Oloye’s mission in life was not merely to survive and achieve greatness alone, but to thrive; and to do so with passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. He did his best and made great people before he left a vacuum that has been hard to fill.
His clouds floated into our lives, not to carry rain or usher in storms, but to add color to the sunset skies of those whose lives he touched.
The only way we can identify this great man is by saying he was a man of success who lived well, laughed often and loved much. May he rest in peace!!
Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki – Oloye, the Waziri of Ilorin was born on the 17th of May, 1933 at Ilorin, the Kwara State. Saraki is from Agoras compound, Agbaji quarters of Ilorin, coming from an area that has an Islamic background and receiving his Islamic education at an early age from highly respected Islamic scholar Sheikeh Mohammed Kamaladdeen. EI-Adabiyya who was the founder and spiritual leader of Ansarul- Islam Society of Nigeria, where he receive his early Islamic education of studying the Holy Qur’an and Hadith. Dr. Saraki is a truly fulfilled family man. Married to a great unassuming lady Mrs. Florence Morenike Saraki with four children, Dr. Bukola Saraki a medical Doctor and Governor of Kwara state, Senator Rakiya Gbemisola Saraki Fofora an economist, Mrs. Tope Saraki a lawyer and another lawyer Laolu Saraki. He was educated at Eko Boys High School and obtained his School Certificates with beautiful results.
Having come from a very humble family, Saraki was encouraged to realize his ambition of becoming a Medical Doctor. He attended Chatham College of Technology, England, University of London, Licentiate Royal College of Physicians and St. George’s Hospital Medical School, London and obtained his M.B.B.S. in 1962, LRCP and MRCS. In the same year Dr. Saraki came back to Nigeria as a highly experienced Medical Doctor having practiced for many years.
He served as Medical Officer, General Hospital, Lagos and later Medical Officer, Creek Hospital, Lagos.
However, from the world of Medicine and Surgery, Dr. Saraki began his political career in 1964 when he contested for a parliamentary seat to represent Ilorin central at the “Federal House of representative. Although, he lost in the election, but his pried incursion into politics made a significant impression on people.
His first major political victory came when in 1978 he was elected by Ilorin Local Government council Area of Kwara State in the Constituent Assembly, which later ratified the 1979 Constitution. It was at that conference that Dr. Saraki widened his pout horizon that led to the formation of National party of Nigerian NPN. He was one of the major financiers and indeed one of those who made the party thick. Then came 1979 general election.
He contested for the Senate seat in Kwara Central after he failed to get presidential ticket of the party. The NPN succeeded in a political alliance with the Nigeria people’s party to form a national government with Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Shagari as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Due to zoning policy of the NPN, Dr. Saraki was appointed NPN Senate leader, Senator Alhaji Sabo Bakin Zuwo was appointed from peoples Redemption party (PRP) Senate Leader, Senator Alhaji was elected Great Nigeria Peoples Party GNPP Senate Leader and another Senator was equally elected for Unity Party Senate Leader. Saraki became the first Senate leader which is now the senate president in the National Assembly of the Second Republic until the military take over of 1983.
Dr. Olusola Saraki was overwhelmingly elected a Senator of Federal Republic. His election marked the beginning of his greatness in Nigeria’s politics. Saraki’s place in the Senate of that time was a special one. He enjoyed tremendous good will.
He was a strong force in the direction of the Senate, his contributions to the quality of debate in the Senate at that time were widely acknowledged.
It was not a surprise that within four years of service at the Senate, Saraki had established himself as a towering figure of consequential influence.
Dr. Saraki is very simple, humble and unassuming politician. Saraki struck the hearts of the people with his hospitality and kindness. In 1983 Saraki was re-elected into the Senate. This time his political empire had expanded. He did not only emerge victorious but ensured victory for others under the National Party of Nigeria (NPN).
He had sponsored candidates into the Ilorin Local Government Council. Under the ratified local government reform masterminded by the then Baraden Sokoto and they won handsomely, one of them being the late Alhaji Babatunde Alanmu his friend from childhood. All these categories of Nigerians found him easily accommodating and the enthronement of public good over considerations.
His life style teaches the virtue of hard commitment, that even at 75, he continues to try to keep pace workaholic way.
Dr. Saraki did not stop at his age to attend to his associates for meetings or providing people with shelter day and night.
In 1991, during the third republic he founded the New Democratic Alliance (NDA) which aligned with political associations of similar ethos that fused into the Social Democratic party (SDP) under whose platform he sought for the Presidency before he, along with twenty-two (22) others were denied that opportunity by the General Ibrahim Babangida regime.
He went further and founded the congress for National consensus (CNC) a political party in 1996/97 was unsuccessful due to the inconsistencies by the then late Sani Abacha military junta. Still undeterred on his ambition, he helped floated the all people party (APP) of this present political dispensation. No doubt about it, the party has witnessed some remarkable success despite series of hitches. He contested for the presidential primaries under the platform of All Peoples Party (APP) before they change to All Nigerians Peoples Party (ANPP).
But before then, as a leader, he did not resign from the APP but stayed away from all its activities and fairness to him, when the party leadership chose to expel him, its state chairmen fought back at the convention. But surprisingly, his state governor who was Dr. Sarakis coordinator could be seen openly and begging the people to vote against Saraki.
When all signs showed that Saraki was about to leave the party and join PDP, some PDP members were paid by the ANPP to reject him. At one point, a top PDP member was heard saying if Saraki joins the party he will take it over. And to this the then Minister of state for Health Dr. Ndalolo hit back, “We need Saraki even if he will take over the party, she queried,”
Oloye as lots of people called him is also well known as Baba grassroots, Baba Governor, Baba Senator and Baba Commitment. All these names are due to his hard work, mentoring and commitment to his people. Dr. Olusola is well known as The Father of politics in Kwara and Kogi States throughout the second, third and fourth republics. He established political machinery that is absolutely relevant, tested and unbeatable in Nigeria.
However, The Waziri is a title giving to the most
senior kingmaker of a community or most respected person inside the emirate council of traditional rulers and as we all know, Oloye became Waziri of Ilorin after he served the emirate council as Turaki for so many years and now the same traditional title is now installed on his first son, Bukola Saraki then the Governor of Kwara State.
When the history of political kingmakers in Nigeria is written one day, no doubt, the name of Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki will stand were others will wavered, because he his fully equipped with political experiences.
Dr. Olusola Sarakis name is not also not left behind when names in the Council of the Arewa Consultative Forum are called. Moreover, Alhaji Aminu Dantata and Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, Waziri Ilorin remain the highest contributors to the running of the Arewa Consultative Forum secretariat.
For those who are not too familiar with the polity and politics of Kwara State, the governor’s father, Dr Olusola Saraki, the Waziri of Ilorin, has remained the dominant figure till date. He has been in active politics for almost fifty years, and has displayed a somewhat intimidating knowledge, an impressive understanding of the nuances of the politics of the state more than any of his contemporaries in any of the states across the federation.
Bukola Saraki though his son was the third elected governor he installed as the executive Governor of Kwara State.
His track record therefore marks him out as a genius in Kwara politics. Dr Olusola Saraki, could easily tick off at his fingertips all the wards in the local government councils in the state; off handedly he could recall all the names and villages in the state, and the people that matter in the affairs of their respective communities at a particular time and how best to get at them, whenever he wants them. Saraki knows the secret of Kwara politics, to simply say the least.
As expected many of those who disagree with him often had cause to want to realign with him when it comes to the issue of struggle for political power again.
Oloye cherish and love education most in his life. Which he took very serious with a passion and as a demonstration of this he built and funded several Schools. Saraki did not stop there. He awarded Scholarships not only to indigenes of Kwara and Kogi States but extended it to the children of the poor wherever they come from.
Dr. Saraki want to be remembered as some one that is completely selfless and detribalized Nigerian whose entire life is dedicated to the service of humanity.
Olusola Saraki died in Lagos November 14, 2012.