“To live in hearts we live behind is not to die.” – Thomas Campbell

By Sen. Rafiu Ibrahim

Exactly 10 years ago, we lost our beloved father, revered political mentor, benefactor, exemplary leader and role model, Dr Abubakar Olusola Saraki. The late Waziri Ngeri of Ilorin Emirate was no doubt a distinguished political gladiator, compassionate leader and an uncommon philanthropist who was dearly loved by the people.

Baba Oloye was a committed patriot, respected elder statesman and faithful servant of the people. His selflessness and commitment to the welfare and wellbeing of the downtrodden remains unmatched. He was a cheerful giver that was always ready to assist the masses, and his home was where anyone could go to for help. Baba Saraki personified humanitarianism.

As a leader who did not want his people to suffer, Baba provided water tankers to supply water to the people, built mosques and churches and financed the building of schools and roads. 10 years after his demise, the people continue to testify to his uncommon kindness.

It is no surprise that people from all walks of life are gathered here today to remember him. This is a demonstration of the goodwill he enjoyed across political divides, faiths and ethnicities. Baba will always be remembered for his impacts in the lives of the people – far and near – and his numerous contributions to the growth and development of Ilorin Emirate, Kwara and Nigeria as a whole.

On a personal level, I benefited a lot from Baba Oloye’s large heartedness. I am a privileged and proud beneficiary of Baba Saraki’s political benevolence. The story of my political trajectory cannot be told without the mention of his name as a FATHER who loved me passionately which I still enjoy till date from his Khalifa, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki CON, the new Waziri Ngeri of Ilorin Emirate. I know this is the same for many established politicians in Kwara. Baba Oloye identified and built in me the spirit of sacrifice and community development. Myself and many direct beneficiaries of his political benevolence continue to miss his guidance, wise counsel and words of encouragement.

Dr Abubakar Olusola Saraki may be gone but the support and love he gave out to so many people will never ever die. Baba Oloye will continue to live in the hearts of many for his good deeds to humanity and the enduring legacies he left behind.

As we remember the late Waziri of Ilorin Emirate today, we pray Almighty Allah to forgive his shortcomings, illuminate and expand his grave, and admit him into Aljanah Firdaus, Amin.


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