By Seyi Adigun
Three things could happen to a man in the eyes of history. He could rewrite it, damn it or simply leave it untampered with. In the case of Abubakar Bukola Saraki, all three have happened.
On November 14, 2012, with the passage of His Eminence, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki to the glorious beyond, The Distinguished and indefatigable Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) assumed the de jure leadership of the Great Hall. In the quinquennium leading up to that date, he had actually, de facto, commenced in that role.
The eyebrow of history, which could be seductive at times and terrifying at other times had steadied on the younger Abubakar since the epochal 2003 General Elections that brought him into the political centre-stage when he was elected Governor of Kwara, defeating the incumbent in office at that time. Now, those eyebrows flared and furrowed more intensely on that sombre 2012 November day. That was 5 years ago, Senator Bukola Saraki was 35 days shy of his 50th birthday.
On the day that Oloye Olusola Saraki passed away, Senator Bukola Saraki inherited not just the challenge of leadership of the Great Hall, but also as it is, the providential burden of reshaping Nigeria’s political map. Olusola Saraki belonged to the last batch of Nigeria’s 2nd generation political sages. This batch had received the torch from the very first generation which comprised the founding fathers in the mould of Ahmadu Bello, Awolowo, Azikiwe and Balewa. When he (Olusola Saraki) passed away therefore, handing over the seal and emblematic symbol of the Great Hall to Senator Bukola Saraki, the chapters of the first and second generation of political leaders of Nigeria were closed and a new, intriguing and enchanting chapter opened.
And so it was that the third chapter of Nigeria’s political trajectory opened, not just in the hands of Abubakar Bukola Saraki but also in his indefatigable heart. Like his legendary father and patriarch, he must speedily interrogate the scenery around him, re-establish the compass of events and redefine all the entities – human and circumstantial. He must, introspectively and with great circumspection proceed not just with the vision of the Great Hall (which is to make governance the vocation of the street, offering equal opportunities in a fraternal ambience to all citizens – egalitarianism); he must also proceed with the prologue and defining landmarks of the new chapter of Nigeria’s political leadership.
Events in the past 5 years have happened quickly and the new chapter of political leadership in Nigeria is filling up with enchanting tales. Rallying from the centre porch of the Red Chambers of the 7th Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki has built an impregnable clout of camaraderie, trust and national spirit. This clout played a significant role in determining the thrust of events leading up to the 2015 General elections, formation of a new Government at the centre and the emergence of a new leadership (with him as President of the Senate) at the National Assembly.
The past 5 years have also been, perhaps, the most tumultuous for Nigeria in terms of political uncertainties and critical questions regarding the Nigerian entity. To his credit, while other arms of governments have literally wobbled in the face of these challenges, the National Assembly has been at its best – presenting itself as a platform of hope and bastion of survival that typifies the Nigerian spirit. It is around the unity and cohesiveness of Bukola Saraki’s 8th National Assembly that the Nigerian citizenry has reinvented belief in the validity of Nigeria’s corporate existence more than any other factor in this past half of a decade.
At 55 years of age, the Great Hall under Senator Bukola Saraki remains the most efficient political family in Nigeria with its influence thawing opposing negative ideologies and walls of hindrance from within Kwara, outwards to wide swathes of political landscapes across Nigeria. Under him, the National Assembly of the Nigerian nation has attained its highest eponym – house of the Nigerian people!
This then is a toast to the Turaki of Ilorin, Turaki Raya-Kasa of Nupe Kingdom, much beloved family and statesman, a bulwark for his companions, relentless advocate of the Nigerian people, President of the Senate of the Federal Republic and Chair of the National Assembly; 55 hearty cheers for the years that are past, 55 more cheers, heartier and louder for the years that are ahead!!!
May those years ahead, be filled with greater courage and gusto, peace and health and fulfilment of your strongly held vision of a boisterous and prosperous nation.
Happy Birthday, Leader, Sir!