14 November 2012

Nigeria: Second Republic Senate Leader Saraki Is Dead

Second Republic Senate Leader, Dr Olusola Saraki, is dead, his son, Bukola, a senator, said in a statement in Lagos on Wednesday.

"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 great beyond early hours of today," the statement said.

"We take solace in knowing that our father lived an exemplary life of service and selfless devotion to development of his people and nation," the statement added.

Saraki was born on May 17, 1933 in Ilorin.

He was educated at Edward Blyden Memorial School, Lagos; Eko Boys' High School, Lagos, and attended the University College, 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.

Saraki first entered politics when he ran in the 1964 parliamentary election for Ilorin as an independent candidate, but failed to win. After the election, he went back to his medical practice in Lagos, only to return to party politics in 1978/79.

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

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 defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN).

In 1998, Olusola Saraki became a 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.

Popularly called the strongman of Kwara politics, he assisted the late Rear Adm. Mohammed Lawal to become the governor of Kwara in 1999.

Saraki later switched allegiance to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and in the 2003 elections supported his son Bukola, as the candidate for governor of Kwara in April 2003, and his daughter Gbemisola, as senator for Kwara Central.

In March 2003, the Societe Generale Bank (SGBN) of which Saraki was chairman was investigated by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for alleged money laundering.

Later, SGBN was investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under Nuhu Ribadu, and its licence was temporarily suspended. NAN

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