Olusola Saraki Dies At 79

Medical practitioner and ex-Sanate Leader, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki passed away in Lagos this morning in Lagos after a brief illness.alt

According to a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulwahaab Oba, the Governor said the political icon died this morning at his residence in Lagos and will be buried Wednesday in Ilorin according Islamic rites.

The governor urged community, religious and political leaders to troop out en masse to receive the remains of this illustrious son and Nigeria's political icon later today at the Ilorin International Airport.

Abubakar Olusola Saraki (17 May 1933 - 14 November 2012) is a Nigerian politician and tribal nobleman who was a Senator of the Nigerian Second Republic (1979-1983). He served as the Waziri of the Ilorin Emirate.

His mother was from Iseyin in Oyo State and his father was from Ilorin. His paternal ancestors were Fulanis who came from Mali about 150 to 200 years earlier.He was educated at Eko Boys High School. He attended the University of London, and St George’s Hospital Medical School, London. He worked as a medical officer at the General Hospital, Lagos and the Creek Hospital, Lagos.[1]

He first entered politics when he ran in the 1964 parliamentary election for Ilorin as an independent, but failed to win.[3] After the election, he returned to his medical practice in Lagos, only returning to party-politics in 1978/79.

In 1977, Olusola Saraki was elected as a member of the Constituent Assembly that produced the 1979 constitution. In 1979 he was elected a Senator of the Second Republic, and became Senate Leader. In 1983 Saraki was re-elected into the Senate on the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) platform.

In 1998, Olusola Saraki became a National Leader and member of the Board of Trustees of the All People's Party (APP), contributing to the APP success in Kwara and Kogi States. He assisted Mohammed Alabi Lawal in becoming Governor of Kwara State.[1] In 2001 he was head of a team from the Arewa Consultative Forum, a Northern cultural and political group, sent to meet and discuss common goals with Northern state governors and other leaders.[4] Later Saraki switched allegiance to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and in the 2003 elections supported his son Bukola Saraki as candidate for governor of Kwara state in April 2003, and his daughter Gbemisola R. Saraki as senator for Kwara State Central in April 2003.

In March 2003, the Societe Generale Bank (SGBN) of which Saraki was chairman was investigated by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for alleged money laundering. Later, SGBN was investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under Nuhu Ribadu, and its license was temporarily suspended.

STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE

LATE SARAKI WILL BE REMEMBERED AS A POLITICAL COLOSSUS – PRESIDENT JONATHAN

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan joins all Nigerians in mourning one of Nigeria’s most prominent political leaders, medical practitioner and democrat, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki who passed away in Lagos this morning.

President Jonathan extends sincere commiserations to the elder statesman’s family and the people of his home state, Kwara to whose service and upliftment he selflessly devoted his long and very successful career in politics.

He urges them to be consoled by the knowledge that their departed father, leader and mentor lived a very successful and fulfilled life, rising to national prominence by dint of hard work, uncommon generosity, political sagacity, dedication and wholesome commitment to the service of his people and the entire nation.

President Jonathan believes that the late Dr. Saraki will be long remembered and eulogized as a consummate politician, an astute grassroots mobiliser, and a political colossus with awe-inspiring powers of political organisation.

The President has no doubts that this public-spirited politician will always occupy a place of honour in the hearts of his people, supporters, friends and associates across the nation.

He believes that the ordinary people of Kwara in particular will always remember the “Oloye” with great affection because of the constant support they received from him.

The President further notes that Dr. Saraki’s brand of people-oriented politics and his success in building on his strong support base to contribute positively to Nigeria’s political development as a powerful voice in the nation’s dominant political parties, as the Senate Majority Leader in the Second Republic, and as the ultimate reference point in the politics of Kwara state for decades, have assured him of a place amongst Nigeria’s heroes of democracy.

President Jonathan urges Nigerians to emulate Dr Saraki’s patriotic commitment to national unity, politics without bitterness as well as his magnificent spirit of philanthropy.

He prays that God Almighty will grant his soul eternal rest.

Reuben Abati

Special Adviser to the President

(Media & Publicity)

November 14, 2012