Bukola Saraki: Building a Political Kingdom or a House of Cards?

Senator Bukola Saraki

The Saraki dynasty is well known to Nigeria. The first person that came to the limelight is Olusola Saraki, a Senator (1979 – 1983) and a onetime Senate Leader of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Olusola Saraki, popularly called ‘Oloye’ in Ilorin, Kwara State became a “godfather” until his son; Bukola Saraki was introduced into politics. Olusola was also an entrepreneur as he founded the Bank Societe Generale in Nigeria before it became moribund.

Before his foray into politics, Bukola Saraki was a medical doctor by training; he was educated at the London Hospital Medical College of the University of London from 1982 to 1987 and practiced as a medical doctor at Rush Green Hospital in London. He was also a Board Member with Societe Generale.

Bukola became the Special Assistant on budget issues to President Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2000. However, there was tension between the Governor of Kwara State, Rear Admiral (rtd) Mohammed Alabi Lawal and Olusola Saraki. At the end of the governor’s four year term, Bukola entered into the race for Governor under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and he defeated the incumbent.

Dr. Saraki furthered his political scope when he became Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum in 2007. Under Saraki’s Chairmanship, a reformed forum was established, with a fully resourced secretariat, a technical and administrative division that was entirely focused on delivery. He was the Governor of Kwara State for two terms that ended in 2011.

As a student of politics under his father’s tutelage, Dr. Saraki headed a political strategy that allowed for him to move from Governor to Senator, taking over the position left by his sister Senator Gbemisola R. Saraki in May 2011. This birthed a systematic unleashing of his political prowess it also helped that the elections were in his favor.

aso rock
Aso Rock

Strategically, Bukola and his political masterminds joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) before the 2015 General Election. Bolaji Abdullai, one of his allies, was fired by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan during the 2015 election campaigns when Abdullai was not openly supporting the President.

The APC had the opportunity of taking over leadership positions in the National Assembly. Political analysts came up with the allotment formula for office positions and Bukola played a very fast one on other members of the APC by aligning with members of the PDP, and he emerged as the Senate President unopposed. There are great assumptions currently in the political sphere that he might still rejoin the APC if he assumes it favorable to his seemingly relentless political goals.

Bukola has not been without his share of allegations. The most recent of which is the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) that alleged that he did not declare his assets correctly. According to the Senate President, it is a political crucifix to unseat him as the Senate President. Many Senators keep thronging after the Senate President whenever he goes to the tribunal. The case has been deferred till the March 18, 2016.

Some other allegations include the remote-administration of Kwara State. Many people believe that the current governor of the state, Alh Abdulfatah Ahmed is a stooge for Bukola Saraki. Also, the bankruptcy of Societe Generale Bank is believed to be the handiwork of the Saraki family.

Bukola Saraki has the tendency of orchestrating fascinating revolutions just like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Nonetheless, Nigerians want a leader with a clean record as it is believed that the anti-corruption crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari would give birth to a new Nigeria where development can be at a faster pace.