By Lekan Olawoyin:::
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable SulaimonLasun Yussuff, is a man on a mission. That mission, for those who know him, he has set out to achieve through various platforms and opportunities available to him. It is a mission for the betterment of Nigeria and its teeming people. A mission to restore the country’s glorious heritage in every sphere, particularly in ensuring placing the legislature at the centre of the move for the change and transformation of the country, which are the cardinal programmes of President Muhammadu Buhari and the House under Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara.
For Yussuf, achieving excellence through the legislature has always been the focus, as he strove hard to not only ensure the success of the 8th National Assembly but also the progress of the country and indeed, the legislature in Africa. Therefore, it didn’t come as a surprise to those close to the lawmaker when recently he emerged as the First Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament. The 5th of February will remain memorable to followers of the Osun State-born politician.
The emergence of Honourable Yussuf as the Deputy Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament is not only providential but a wise and highly welcomed development that will be of good to West African countries. His colleagues in the parliament must have seen ahead, as the other candidates unanimously elected him. Given the wealth of knowledge and experience garnered over the years as a revered legislator, there is no doubt that Yussuf will, indeed, harness his experiences to sustain stability in the ECOWAS sub-region and also deepen democracy through the legislative institution.
Hon. Yussuf will, by this election, serve in the Fourth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament for the next four years alongside Hon. Aminata Kamara Toungara of Côte d’Ivoire, who was elected 2nd Deputy Speaker. Jefferson Kanmoh of Liberia and Hon. Orlando Pereira Dias of Côte d’Ivoire were made 3rd and 4th Deputy Speakers respectively.
Speaking after his inauguration, Yussuf had clearly set out his agenda for progress and excellence, noting that the new ECOWAS Parliament will focus on the enthronement of powers of the parliament to ensure that proper oversight functions are carried out in the institution for meaningful achievements to be recorded in the West African sub-region in the next four years. The ECOWAS Parliamentarian also expressed his passion about expanding economic exports of Nigeria in the sub-region. According to him, “I aim to ensure that Nigeria’s benefit from the ECOWAS directly impacts Nigerian citizens and reduces poverty. We must make sure to provide a market for whatever is produced in Nigeria among West African sub-region so as to expand our frontiers. This ECOWAS Parliament is the specific place to advance such ideas. It is a step to ensuring that Nigeria spreads across the West African coast.”
Without doubt, Yussuf has a clear-cut agenda for the growth of Nigeria’s and West Africa’s economies through the expansion of trans-border trading between Nigeria and other West African countries, because if the agenda is vigorously pursued, it is capable of bringing about economic buoyance in the sub-region. With this agenda, Yussuf will come across to observers of political developments in his home state, Osun and Nigeria as a 21st century leader blessed with insight and passion to better the lot of his people. Of course, for the people of Osogbo/Olorunda/ Ifelodun/Orolu Federal Constituency of Osun State, this cannot be strange, as Lasun Yussuf has continued to empower many of them and bringing positive development in various sectors. And in order to benefit more from the Deputy Speaker, his people must have recognised the need to continue to give their support and co-operation to a man who has proved to be a worthy leader for his people.
It must be to the pride of his constituents that while still demonstrating exemplary leadership in the National Assembly, Yussuf has stepped up and added more feathers to his cap by becoming the Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament. His people must have seen him for who he is; a son to be proud of and a leader to support in future elections in Osun State.
Apart from his constituents, the Deputy Speaker will also need the support of his colleagues in the National Assembly in the next four years.
As Yussuf begins the journey as Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, observers have expressed confidence in his capabilities and chances of succeeding, noting that as an erudite and dynamic leader and grass-root politician who not only believes in philanthropy, but also in carrying people along, the Agbaakin of Ilobu will not be found wanting in the new and daunting task committed into his hands. Yussuf had, recently, showed his humanitarian side while marking his 55th birthday last year, by visiting the Internally Displaced Persons’ camp in Abuja, where he donated relief materials to Nigerian citizens, mostly women and children, rendered homeless by the Boko Haram crisis.
• Olawoyin is a political aide to the Deputy Speaker.