Former Senate leader; Olusola Saraki is dead
He passed away early this morning in Lagos, after a prolonged illness.
The late strongman of Kwara politics has been battling with an undisclosed ailment for months and has been seeking treatment abroad.
Dr Saraki became a Senator of the Nigerian Second Republic (1979-1983).
The late politician fondly called ‘Oloye’ was the Waziri of the Ilorin Emirate.
Born 17th of May, 1933 at Ilorin, Kwara State, he attended Eko Boys High School for his secondary education and proceeded to London for his university education, attending the University of London and St George’s Hospital Medical School, after which he returned to Nigeria to work as a medical officer at the General Hospital, Lagos and the Creek Hospital, Lagos.
He veered into politics in 1964, when he ran as an independent candidate in the parliamentary election for Ilorin, but didn’t succeed and after the election, he returned to his medical practice in Lagos.
In 1977, Olusola Saraki was elected as a member of the constituent assembly that produced the 1979 constitution and he was elected a Senator of the Second Republic, in 1979 and became the Senate Leader.
He was re-elected to the Senate in 1983 on the platform of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN).
In 1998, Dr Saraki became the 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.
Dr Saraki later switched allegiance to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and in the 2003 elections, supported his son; Bukola Saraki to be the PDP’s governorship candidate in April 2003 election in Kwara state.
Dr Bukola Saraki became the governor of the state while his sister, Gbemisola R. Saraki, was elected a Senator for Kwara State Central.
Meanwhile, the Kwara State Governor has declared today, Wednesday, 14th November, 2012 a work free day and three days of mourning, to allow residents in the state attend the burial of late states man.
A 20 man committee on the burial for Dr Saraki has been set up.
Members of the committee which is headed by Alhaji Saka Onimago are Barrister Anthony Towoju, Alhaji Kayode Issa, Alhaji Tajudeen Oloje, Alhaji Yekeen Ilobu, Alhaji Sule Maja, Prince Yemi Afolayan, Alhaji Ali Olola, Alh Lekan Alabi, Alhaji Mohammed Saraki and Alh Ope Saraki. Others are Alhaja Muslimat Ibrahim, Hon. Ganiyu Abdulkareem, Hon. Adamu Sabi, Hon. Mrs Owolabi, Alhaji Issa Hajia Nimota, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, Alhaji Wahab Oba and Alhaji Abdulsalam Suleiman. Alh. M. A Shehu is the secretary of the committee.
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.