By Hon. Barr Gbenga Peter Makanjuola
It has been ten years since the “Political Titan” Dr Abubakar Olusola Saraki, died. He passed on November 14, 2012. It was the day we lost a hero and special creature, whose life was all about service, untiring service and selfless service to the common man.
The late Saraki was extremely loved by all and he enjoyed wider acceptability across the length and breath of the country, he’s still being applauded by hundreds of people whose lives he had impacted.
Born on the 17th day of May, 1933, Olusola Saraki was educated at Eko Boys High School. He attended the University of London, and St George’s Hospital Medical School, London. He worked as a medical officer at the General Hospital, Lagos and the Creek Hospital, Lagos. He was the Senate Leader in the 2nd Republic between 1979 and 1983.
He assisted Adamu Attah; Mohammed Shaaba Lafiaji; and Mohammed Alabi Lawal in becoming Governor of Kwara State. Until his death, he was the kingmaker of Kwara politics and major player in Nigeria political system. He was instrumental to the success of many politicians including my humble self. He died on Wednesday, 14th November, 2012 in Lagos at the age of 79 and was laid to laid to rest in Ilorin.
As just said, Olusola Saraki was a man and personage of several parts, who positively touched lives till his last breath on earth. He was a philanthropist, a medical doctor, a politician, a banker, a builder who built People, Politics and Politicians in Nigeria. He prepared himself adequately for Nigeria of yesterday that he was part of; today and tomorrow; which could be visualized in the success and achievements of his children and the political dynasty he founded.
I remember this great man who will always be numbered among the most important individuals and heroes of our country. I recall my first encounter with him, how he saw tomorrow in a young Gbenga, and said to me, “the future belongs to people like you”. Since his departure to the great beyond in 2012, the only solace we have been banking on is the fact that, he loved us so well, by giving us his beloved Son (Dr. Bukola Saraki); that whosoever believeth in his leadership, may flourish politically and shall have everlasting relevance.
As America will forever remain grateful to the likes of George Washington and Martin Luther King Jnr. for their contributions to the realisation of the American dream as a land of equal opportunity for all. In like manner, Nigerians owe the likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, and Ahmadu Bello a debt of gratitude for their efforts at leaving the country better than they met it. It is in this fold we found Olusola Saraki, a nationalist who left his mark in the sand of time and one is not in doubt of his place in national history. He was a great Kwaran, Nigerian who etched his name in gold.
Ten years without him, Nigerians must be informed that remembering Olusola Saraki is not all about naming places or monuments after him. Of course, there are perhaps enough of that! In my view, it’s time we start celebrating humanity, not mere ‘monuments,’ the glory of which is likely going to fade away or perish with time. Instead, what we need now is the internalisation of humanity institutional monuments, which deal with humans in the hearts of people.
To the Sarakis of this world, politics goes beyond competition for power. But to serve, protect and impact; that’s what the late Olusola lived and died for. The legacy which his dynasty represents till date.
The tragedy of leadership in this part of the world is that, many politicians manipulate to emerge as ‘leaders’ and foist themselves on the people. But on the contrary, Olusola Saraki was loved and chosen by the people to lead. Having shown competence, character and capacity to do same. More reason he’s being celebrated across board even in death. May his soul rest eternally.
My 10 paragraph epitaph in commemoration of 10 years remembrance of the late political juggernaut shall amount to disservice if I fail to mention that Olusola Saraki’s success is voluminous in Dr Bukola Saraki; a former Governor of Kwara State and President of the 8th Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria, who has over the years taken the barton of leadership above expectations and as such, complementing the mantra ‘Saraki lives on’..
I am Hon. Barr Gbenga Peter Makanjuola,
a former House of Representatives member and 2023 deputy governorship candidate of the PDP in Kwara State.