Monday, March 05, 2018 7.00AM / Proshare WebTV
The Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, since 2015 and the Chairman of the National Assembly, Dr Bukola Saraki is the son of the Second Republic Senator Olusola Saraki.
Bukola Saraki was the former Governor of Kwara State from 2003-2011 coming from the influential Saraki family, that has shaped governance and politics in Kwara State, for over 3 decades.
He was first elected into the Nigerian Senate in 2011 and won a second-term to serve as a Senator in the country in 2015.
He studied for his High School Certificate at the Cheltenham College in United Kingdom (1979-1981) and obtained his M.B.B.S from the London Hospital Medical College of the University of London(1982-1987).
Saraki started his career as a medical officer at the Rush Green Hospital, Essex from(1988 to 1989), but became more involved in politics, leadership, and governance.
In 2000 he was appointed the Special Assistant to then President Olusegun Obasanjo on Budget, to which we were credited with initiating the Fiscal Responsibility Bill. He was a member of the Economic Policy Coordination Committee, formulating and implementing key economic policies for Nigeria.
He contested the 2003 Gubernatorial elections and emerged the Governor of Kwara State under the People’s Democratic Party (2003-2011).
As Governor of Kwara he led massive reforms in the agriculture, infrastructure, healthcare, education, environmental policy, and education.
One of his greatest legacies was the development of the Shonga Farms programme with the help of displaced white farmers from Zimbabwe. This has been replicated across the nation.
Saraki led Kwara to become the first State to complete its Nigerian Independent Power Project, in collaboration with the Power Holding Company of Nigeria. He revitalized the Ganmo power station at Ilorin which connected 3,750 rural communities in the State.
In the Agric sector, Senator Saraki engaged the Zimbabwe Farmers who helped in training the Kwara farmer, giving the requisite skills that positioned the State as a strategic Agri-business zone in the country.
For infrastructure he embarked on and achieved the construction of over 1,000km state-wide roads that were designed to fast-track a connected Kwara State.
As a Medical Doctor by profession he showed passion in revamping the healthcare sector, which was manifest in the primary healthcare development, rehabilitation and construction of hospitals across the State.
He was also the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, which witnessed major MOUs signed between the States and International Development Institutions like the World Bank.
After his first term as a Senator in 2011-2015, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki defected from the People’s Democratic Party to join the All Progressive Congress, and played a major role in the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 general elections.
Saraki had a clear goal and ambition to lead the 8th Senate and eventhough the APC party hierarchy were not in full support, he emerged the Senate President in an unprecedented manner.
Since serving as the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has appeared before the Code of Conduct Tribunal over allegations of corruption, which has seen him prevailing with a strong 79-lawyer defence counsel team.
The Senate President has been focused on a Pro-Business National Assembly, leading the Senate to pass critical bills like the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill and key bills supporting the Anti-corruption agenda of the Buhari administration.
Under his watch the Senate has had several challenging experiences with the Executive, from the 2016 budget padding drama to the request for the current Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Chairman Mr Ibrahim Magu.
Senator (Dr) Saraki has also been rumoured to be mulling a plan to return back to the PDP, but has since dismissed such plans.
Saraki’s tenure has seen a robust and close working relationship with the Nigerian Economic Summit through the National Assembly Business Roundtable(NASSBER) and has seen vital bills on Infrastructure, Made in Nigeria, Transportation, Ease of Doing Business amongst others.
Also under his watch, Saraki yielded to pressures from civil society groups by disclosing the budget and details of expenditure of the Nigerian Senate to the Nigerian populace. This was the first a comprehensive detail of the Senate Budget was being disclosed in the fourth republic.
He is one of the most talked about politicians to watch for the 2019 Presidential elections, as pundits believe he has the capacity to build consensus in the political process and is viewed as a charismatic and strategic leader. Interestingly he is active on social media and interacts extensively with young Nigerians.
Dr Saraki is married to Mrs Toyin Saraki (Nee Ojora) the former first lady of Kwara State, a healthcare philanthropist and Founder of Wellbeing Foundation Africa. They are blessed with four children