people, he was wooed by the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party ((PDP) led government which desired to count Ejigbo
Ede Rally 2014 (3)
among its conquered territories in the state with the chairmanship of House of Assembly Service Commission, but to their surprise, Salaam, who was not rich in material sense, but richer in contentment, rejected it and chose to fight another day like a wise hunter; the principle stance that won him the confidence of the leadership of his party.
While Salaam was preparing for another shot at the parliament of Osun, another altruistic tone he could not immediately decipher rang that: “you will meet two kind of people in your life: those who build you up, and those who tear you down, but at the end of the day, you will thank them both”. Salaam won his election to the state legislature again 2011, and with the support of colleagues he emerged as the Speaker of the parliament.
In recognition of his of his level-mindedness, Rt. Hon. Salaam was elected by the 36 Speakers of States Houses of Assembly in Nigeria under the auspice of Conference of Speakers of States Legislature in Nigeria as the Chairman, Caretaker Committee in 2011, with a mandate to midwife a free, fair and credible election that would usher in new executive members of the conference, first of its kind in the history of the conference. He provided leadership to that club of equals, and delivered transparent election in 2012, which has indeed become history.
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