VIDEO: Saraki is laid to rest

The former Senate leader in the second republic and strong man of Ilorin politics,  Olusola Saraki has been laid to rest according to Islamic rites.

He was buried in his country home in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital.

The 79 year old politician passed away early this morning in Lagos, after a prolonged illness.

Hundreds of people had assembled at the Ilorin International Airport ahead of the arrival of his corpse.

Dignitaries present at the prayer for his burial were the Speaker of the House of Representatives,  Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo and the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed.

Also present were members of his grieving family, which included former Senator Gbemisola Saraki and former Governor of Kwara state, Dr Bukola Saraki.

The Minister for Interior, Abba Moro, Minister of National Planning, Usman Shamusideen, and the former Minister of  Defence, Alhaji Haliru Bello,were also present.

The late strongman of Kwara politics had been battling with an undisclosed ailment for months and had sought treatment in a series of foreign hospitals.

The late politician fondly called ‘Oloye’ was the Waziri of the Ilorin Emirate.

Mourning on Facebook

Meanwhile, the former Governor of Kwara State and son of the late politician, Dr. Bukola Saraki, posted on social media that his late father would be “sorely missed.”

The former governor, who is now the chairman Senate Committee on Environment wrote the following on his Facebook page:

“Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un ; “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” (al-Baqarah:156) With gratitude to Almighty Allah, we announce the passage to eternity of our beloved father and grandfather, His Eminence, Oloye (Dr.) Abubakar Olusola Saraki, Waziri of Ilorin, former Senate Leader, Second Republic, Federal Republic of Nigeria who answered the call to the great beyond, in the early hours of today in Lagos (17 May 1933 – 14 Nov 2012).”

“We take solace in knowing that our father lived an exemplary life of service, and selfless devotion to development of his people and nation. Baba will be sorely missed. We pray for the repose of his soul that Almighty Allah grant him Al-Jannah Firdaus. Amin.”

Saraki will be remembered as a political colossus – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has joined Nigerians in mourning Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki who he described as “one of Nigeria’s most prominent political leaders, medical practitioner and democrat.”

In a statement signed by the President’s special adviser on Media and publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, the President extended his “sincere commiserations to the elder statesman’s family and the people of his home state, Kwara to whose service and upliftment he selflessly devoted his long and very successful career in politics.”

President Jonathan urged people of Kwara to be consoled by the knowledge that “their departed father, leader and mentor lived a very successful and fulfilled life, rising to national prominence by dint of hard work, uncommon generosity, political sagacity, dedication and wholesome commitment to the service of his people and the entire nation.”

He noted that the late Dr. Saraki will be long remembered and eulogized as a consummate politician, an astute grassroots mobiliser, and a political colossus with awe-inspiring powers of political organisation.

“The ordinary people of Kwara in particular will always remember the “Oloye” with great affection because of the constant support they received from him” he added

The President further notes that “Dr. Saraki’s brand of people-oriented politics and his success in building on his strong support base to contribute positively to Nigeria’s political development as a powerful voice in the nation’s dominant political parties, as the Senate Majority Leader in the Second Republic, and as the ultimate reference point in the politics of Kwara state for decades, have assured him of a place amongst Nigeria’s heroes of democracy.

He urged Nigerians to emulate Dr Saraki’s patriotic commitment to national unity, politics without bitterness as well as his magnificent spirit of philanthropy.

Nigeria has lost another political titan – ACN

Also reacting to the demise of the Ilorin political icon, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) expressed shock and sadness, saying the nation has lost another political titan and a legend of his time.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also described Dr. Saraki as a “colossus who possessed an efficient political machinery that he used effectively to rally the people.”

”Dr. Saraki defined his era, and since his entry into politics several decades ago, politics has never been the same again, especially in his native Kwara state, where he became synonymous with the politics of the state.”

ACN said the death of Dr. Saraki, coming a few days after the passing of another great politician, Lam Adesina, is a big loss to Nigeria, especially at a time the nation needs the wisdom and rich experience of its great sons and daughters to help steer it to less-turbulent waters.

”The vacuum being created by the death of these political titans is a challenge to young politicians to strive hard to step into their shoes and work hard to make our country a proud member of the comity of nations,” the party said.