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Bukola Saraki

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Abubakar Bukola Saraki (born December 19, 1962) is a Nigerian politician who has been the President of Nigeria's Senate since 2015. Previously he was the Governor of Kwara State under the platform of the PDP (People's Democratic Party) from 2003 to 2011. He was first elected to the Senate in April 2011, also under the platform of the PDP, representing the Kwara Central senatorial district, and then re-elected in the March 2015 election, under the platform of the APC (All Progressive Congress). He decamped back to his former party, the People's Democratic Party, on the 31st of July 2018.] Saraki declared his intention to vie for the Office of President of Nigeria, under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)

Early life and education

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 the prestigious Corona School Victoria Island, lagos before proceeding to King's College, Lagos, from 1973 to 1978, and Cheltenham College in the United Kingdom 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, where he obtained his M.B.B.S (London).

Career

Saraki worked as a medical officer at Rush Green Hospital, Essex, from 1988 to 1989. He was a director of Société Générale Bank (Nig) Ltd from 1990 to 2000.

In 2000, President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Saraki as Special Assistant to the President on Budget.During his tenure, 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

In 2003, he ran for the office of 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 ]He was also appointed as the chairman of the Nigeria Governors' forum

Senatorial career

After two term tenure as governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki ran for the office of Senator, representing the Kwara Central Senatorial District. He won, succeeding his sister, Gbemisola Saraki-Forowa. He was appointed as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology and is also a member of the Senate Committee on Capital Markets and Finance. He 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.

Senator Saraki has campaigned extensively on health, food security, education and the environment. He has argued for strengthened laws on 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.[when?]

Saraki 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. He has been a lead campaigner in the areas of desertification and climate change in the Senate and across Nigeria. 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.

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

Senate Presidency

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. His deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, emerged after a tightly contested election.

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.

Saraki is currently a member of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and was previously a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He defected from the All Progressives Congress on July 31, 2018, some days after 14 Senators defected to the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP).  He blamed his defection on intolerance of the influential persons of his former party

International work and appointments

In 2012, Saraki was appointed onto the leadership council of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, an initiative led by the United Nations Foundation supporting public-private partnerships to create a market for clean cookstoves and fuels. In 2013, Saraki established GLOBE Nigeria as an affiliate of the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE International), establishing a platform for legislators to advance environmental and sustainable development laws in Nigeria. He currently serves as GLOBE Nigeria’s President. Saraki has also spoken and campaigned internationally on issues such as better governance, deforestation and economic development.

Personal life

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

Saraki was made the Turaki of the Fula emirate of Ilorin. A Turaki is an officer at court in the Hausa-Fulani kingdoms. On 22n of July, the Emir of Ilorin elevated him to the position of "Wazirin Gari" (traditional Prime minister) of the Fula emirate of Ilorin[

Awards

  • 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.
  • Outstanding Leadership Award was conferred on Saraki by the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed on 27 May 2017 (Saraki is one of eighteen former Governors to receive the award).

 

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