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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

BEING THE SPEECH BY THE HONOURABLE SPEAKER AS THE OSHA HONORED OGBENI AREGBESOLA WITH LIFE HONOURABLE MEMBER OF OSUN STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY




Hon. Colleagues!

May I remind us that one of our leaders in this state, the first civilian governor who had once laid bills and assented to bills to become laws of this august Assembly, and a Distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke is not here, and he would no longer attend our functions as a loyal party man, because he ultimately answered the celestial call of the Giver of life. We are still missing him, because were he to be alive today, I am confident he would have been here. Please rise with me in honour our great departed leader. …(may the Lord rest him and comfort his family in this hour of grief)

Three goals are set to be achieved today, 23rd of May 2017: one-an annual lecture that promises to be educative, interactive and enlightening would be activated today. This is in accordance with the
new demand that the parliament as the shine of democracy must lead in setting standard for public discourse with a view to bringing germane issues to the front burner, so as to stimulate the interest of our people on how they are being governed; to appreciate challenges facing governance and economy in our dear state; to discuss state of nation, because we all belong to this country, and to interface with the people in different endeavors.

Today, a firebrand parliamentarian with loaded experience; once a Minority leader in the House of representatives who then and now appears to be the conscience of the national Assembly, a politician who is grounded in law and legislative matters, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila is on ground to deliver a paper on the take-off title:
SUITABILITY OF PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM IN A MULTI-ETHNIC DEMOCRACY.

I am confident that the exposure of the Guest Speaker, his position in the nation’s parliament and his erudition and delivery would stimulate our interest, and be assured that justice would be done to the subject of discourse. Two, Governor Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola would be inducted as life member of this parliament. The implications are that he would shed the toga of stranger in this Assembly, and he would be accorded with the honor of Honourable member, and so shall be addressed as Hon. Rauf Aregbesola henceforth. Besides, SEAT 27 which designates a member with entire state as his constituency would be dedicated to him, and he would be presented with rules of the parliament.
Now the question: that SEAT 27 be dedicated to mean the entire state as a constituency attached to the honorary seat say haye! Against nay?...

That Hon. Aregbesola be admitted into our fold as honorary member,State of Osun House of Assembly say haye! Against nay…


That the honorary seat be allocated to Hon.Aregbesola, the governor, State of Osun say haye! Against nay?...

For the academic exercise, I shall interrogate issues with the naysayers, and explain the justifications for honorary life membership of the governor shortly.

The third task is the commissioning of some projects which have redefined this parliament-today, our e-library, ultra-modern canteen, and administration block would be put to use after the cutting of the tapes. It is my pleasure to say that Osun Assembly is not as the same as we met it, and we are glad that the environment in this complex has been upgraded to a tourist site. Thank you Mr. Governor for your friendship. Thank you Hon. Colleagues for your sacrifice.

SHOULD WE HONOUR AREGBESOLA?

Today, Governor Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola would shed the toga of stranger in this hallowed chamber, for we have resolved unanimously that he merits to be addressed as Honourable Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola,and he shall be allocated SEAT 27 which designates a member with entire state as his constituency.Let it be known that I am conscious of what the critics of this feat would think, and I am ready to interrogate issues that are likely to be raised, not because some of them desire to raise intellectual debate or want to trade at the marketplace of ideas, but because they were out to denigrate our government, score cheap political goal and call this parliament names. 

However, for the sake of those who genuinely desire to know the motive behind our action as a parliament,I shall come up with the philosophy behind it.Let us raise the plausible questions that could be raised to mislead
the public by the naysayers: 

1. why would the head of the executive be given honorary chair in the parliament?
 2. Is Osun now practising parliamentary system? 
3. Has the State Assembly been compromised on its fundamental function of watchdog?
 4. Has Aregbesola pocketed the state lawmakers? 
5. Has Osun Assembly turned to “rubber stamp” legislature? 
6. Are the Osun lawmakers on self-serving mission?

A cursory look at the questions would suggest to any person who wants to be neutral in a given political firmament that the misconception of what this concept stands for is the target, but for the purpose of the academic exercise, let me make an attempt to explain the plausibility of our action.

The first poser should take us to where we borrowed this Democratic system we practise today in Nigeria that is United States; could it be a mistake that the Vice President of the US is also the President of the Senate? Why is it that Mike Pence, the Vice President of the USA broke the tie, of recent at the Senate, when the Democrat and the Republican lawmakers squared up? That should tell us something, that the separation of power as espoused by the academics who have written many books on how it should be prosecuted, could not be taken for anarchy.

Yes, there are three arms of government, and legislature is regarded as the shrine of democracy, the most important arm, but how would it be; if propitiation is prepared and to be carried by the priest, but the same priest is exorcised from the shrine? Would it make the Priest happy to prosecute the ritual in such a way that its efficacy would be exuded? If the answer is yes, then what we are doing here is a mismatch, but if rationality is put to use and we agree that, the answer is no; then what we are doing today is long overdue. Let me be more ordinary in my postulation-most of the bills that became laws came from the executive, and they became laws through the assent of the governor, even private bills would not become law until the governor or President endorses it. That shows, Mr. Governor is the Chief Priest who often times prepares executive propitiation in forms of budget, executive and private member bills, and he is duty bound to execute the laws, but he is not in the know of how the policy trust of the law is discussed, would he be enthused to service the same law?

The answer is no, and the only way to break the ground of executive/legislature misunderstanding is by engendering mutual trust, and making the governor a honorary member of the parliament would not only give him the sense of belonging, but remind him that he must not desecrate his seat at the parliament.
Today, we are reinforcing the beams and pillars of the bridge we have built between the executive and the legislature who are directly elected by their people through this concept today, and we hope that this gesture would be extended to the successive governors in the future. We expect the governor to reciprocate by rededicating himself
to the provision of common good.

Let it be known that as long as the gavel is still in my hand, and I still preside over this assembly, our core value and fundamental principles would not be compromised, for the core functions like oversight functions, making laws in the interest of the people, and interrogating issues with the people manning ministries, Departments and agencies would not be vitiated as they were not in the last six years of my speakership. So, for those who fear that the induction of Hon. Aregbesola would compromise us as a legislature, I allay your fear and assure you that his honorary membership is of great value addition.
It gets to my notice as well as the hearing of my colleagues that this assembly is pejoratively tagged as a “rubber stamp” one, for the executive will always have its way. But I could still not find justifiable reason for the insinuation; let it be known that the legislative drilling of the people who were saddled with responsibilities in the executive is what gave birth to over 300 kilometres of roads and few bridges in some areas and localities that never dreamt of good road, even when the work got stuck at some point, we swung into action. Let it be known that it is convenient for us to get the kick-backs from different contractors, and behave as if it is not our business, and people may not even shift the blame on us squarely, but we chose to stand on the side of the people.

 So, let it be known to those who think Aregbesola has pocketed this assembly that Aregbesola is rather friendly to this assembly and ready to bow to superior argument anytime we interrogate issue with him and that is the secret of our jolly journey. Besides, unlike what obtains in some cases elsewhere, these distinguished lawmakers of this parliament have made a huge sacrifice since we came on board, by conquering our innate greed, a situation that made us to kowtow to a superior argument that legislature could not continue to act like executive in term of project execution without compromising our core principles; we let go of constituency funds which, of course could have guaranteed some left-overs to service people in need. Today, we have seen result of the bigger picture and we are all glad for it, but it takes toll on our personal earnings. We are not complaining, we are explaining.

The question on the lips of the people who genuinely want to know the justification for inducting Mr. governor as a honorary member of this parliament would be answered on tripod stand of natural law, moral ground and record of performance: the natural law is that if a person is found to have violated central norms of the society whether such an individual is a leader or a follower, such a person deserves to be reprimanded, just the way a hero would be celebrated. Hon. Colleagues!

Now, the question: If you agree with me that Hon. Aregbesola has done very exceptionally well on his mandate-say haye, against say nay?...exceptional performance must attract reward if we intend to encourage people to do it, and so the induction of Hon. Aregbesola today is well deserved.

Besides, the governor has worked well with this parliament under my watch; he shows maturity when it is very crucial; he has a record of working within the ambit of law, and has by his conduct and action projected this assembly as very significant. Furthermore, members of the executive under him have been very cooperative with our standing committees and respect our wishes. On this ground, we as lawmakers are morally bound to appreciate the governor, and the maximum honour we could give to any man is to honour such an individual with life membership.

Of course, the naysayers are struggling to pick holes in the record of performance of Hon. Aregbesola, but no one till date, has been able to
proffer alternative route to his style of governance. It is easier to be an armed chair critic, but I am confident to say it is herculean to be at the driver seat of the state.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. GOVERNOR

The gift of life is worth thanking the owner of life for. There are things which define the milestone of Gov. Aregbesola: he was an activist of the left leaning, as a grown-up man, as well as student;he is a communist by choice, he understudied and read Comrade Ola Oni like a book and he staked his life during the struggle to free our people from the stronghold of the military rule; for his belief is premised on the fact that military is not an institution trained to govern. Today, he emerges as one of the most successful politician in Nigeria.

To expatiate, I shall begin to navigate my attribute to this great man of honor with the words on the marble quoted from his prized mentor, Ola Oni who says, “Suffering and success are organically linked. If you suffer without success, someone will reap it, and if you succeed without suffering, somebody has suffered for you, but it is almost given that when you suffer, you will succeed”. If this epithet is part of the guiding light of Gov. Aregbesola, then I should be bold to say that he walks the talk.

I have read about the struggle of Gov. Aregbesola, and some books have been written about his sojourn in life, and I shall not belabour this august assembly with the stories again, but I witnessed some events in his life, which are worth reiterating: that Aregbesola contested as a very popular candidate in 2007 in a race targeted to be a sprint, but later turned marathon is truth, and an interesting thing there is that he celebrated his 50th birthday during the struggle. That is not even the story, the narrative there was his profile of courage. He was confident of winning while the struggle to regain his mandate lasted.

What is instructive about this Ijesha-born leader of men and manager of resources is the way and manner he handled the euphoria of victory.He chose as well as warned against denigrating the person of his predecessor, to whom he fought a bitter struggle. He quickly forgave those who had an axe to grind with him, and integrated those who were willing to work with him. Even, when some of our people were being overzealous, Gov. Aregbesola reined them in and even related the story of why Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, his Predecessor should not be disrespected.

Hon. Aregbesola, as a sexagenarian is now in the class of AGBA SHANKO, a reasonable elder with record of achievement in Yoruba social construct has moved into the next level through his age with grace, and we at this assembly celebrate you, because you made it through your deliberate effort to be on the positive side of the posterity.
He pulled the big string when he rallied all the former governors together before the last governorship election. He defeated the army of occupation instigated by the ousted hostile federal powers.

At 60, we could be judgmental to say that Aregbesola is a fulfilled man, and a victor of political struggle, an actualizer of ambitious projects of dream; he is a symbol of courage, mobilizer of men, galvanizer of resources, a loyal party man, and dependable ally in the fold of progressives. Yes, Aregbesola has his shortcomings as human, all human beings have; he has his areas of imperfections, but if the scale of human knowledge is to be used, I would say his life is a book that must be read by the men and women of tomorrow.

I thank for listening.

Rt. Hon. Najeem Folasayo Salaam







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