Bukola Saraki

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Sen. Dr.
Abubakar Bukola Saraki
Governor of Kwara State
In office
29 May 2003 – 29 May 2011
Preceded by Mohammed Alabi Lawal
Succeeded by Abdulfatah Ahmed
Senator for Kwara Central
Assumed office
29 May 2011
Preceded by Gbemisola Saraki
President of the Senate
Assumed office
9 June 2015
Deputy Ike Ekweremadu
Preceded by David Mark
Personal details
Born (1962-12-19) 19 December 1962 (age 53)
Political party All Progressives Congress
Spouse(s) Toyin Saraki
Parents Olusola Saraki
Alma mater University of London
Occupation Medical Doctor, Politician
Religion Islam

Bukola Saraki (born Olubukola Abubakar Saraki, 19 December 1962) is a Nigerian politician who has been President of the Senate of Nigeria since 2015. Previously he was Governor of Kwara State from 2003 to 2011. He was first elected to the Senate in April 2011, representing the Kwara Central senatorial district, and he was re-elected in the March 2015 elections.

He is currently a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC); previously he was a member of the People's Democratic Party (PDP).

Early life[edit]

Abubakar Bukola Saraki was born on 19 December 1962 to the family of Olusola Saraki, a senator (1979 – 1983) and a one time Senate Leader of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his mother Florence Morenike Saraki.


He attended King's College, Lagos, from 1973 to 1978, and Cheltenham College, Cheltenham, London from 1979 to 1981 for his High School Certificate. He then studied at the London Hospital Medical College of the University of London from 1982 to 1987, when he obtained his M.B.B.S (London).

Medical and banking career[edit]

He worked as a Medical Officer at Rush Green Hospital, Essex, from 1988 to 1989. He was a Director of Societe Generale Bank (Nig) Ltd from 1990 to 2000.[1]

Political appointments[edit]

In 2000, President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Saraki as Special Assistant to the President on Budget.[2] During his tenure as Special Assistant to President on Budget, Saraki initiated the Fiscal Responsibility Bill.

Saraki also served on the Economic Policy Coordination Committee, where he was responsible for the formulation and implementation of several key economic policies for Nigeria.

Governor of Kwara State[edit]

In 2003, he ran for the office of the Executive Governor of Kwara State on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and won. He was sworn into office in May 2003. He ran again for re-election in 2007 and won his second term. As governor of Kwara, he led reforms in agriculture, health, education, finance and environment policy. One of his major achievements was inviting displaced white farmers from Zimbabwe to Kwara State and offering them an opportunity to farm. This led to the establishment of Shonga Farms programme, which is now being replicated across Nigeria. His charisma among his fellow governors got him appointed as Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum.

Power generation and electricity in Kwara State[edit]

Under Dr Saraki’s Governorship, Kwara became the first state to complete the Nigeria Independent Power Project. In collaboration with the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, Dr Saraki re-energised the Ganmo Power Station at Ilorin, and connected over 375 rural communities to the National Grid, through the development and installation of 725 transformers and 7 substations.[3] Kwara also completed 4 electrification projects that meant power became stabilised for 18–22 hours a day. 90% of people living in Kwara have access to electricity, which compares to a national average in Nigeria of 30%.[4]

Primary health care in Kwara State[edit]

While in office, Dr Saraki introduced a range of new health programmes, including a statewide campaign in 2008 to reduce maternal and child mortality with regard to Malaria. This included the distribution of insecticide-treated nets and free malaria drugs to pregnant mothers and to children under the age of five.[5]

A statewide programme of hospital development was also implemented, leading to the redevelopment of hospitals in Afon, Patigi and Lafiagi.

Other measures implemented by Dr Saraki included improved training and re-training for medical staff; refurbishment of hospitals and staff living quarters; and employment of qualified medical doctors and other health workers. Many of the primary care programmes were sponsored by international agencies such as WHO and UNICEF.[6]

Agriculture and farming in Kwara State[edit]

Dr Saraki introduced a range of reforms to agricultural policy to increase the commercial viability of farming, and to increase exports to international markets. The New Nigerian Farmers Initiative was designed to improve the technical capability of farmers and to ensure farmers had a significant financial stake in new investment in agriculture. The scheme utilised the under-used resource of agricultural expertise in the Zimbabwean farming industry, and worked with the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union to identify high-skilled farmers able to support the State’s farming industry to move to Kwara and develop the industry.[7][8] A commercial hub was also developed to build capacity support training of the indigenous farming community.

Infrastructure development[edit]

Dr Saraki led a number of significant and statewide infrastructure developments, including improvements at the Ilorin International Airport Cargo Terminal; extensive road construction; and the development of new sporting facilities such as Kwara Football Academy. The State also has an ongoing aim to become a logistics and cargo hub in Nigeria and the region.[9]

Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum[edit]

Dr Saraki became Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum in 2007. Under Saraki’s Chairmanship, a reformed Forum was established, with a fully resourced secretariat, with a technical and administrative division that was entirely focused on delivery.

State Peer Review Mechanism[edit]

Under Dr Saraki’s Chairmanship, a range of new processes, including the State Peer Review Mechanism, were also developed, to ensure that closer working and collaboration could take place between members of the Forum, and best practice shared between states. The Mechanisms allowed a range of best practice case studies to be shared between states in a number of different policy fields, including in relation to power project; primary healthcare centres that were being built in villages and other rural locations; extensive roadworks that were taking place in rural areas; water schemes; solar schemes and the construction of specialist hospitals and state universities. Projects such as these had previously remained undisclosed until the Mechanism was established.

The Doctrine of Necessity[edit]

One of the most widely recognised achievements of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum was its intervention over the problematic assumption of power by then Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, following the illness and subsequent death of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua. On 23 November 2009, President Yar’Adua left Nigeria and travelled to Saudi Arabia, where he was installed in the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Jeddah for the treatment of what was reported to be acute pericarditis. He was not seen in public again and his absence created a dangerous power vacuum in Nigeria. The problem was that, for the Vice-President to succeed the President, the constitution demanded that the latter wrote a letter to the National Assembly making clear the appointment of the former. But as President Yar’Adua was constantly in and out of intensive care, this letter was never written and the succession therefore came into question.

The NGF, led by Dr Saraki, and working with the National Assembly, devised the Doctrine of Necessity, which was then passed as a resolution by the National Assembly. The Doctrine of Necessity allowed the Vice President to take over and become the acting President until such a time that the President returned.

Polio immunisation and the Immunisation Leadership Challenge[edit]

The Forum has been credited with the development of better and more extensive polio immunisation in Nigeria. A key part of this was the introduction in 2011 of the Immunisation Leadership Challenge. The Challenge was designed to reward states in Nigeria that made significant improvements in polio and routine immunisation coverage by the end of 2012.[10][11]

Observing the effects of the election cycle, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation drove the Immunisation Leadership Challenge – launched in partnership with the NGF – which pledged to award US $500,000 to states that met a pre-defined threshold of improvement. The overall objective of the Challenge was to fast track achievement of the global milestone of interrupting further transmission of the wild polio virus in Nigeria. The grant was to be used to support Governors' top health priorities, including malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV prevention and treatment, as well as safe drinking water and hygiene programmes.

The Gates Foundation also promised to match contributions by states to their chosen health project of up to US $250,000. By the end of 2012 the number of polio cases dropping by about 50%.[12]

The NGF and Global Development Partners[edit]

Under Dr Saraki’s chairmanship a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) have been signed, including but not limited to the World Bank, DFID, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GAVI, UNICEF, UNDP.

Senatorial career[edit]

After his two-term tenure as governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki ran for the office of Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria representing the Kwara Central Senatorial District and won, succeeding his sister, Gbemisola Saraki-Forowa. He was appointed as the Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology and is also a member of the Senate committee on capital Markets and Finance. He also pushed a motion in the Senate to end the fuel subsidy regime in Nigeria which has been an excessive waste of the country’s national resources.[13]

As a member of the Senate, Senator Saraki has campaigned extensively on health, food security, education and the environment. He was appointed as the Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology and is also a member of the Senate Committees on Capital Markets and Finance. He also pushed a motion in the Senate to end the fuel subsidy regime in Nigeria, which has been an excessive waste of the country’s national resources. His work on the oil industry, has also led him to focus on arguing to strengthen laws relating to the clean up of oil spills. His National Oil Spill and Detection and Response Agency Amendment Bill seeks to ensure oil companies pay appropriate levels of compensation to communities affected by oil spills.

Dr. Saraki has also intervened in the Lead Poisoning crisis in Zamfara State in 2010, and has supported to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, which ensures safe and healthy methods of cooking for millions of Nigerians while conserving the environment through reduced deforestation.[14] He has been a lead campaigner in the areas of desertification and climate change in the Senate and across Nigeria.[15] Saraki sponsored a motion on the floor of the Senate to end Nigeria’s fuel subsidy regime. Other motions and private member bills he has sponsored include the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency Amendment Bill 2012, which was aimed at putting a halt to oil spills in the Niger Delta, the Gas Flaring Prohibition Bill 2012 and the Climate Change Commission Bill 2013.[16]

Saraki expressed regret after his supporters died in a human stampede at his residence. This was not the first time that people had been killed during his family's habit of distributing money and food to their supporters.[17]

Senate Presidency[edit]

After his re-election in the 2015 general elections, Saraki was on 9 June 2015 elected unopposed as President of the Senate by an across the party alliance comprising PDP and APC Senators. Saraki had faced stiff opposition from Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan who was a preferred candidate by a group of senators-elect within the APC.[18] His deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, emerged after a tightly contested election.

Controversies have emerged within the APC due to his occupation of the prestigious Senate President title. There was a divide within the party as to who their candidate for the Senate Presidency should be. As a result, he was not accepted by the APC party leadership. This has led to a heated internal unrest in the party which has encouraged pro-Saraki supporters to accuse the presidency headed by Muhammadu Buhari of undermining the authority of the Senate President when the latter had invited the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance Mrs. Anastacia Nwaobia who is reported to have refused to honour the invitation. It is presumed that the office of the president gave backing to this blunt refusal. There have also been continued propaganda attacks against Dr. Saraki as well as the Code of Conduct bureau accusing him of false declaration of assets.

Senator Bukola Saraki and a delegation of Senators visited Maiduguri, Borno State on 3 August 2015 to get an on-ground assessment of the damage done in the north-eastern part of Nigeria by terrorist group Boko Haram and to give hope to internally displaced persons. The delegation was the first of its kind by the leadership of the Senate since the insurgency began.[19]

International work and appointments[edit]

In 2012, Dr Saraki was appointed onto the Leadership Council of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, an initiative led by the United Nations Foundation that supports the use of public-private partnerships to create a market for clean cookstoves and fuels.

In 2013, Dr Saraki established GLOBE Nigeria as an affiliate of the Global Legislators Organisation, establishing a platform for legislators to advance environmental and sustainable development laws in Nigeria. He currently serves as GLOBE Nigeria’s President.[20]

Dr Saraki has also spoken and campaigned internationally on issues such as better governance, deforestation and economic development.

Personal life[edit]

Bukola Saraki is married to Toyin (née Ojora) Saraki. They have four children together.[21]


Saraki was the first serving Nigerian governor to be awarded the National Honor of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) in 2010. Other former governors also received the award that year.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki". Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  2. ^ "Bukola Saraki: Epitome of service, standard and pace-setting at 50". The Sun. Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  3. ^ "In Rural Areas, Life Can Get Better". ThisDay. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  4. ^ "PDP crisis: Saraki denies asking for immunity from EFCC probe". Premium Times. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  5. ^ "FLAG-OFF OF MALARIA-FREE KWARA". Ilorin.info. Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  6. ^ "UNICEF pledges support to eradicate Polio in Kwara State". Ilorin.info. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  7. ^ "Farming Future: Lessons from Kwara". Think Africa Press. Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  8. ^ "Zimbabwe farmers a boon for Nigerian agriculture". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-11-19. 
  9. ^ "Investment Opportunity in Kwara State". Investor.ng. Retrieved 2014-03-24. 
  10. ^ "Nigerian Governors Sign Up to Immunization Leadership Challenge". Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  11. ^ "36 Govs sign up for polio eradication leadership challenge". Vanguard. Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  12. ^ "Bill Gates Visits Nigeria On Polio Eradication Drive As Polio Cases Drop 50%". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-11-11. 
  13. ^ "Nigeria: Fuel Subsidy Probe - Saraki in the Eyes of the Storm". Premium Times. Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  14. ^ "Lead poison: Saraki seeks quick remediation of Zamfara community". Punch. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  15. ^ "Senate raises alarm over desertification, erosion and flooding". Vanguard. Retrieved 2012-06-06. 
  16. ^ "Fuel subsidy: Saraki seeks Senate’s probe". Vanguard. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  17. ^ "Ilorin Sallah tragedy, Bukola Saraki still in shock as death toll rises". Economium Nigeria. Retrieved July 30, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Saraki emerges new Senate President - Vanguard News". Retrieved 2015-06-09. 
  19. ^ "Saraki Arrives Maiduguri, Expected To Visit IDP Camps". Retrieved 2015-08-03. 
  20. ^ "Saraki chairs study session at German Parliament". The Herald. Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  21. ^ "Toyin Ojora Saraki". 
  22. ^ "186 Nigerians to receive National Honours". Nigeria Exchange. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 

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