MUSBAU RASAK writes on the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, whose birthday is November 11.
On his election as the Speaker of the 8th Lagos State House of Assembly in 8 June 2015, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, assured Lagosians then, that he will preside over a Legislative House they will be proud of.
Rt. Hon. Obasa assured that under his Speakership, the Lagos State House of Assembly will always rise far and above the “common standard of excellence.”
As he celebrates his birthday on 11 November, it is pertinent to note that more than three years after his election as the head of the Legislative Arm of government in the state, his achievements in that period stand him out as the leading state lawmaker in Nigeria.
That Rt. Hon. Obasa is committed to legislative excellence is an open secret. It is well known that the Lagos House of Assembly Speaker is a leading light in the struggle for the emancipation of the Legislative Arm of Government and giving the Parliament Institution its rightful place in governance in the country.
“The Parliament is the bastion of democracy and for me it’s the most important arm of government, without the Parliament, there won’t be anything called Democracy hence it’s our collective duty to ensure the protection of the Parliament so that the interest of the people is protected,” Rt. Hon. Obasa had submitted in many of his interactions with people and the media.
More than three years into his tenure, Rt. Hon. Obasa has indeed been making waves as a Legislator par excellence.
As the leading lawmaker in the state, the Lagos Assembly Speaker has led by example in term of legislative duty. To date, he has initiated about six Private Member Bills, the first and only Speaker to have achieved that in Lagos history. It is also pertinent to note that most of his Private Member Bills have had direct positive impacts on the people of the state.
The Neighbourhood Watch Law is an example of such law. Apart from encouraging and promoting community policing in the state which has reduced crimes, the Law has led to the establishment of the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) which has given employment to thousands of Lagos youths.
Another Law worthy of note is the Anti-kidnapping Law which has reduced cases of kidnapping in the state.
Yet another law worthy of mention is the Cancer Institute Law which sought to create an Institute for research, prevention, detection and treatment of various types of cancer in the state.
Perhaps one of the greatest Laws that emanated from the Lagos Assembly under his watch is the Yoruba Language Preservation and Promotion Law. This Law, which was promulgated to preserve, promote Yoruba Language and prevent it from going into extinction, is another Private Member Bill from the Speaker and today it has improved the use of the language by youths especially students. Today, Yoruba Language is a compulsory subject in Lagos schools which has improved the promotion of the language.
As an administrator, Rt. Hon. Obasa has ensured that he kept with and improved on the tradition of constant training of lawmakers and staff of the Lagos State House of Assembly making them arguably the most trained in the country.
He introduced the live streaming of plenary sessions of the House, the first Parliament in Nigeria to do that and second in Africa after South Africa. He introduced and ensured the presence of the House on the Social Media with all its icons very active.
One of his greatest achievements is the introduction of the annual Stakeholders’ Meeting which takes place simultaneously in all the 40 constituencies in the state. This is the barometer for measuring the performance of each lawmaker annually while also giving the constituents the opportunity to lay their grievances and demands before the government. The reports from these stakeholders’ meetings thus, have served as annual major components of the state budget.
His leadership qualities are not in doubt and today, he has steered the affairs of the state Assembly successfully making it the most peaceful Parliament in Nigeria.
As a bridge builder, he is not only a man of peace, he also upholds the philosophy of love sharing among the people. When he successfully engineered the defection of seven Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members of the House to the All Progressives Congress (APC) two years ago, the defecting members were unanimous in why they joined APC: Obasa is a bridge builder who had not only welcome them into the House with open arms but had also given them real sense of belonging in the affairs of the House despite their being members of the opposition party. “His leadership qualities are unique and we love the way he is leading us in the House,” they chorused.
Many still remember the leadership roles he played in bringing peace and tranquility to the fold of APC in Agege and beyond.
It’s noteworthy to submit that his achievements have not gone unnoticed as he has been honoured locally and outside the country for his efforts in promoting the institution of Parliament and ensuring legislative excellence.
In February, Rt. Hon. Obasa was named the Best State Legislator in Nigeria by the Independent Newspapers Limited, publishers of Daily, Saturday and Sunday Independent newspapers.
In July, he was honoured and presented with a Certificate of Recognition by the African Bar Association (ABA) during their conference in Nairobi, Kenya.
In August, he was elected the Chairman of Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria during their conference in Lagos.
Today, Rt. Hon. Obasa ranks as the most experienced lawmaker in Lagos State, having started his career as a lawmaker at the grassroots level when he served as a Councillor representing Ward E in Agege Local Government between 1999 and 2002 before his election into the House of Assembly to represent Agege Constituency 1 since 2003.
Indeed, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa is worth celebrating.
Many happy returns sir.
*Rasak is the Chief Press Secretary to Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa