In the words of Reverend Theodore Hesburgh (May 25, 1917 – February 26, 2015), an American Roman Catholic priest and educator, “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.
The Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, no matter how some may see him as a person, can best be described as a leader with the capacity to translate vision into reality.
A true leader that he is, Obasa has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others.
It is therefore not surprising that his name resonates at the forefront of innovative and progressive ideas that the state assembly is reputed for.
At the wheel at Lagos Assembly, Obasa has not disappointed his admirers and detractors. He has consistently shown leadership at the forefront, assessing situations, evaluating options, and encouraging colleagues to work together for the betterment of the state and the residents.
As the number three citizen in the Center of Excellence, he has been proactive, working on problem-solving ideas, responding effectively to complex, open-ended opportunities, and challenges as they come.
It is of relevance to note that the Assembly on December 8, 2020 passed into law a bill to establish the Lagos State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission and for connected purposes.
The bill was passed into law after the third reading by the House and a consequent voice vote. Obasa directed the Clerk, Olalekan Onafeko, to forward a clean copy of the bill to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his assent.
Earlier, a bill for a law to regulate real estate transactions in the state and for other connected purposes, scaled through second reading, as the Speaker committed it to the House Committee on Housing to report back to the House.
The bill seeks to redress the anomalies of real estate and consultancy services, among other issues that ought to be looked into in the real estate business.
According to Obasa, “I have no doubt that the bill was a very good one. It stands to cure the challenges faced by our people in Lagos. It also gives an opportunity to attract foreign investors and having proper regulation makes it attractive, and safe for business.
“This bill is hereby committed to the committee on housing to report back in two weeks”.
When the first case of the COVID-19 pandemic was recorded in the state on February 27, 2020, the House under the leadership of Obasa immediately met with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in addressing the outbreak.
The House afterwards approved the sum of N20 billion COVID-19 Intervention Fund aimed at containing and managing the spread of the virus in the State as well as mitigate its effect on Lagosians.
The economic headwind generated by the COVID-19 pandemic also necessitated the approval of the House for the reordering of the Y2020 budget to provide necessary support for business owners, the vulnerable members of the society and improvement in healthcare facilities.
In November 5, 2015, Obasa led Lagos House of Assembly started a new kind of Town Hall Meeting. Tagged Stakeholders Meeting, it is held annually and simultaneously in all the 40 state constituencies of the state. It was designed as a form of annual interactive meeting between the lawmakers and their constituents.
The town hall meetings gave the lawmakers opportunities to listen to the challenges of their constituents and make same available to the executive arm of government as areas of focus.
The meetings equally provided the people a platform to share their opinions about governance in their various communities.
The significance of this laudable initiative was that members were able to educate their constituents about their activities in the House in relation to the general improvement of the welfare of their people.
The laudable initiative also provide opportunities for the constituents to submit interact with their representatives, inform them of their needs and access their performance in the House.
The reports generated from these annual meeting are collated for onward presentation to the executive for implementation. Thus, reports of these meetings have serve as major components of the state annual budgets since 2015.
According to Obasa, the lawmakers were sent to the House by the people and there was need for them to go back to give the people feedback. To him, it is better to do the town hall meeting so that the people would not reject them when it is time for another election.
For Obasa, the courage to lead is borne out of the desire to assess and analyse your actions and this is symbolised in the Stakeholders’ Meeting, which is a check and monitoring device for the lawmakers to assess themselves. The courage to assess oneself might be difficult but it is the right thing for any leader.
Jamiu Yisa is the Personal Assistant to the Speaker on New Media.