His historic election as Chairman of the National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum (NASLAF) in November 2020 was an electoral tour de force of gargantuan proportions as he buried his slew of opponents in a cascading landslide that sent many of them scurrying for cover and safety not sure of their pending fate in Comrade Salisu Zuru’s brave new world of transparent, accountable, courageous, principled and dynamic leadership.
Indeed Comrade Salisu Zuru’s emergence as the vibrant, brand new NASLAF supremo was not out of sheer luck but borne out of the trust, confidence and unalloyed loyalty that an overwhelming majority of NASLAFites reposed in his personal integrity and considerable wealth of experience sorely needed to take them to the next level in the crucial scheme of things.
Having served in the National Assembly for a precedent-shattering 13 years as Senior and Principal Legislative Aide to several Senators and House Members before his election, Comrade Salisu Zuru had cultivated a deserved reputation for unstinting hard work, technical competence, outstanding performance and unvarnished professionalism in all its positive ramifications.
Thus on ascending the Forum’s chairmanship, an agile minded Comrade Salisu Zuru wasted little time in getting his act together and rallying the NASLAF members behind his progressive agenda of credible, responsive and efficient service delivery to the federal legislators as well as improved working conditions and enhanced pay and emoluments for all legislative aides.
Without much ado, Comrade Salisu Zuru swiftly engaged the National Assembly Service Commission, the NASS management and even the NASS leadership armed with a list of demands including the restoration of the unfairly terminated Duty Tour Allowance (DTA), training and retraining of aides, the adequate provision of computers,laptops and other office accessories aimed at boosting the morale and productivity of the over 5,000 member- strong NASSLAF members.
Indeed his legendary courage,tenacity, strength of character and force of conviction has shone through in the numerous negotiations,meetings and jaw-jaw sessions with top NASS officials and leaders, thus he has been able to push through many of the demands of his teeming members while others are a work in progress.
As they say Rome was not built in a day but it is instructive to note that the inclusive- minded Salisu Zuru has managed to carry all and sundry along in the NASLAF Project as he is refreshingly open and accomodating to all persons, opinions,ideas and perspectives irrespective of ethnic, religious, sectional or linguistic affiliations as far as they are geared towards moving the Forum, the National Assembly and the nation forward in the crucial scheme of things.
Comrade Salisu Zuru’s stalwart advocacy for a better deal for the long embattled legislative aides comes as little surprise given the principled and rock solid position he took during the tumultuous days of the Sani Omolori era when he led other colleagues to resolutely demand the payment of their severance benefits and other statutory allowances even after dire warning from the then ‘powers that be’ that they desist from their lawful agitation or face the full wrath of the NASS management.
While other legislative aides beat a hasty retreat or even went underground for fear of the big hammer, Comrade Salisu Zuru stood firm and unbending in seeking a fair deal for NASLAF members despite unprecedented intimidation, harassment and even physical threats from assorted security formations.
Eventually, an unbowed Comrade Salisu Zuru had the last laugh on behalf of NASLAF as the last minute intervention of the Senate President and the Rt. Hon. Speaker saved the day for the legislative aides’ deserved emoluments and severance benefits.
Thus with a resolute and unwavering Comrade Salisu Zuru standing firmly on the ramparts and batting for the average NASLAF member, there is little doubt that better days are indeed here again for the National Assembly legislative aides, their families, relatives and dependants at large. To God be the glory
BY Austin Asadu of the Legislative writes from Abuja