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Nigerians in History: Abubakar Olusola Saraki

 

Olusola Saraki was born on 17 May 1933 at Kwara State. His mother was from Iseyin in Oyo State and his father was from Mali but studied Islamic Studies (Ile-Kewu) in Ilorin. His paternal ancestors were Fulanis who came from Mali about 150 to 200 years earlier.


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Olusola Saraki 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.

Abubakar Olusola Saraki wasn’t just content with being a medical doctor. He decided to dabble into politics and philanthropism. Both later aspects were possible because He took advantage of the widespread poverty in his native state of Kwara to build his political empire and feather his nest.

Political Career

Olusola Saraki first entered politics when he ran in the 1964 parliamentary election for Ilorin as an independent, but lost after the election, he returned to his medical practice in Lagos, only returning to party politics in 1978/79. It was in this stint that he became a Senator of the Nigerian Second Republic (1979-1983). Precisely, it was in 1977, that 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.

But it wasn’t that easy.

After tasting electoral defeat in 1964, he changed his strategy by being aloof to being a man of the people by regularly doling out food and other items essential for daily survival on a regular basis. People politicians and the masses alike thronged his residence which was like a Mecca of sorts to see the man who had become a government to himself as he met their needs by giving them the bread of life which the government including those he ironically installed denied them.


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For his kind gestures, the people became his loyal serfs as they massively voted for his candidates during elections and made him the undisputed political godfather of the agrarian and civil service state. He went as far as building a house popularly known as ‘Ile Arugbo’ or old people’s home where gifts of foodstuff were shared with those in the twilight of their lives in a country where there is the absence and dearth of a social security scheme and where the corrupt governments have in most cases embezzled their pensions meant for their peaceful old ages.

Subsequent career

Olusola Saraki contested the Presidency under the Social Democratic Party (Nigeria) (SDP) in the third republic and was a member of the Committee for National Consensus (CNC) during the Abacha transition program. 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. 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.

He was a member of the Committee for National Consensus (CNC) during the Abacha transition program. He was the holder of the chieftaincy title of the Waziri of the Ilorin Emirate and belonged to the Agoro compound in Agbaji.

Olusola Sakari died on Wednesday 14 November 2012 in Lagos at the age of 79 after losing a battle with cancer. He was laid to rest in Ilorin.

Sources:

Wikipedia

Guardian NG

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Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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