14 November 2012

Nigeria: Kwara Announces Saraki's Death, Declares 3-Day Mourning

The Kwara Government on Wednesday announced the death of Second Republic Senate Leader, Dr Olusola Saraki, The elder statesman died at the age of 79 years.

Gov. Abdulfattah Ahmed of Kwara, who announced the death of the politician at the Government House in Ilorin, said Saraki passed on in the early hours of Wednesday.

The governor declared Wednesday a work-free day to allow residents of the state to receive the body of the late politician who died in Lagos.

Ahmed also declared a three-day mourning period across the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the body of the late politician was expected in Ilorin at 2:00 p.m while the burial was expected to take place at 4: 00 p.m.

NAN also reports that scores of residents had trooped to the GRA residence of the late politician as news of the death filtered into the state capital.

Government officials, however, kept sealed lips on the death of Saraki while many top public officers were sighted at the Government House and the residence of the deceased discussing in groups.

The state-owned radio station, Radio Kwara, suspended all regular programmes in honour of the late Waziri of Ilorin.

In its place, the station was playing different sound tracks eulogising the life and times of the late politician.

NAN reports that Saraki was born in Ilorin on the 17th of May, 1933, and was educated at Eko Boys High School, Lagos.

He also attended the University of London and St George's Hospital Medical School, London.

The late politician also worked as a Medical Officer at the General Hospital, Lagos, and the Creek Hospital, Lagos.

He first entered for the parliamentary election in Ilorin as an independent, but failed to win.

After the election, he returned to his medical practice in Lagos, only returning to party-politics in 1978/79.

In 1977, Saraki was elected as a member of the Constituent Assembly that produced the 1979 constitution.

Also in 1979, he was elected a Senator of the Second Republic and became the Senate Leader.

In 1983, Saraki was re-elected into the Senate on the platform of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN).

The late politician in 1998 became a National Leader and member of the Board of Trustees of the defunct All People's Party (APP) and contributed to the party's success in Kwara and Kogi States.

Saraki was also to declare support for the PDP in the 2003 elections and backed his son, Bukola, to clinch the governorship seat. NAN

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