By Ahmed Ajikobi
Members of the Late Olusola Saraki’s political family across party divides, friends and associates, on Tuesday gathered together at his Ilorin residence to hold special prayers in commemoration of his passing.
They also called on Kwara state government to address the economic woes afflicting the people, especially the downtrodden. This is in line with the political ideology of the late Saraki through which he touched many lives across the country.
The prayer session which attracted a large but colourful turnout of “Sarakites” was led by the Chief Imam of Ilorin, Sheikh Mohammed Bashir Saliu, alongside other Islamic clerics in the state.
Many of the dignitaries present took turns to pay tributes and pour encomiums on the late political icon, regarded as one of the most colourful and philanthropic in the nation’s political history.
Speaking with journalists, the state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Babatunde Mohammed, and some other PDP stalwarts, like former member of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Ishola Balogun-Fulani, former Commissioner in the state, Alhaja Nimota Ibrahim, Former Chairman Local Government Service Commission, Alhaja Sarat Adebayo extolled the commitment of the late Saraki to the welfare of the people, saying the man popularly called Oloye lived his life for survival of the people.
According to Hon Muhammed,” I was opportune to be one of the personal assistants to late Olusola for more than ten years. He lived a fulfilled life. He always supports the less privileged. Across all the states in Nigeria, all politicians always come for his help. It is highly imperative to mention, even when not politicking, Baba will still assist people, most, especially when there is hardship in the community.
“Even where there was no politicking, that is during military rule, Baba will always be around to help people. Also, whenever there is hardship in the community, Saraki will come home and assist people. He will provide a way to make everybody happy. Olusola Saraki brought up so many politicians of today in kwara state.
“We are happy that Bukola (his son) has been doing the same thing. He lost election in 2019, but he continues to assist people. He did not allow that to demoralize him. In 2023 he also lost, yet he continued to assist people. We are delighted that our leader today, Bukola Saraki emulated Baba.
“With the present hardship in every part of the community in the state, the state government should find a way to make sure they do everything legally possible to ameliorate the hardship. The governor in the state should stop politicking now but find a way to ensure everyone in the state is taken care of, irrespective of party affiliation because the hardship is becoming unbearable.
“I also call on all elected leaders in the state, be it the state Assembly, House of Representatives or the Senate to empower constituents in their respective communities to reduce the hardship being felt.
“Today, We’re praying for our highly respected father, Dr Abubakar Olusola Saraki, because of what he did while alive. He impacted meaningfully in so many people. I’m an example. Baba brought me up and did everything humanly possible to make me become one of the recognized politicians in Kwara state and Nigeria. May God continue to give baba eternal rest.
Also speaking, another product of the Late Saraki’s school of thought, Balogun Fulani said, “Baba Saraki is an ICON. He was someone people should emulate. He fought for the survival of kwara state and Kwarans and Nigeria as a whole as regards to politics. Baba Saraki taught everybody Politics and how to do it. He introduced consensus and today everybody in Nigeria is practicing it. Where there is consensus, there will be harmony.
“I will advise people to emulate Baba Saraki. Baba Saraki never cared where you came from, who are your parents, what is your background or tribe. He will choose you to be anything. Be it a Governor, Minister or Honorable member, without taking any Kobo from you. He will be the person to nominate and spend for your campaign.”
In her words, Alhaja Nimata Ibrahim stated that associates of the late strongman of kwara politics gathered at the ceremony to “commemorate the passing away of our late father. To remember him and pray for him. We also gathered to remember all the good deeds he did for us and for the generality of people, not Kwarans alone, but to all humanity. Baba was good to everybody, he touched so many lives across humanity. I like to refer to him as an angel. His goodness transcends politics. He doesn’t do good for the sake of politics. Touching the life of women like baba Saraki is not common. That’s why he sat at Ile Arugbo always during his lifetime. I’m the only female party secretary in Nigeria, as CSC, APC, PDP.”
Sarat Adebayo in her comments described the late Oloye as one who took service to humanity. ” I have been with baba Saraki since 1989 until date. His reign had been a fruitful reign in kwara and Nigeria. He had a very large heart, was a philanthropist and wanted the best for all the children of kwara and the development of kwara. Baba Saraki took service to humanity as his core values. Baba Saraki did not know our parents or any of our family, he brought us to where we are today.
“I said kudos to him even in death. He had touched so many lives. What he had done is still manifesting in our lives and Community”.