Bukola Saraki is a Nigerian politician and medical doctor. He was the President of the Nigerian Senate from 2015 to 2019. Also, he served as the Governor of Kwara State from 2003 to 2011. However, he lost in the presidential primary election of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to Atiku Abubakar in 2018.
Bukola Saraki is a prominent political figure in Nigeria. In 2018, Dele Momodu named him the Jack Bauer of Nigerian Politics.
Bukola Saraki Early Life
He was born Olubukola Abubakar Saraki on December 19, 1962. Saraki was born in UK to Olusola Saraki and Florence Morenike.
His father Olusola, was a one-time Senator in Nigeria who served between 1979–1983. Until Olusola’s death in 2012, he was influential in the political affairs of Kwara state.
Bukola Saraki started his education in Nigeria, he attended Corona School, Victoria Island before proceeding to King’s College, Lagos.
Thereafter, he moved on to Cheltenham College, United Kingdom and graduated in 1981. Subsequently, he earned an M.B.B.S from London Hospital Medical College of University of London in 1987.
Bukola Saraki Early Career
Saraki returned to Nigeria in 1989 after working at Rush Green Hospital, London as a medical officer for a year. After his return, he worked in the Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria Limited for almost a decade and rose to the position of an Executive Director. As a director, he oversaw the bank’s corporate development and other expansion programmes.
Then, in 2000, he was appointed by President Olusegun Obasanjo as Special Assistant to the President on budget. As a special assistant, Bukola Saraki initiated the Fiscal Responsibility Bill.
Subsequently, he served on the Economic Policy Co-ordination Committee and formulated some key economic policies for Nigeria.
Bukola Saraki Personal Life
Bukola tied the knot with Toyin Saraki (nee Ojora) in 1991. And they are blessed with four children – Oluwaseni, Oluwatosin, Teniola and Teniayo (twins).
Saraki is a football fan, and has an eponymous named football club – Abubakar Bukola Saraki Footbal Club (ABSFC).
Also, he was conferred the Turaki of Fulani emirate of Ilorin while he was a governor. And in 2018, he was bestowed a chieftaincy title last held by his father – ‘Waziri’ of Ilorin by the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari.
Abubakar Bukola Saraki was elected twice as a governor under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) platform. He served between 2003 – 2011 as the Governor of Kwara State. Firstly, he was elected against the former Governor of the state, Late Muhammed Lawal of the All Nigeria Peoples Party. Secondly, he was re-elected for the second time in 2007.
As The Governor 2003-2011
As the Governor of Kwara state, Saraki made notable contributions virtually in all the sectors. For instance, he created community health insurance scheme and environmental ‘Clean and Green’ scheme. He also implemented agricultural transformation by turning the state into a net exporter of food instead of the usual net importer.
Under his leadership, Kwara state became the first state to complete the Nigeria Independent Power Project. Also, through collaborations with the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, he re-energised the Ganmo Power Station in Ilorin. He also connected thousands of rural communities to the national grid by installing transformers and substations.
Bukola Saraki invited skilled Zimbabwean farmers to Kwara to support and improve the Nigerian farming industry. Also, he introduced the Shonga Farms Agricultural Programme which yielded result above the national average.
Additionally, health sector was also improved. For instance, he donated and distributed malaria prevention kits for pregnant women and children. He mobilized a statewide campaign to reduce maternal and child mortality from malaria. Most of these initiatives were sponsored by WHO, UNICEF and other international agencies.
Then, he developed new sporting facilities and established the Kwara Football Academy. He also renovated the Ilorin Airport to an international standard and constructed Ilorin Cargo Terminal.
In 2011, Saraki after serving as a Governor in Kwara state for two tenures was elected as a Senator. He was elected to represent the Kwara Central Senatorial District under PDP. He succeeded his sister Gbemisola Saraki-Forowa. And on assumption into office, he was appointed Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology.
Also, he was re-elected in 2015 under the All Progressive Congress. This time, the senate elected him unopposed as the President of the Senate.
As a Senator 2011- 2015
As a senator, he established GLOBE Nigeria, an affiliate of the global Legislators organisation (GLOBE International). Also, he promoted the national Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency Amendment (NOSDRA) Bill. All of these were done in order to ensure that oil companies pay the appropriate compensation to oil spill affected communities.
Furthermore, he spearheaded the issue of Lead Poisoning crisis in the mining areas of Zamfara State and Great Green Wall to combat desertification and climate change.
As The President Of Senate 2015-2019
Under Saraki’s leadership as the senate president, the seat passed 293 bills and cleared 138 public petitions which surpassed all the senates in Nigeria history.
Amongst others, the senate during his leadership supported and passed the Not Too Young To Run bill. It opened the NASS budget for public scrutiny, concluded the constitution amendment and passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB).
Furthermore, the assembly championed the amendment of the Universal Basic Education Act and increased budgetary allocation to the UBE to 3%. It also negotiated an end to the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) health workers strike.
Some of the bills passed by the senate include; National Transportation Commission Bill, Financial Intelligence Unit Bill, the Witness Protection Bill, The Whistleblower Protection Bill, and many more.
Some of his official appointments include;
- Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, 2007- 2011.
- Appointed into the Leadership council of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, 2012
- Appointed the Ambassador-at-Large of the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC), 2019
Awards And Recognition
As a politician, Saraki has been awarded and recognized within and outside his state of origin. For instance, in 2010, he became the first serving Nigerian Governor to be awarded the National Honor of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).
Other awards include;
- Governor of the Year, This Day Newspapers, 2004
- Best Governor of the Year in Agricultural Development, City People KSNG, 2004/2005
- Africa Club Award, Harvard Business School, 2005
- Best Governor in Africa, Kenneth Kaunda Foundation, 2006
- Man of the Year, Osun State Broadcast Corporation, 2006
- Grand Patron, Nigeria Referee Association, 2007
- Best Governor on Food Security, This Day Newspaper, 2008
- Life Fellowship, All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPPS), 2009
- Outstanding Governor on Energy, Nigerian Compass Newspaper, 2009
- Emerging Tiger of Nigeria (Leadership Award), This Day Newspaper, 2010
- Award of Excellence, Chartered Accountants, 2010
- Award of Excellence, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, 2012
- Good Ambassador of North Central Zone, Radio Television, Theatre and Art Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU), 2014
- Man of the 21st Century, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), 2016
- Outstanding Leadership Award, Governor of Kwara State, Abdulahmed Fatai, 2017
- Award of Excellent Leadership, Association of Maritime Journalist of Nigeria (AMCON), 2018
- Outstanding Politician of the Year, Sun Newspaper, 2018
- Politician of the Year, New Telegraph Award, 2018
Bukola Saraki Net Worth
Hotmediavibes.com in August 2019 estimated Saraki’s net worth at $200 million.
Bukola Saraki Quotes
“I have always believed that the creativity and dynamism of our youth offers a way out of the nation’s economic challenges.”
“The success of SMEs is key to unlocking long term sustainable growth in Nigeria.”
“…We must all collectively commit to playing our own individual roles in the defence of Nigeria’s democracy.”
“Celebrating our democracy day is a reminder that a government for, of, and by the people is and must be Nigeria’s only recourse.”
“Our children; our most important national treasure.”
“Being a father is about working to defend and protect the dreams and aspirations of all those that look up to you.”
“…whatever the capacity, we should always do our best to serve the interest of the people. We should also have it in the back of our minds that power is transient.”
“And as we say all the things we have done, we must also be reflective and candid enough to acknowledge the things we didn’t do.”
“When the young people of our country succeed, we all succeed.”
Entrepreneurial Lessons From The Life Of Bukola Saraki
Understand your customers.
Before the 2019 election, Bukola Saraki was the main man of the Kwara people. He was elected on four different occasions to represent the interest of the Kwara citizens. He was able to achieve this by simply meeting the demands of the people which he represents.
Ensure you are visible to your customers.
One obvious characteristics of this popular politician is that he is visible and communicates to the Nigerian people through his social media platforms.
Photo Credit: Twitter, premium Times Nigeria, Pulse.ng, The Guardian, KCOBA, Vanguard, Newmail-ng.com and Grow Nigeria.