Dr Olusola Saraki
Written by Our Correspondent Thursday, 15 November 2012 09:48
Dr. Olusola Saraki, the strongman of Kwara politics and Senate leader in the Second Republic is dead at age 79. He was reported to have battled cancer for five years.
Senator Olusola Saraki was born on the 17th of May, 1933 at Ilorin, Kwara State. He was educated at Eko Boys High School, and 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
Olusola Sakari first entered politics when he ran in the 1964 parliamentary election for 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, 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 Senate Leader. In 1983 Saraki was re-elected into the Senate on the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) platform.
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. He assisted Mohammed Alabi Lawal in becoming Governor of Kwara State. In 2001 he was head of a team from the Arewa Consultative Forum, a Northern cultural and political group, sent to meet and discuss common goals with Northern state governors and other leaders. Later Saraki switched allegiance to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and in the 2003 elections supported his son Bukola Saraki as candidate for governor of Kwara state in April 2003, and his daughter Gbemisola R. Saraki as senator for Kwara State Central in April 2003.
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 license was temporarily suspended.
Dr Olusola Saraki died of cancer in his Lagos home on Wednesday. According to one of his sons, Olaolu, ``He has been battling cancer for about five years. He was fine this morning. He was comfortable and even said his prayers.
``He died in the presence of one of my brothers, my mother and my two sisters, He gave up the ghost at about 6 a.m.," he said.