WHO IS ABUBAKAR BUKOLA SARAKI?
He was born in 1962 to the family of former Senate Leader Olusola Saraki and Florence Saraki. Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki is a medical doctor and Nigerian politician and is presently the Chairman and Founder of the Abubakar Bukola Saraki Foundation.
Dr Saraki attended King’s College, Lagos from 1973 to 1978 and then Cheltenham College in the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1981, he obtained his M.B.B.S(London) from the London Hospital Medical College of the University of London from 1982 to 1987. He worked in the United Kingdom in a number or hospitals in London, and surrounding counties for two years before returning to Nigeria to commence a career in that spans over two decades.
2019 – DATE
Following a meritorious term as the President of the 8th of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Saraki has founded and the Abubakar Bukola Saraki Foundation with a mission to champion effective, transparent and progressive governance in Nigeria and Africa; towards connecting citizens to resources and opportunities that unlock prosperity for all.
He is also Chairman of The African Politeia Institute (TAPI) which is “a holistic think-tank whose mission is to improve public policy discourse and promote informed debate on critical social, economic and environmental issues in Nigeria by uniquely combining in-depth research with a practical, solutions-oriented focus.”
He is bringing his impressive wealth of experience and achievements through philanthropy to support Nigeria’s untapped private sector to drive the country’s much needed development and bridge the gaps that hinder economic growth.
Recently, he facilitated the participation and exposure of some rising Nigerian FINTECH startups to participate in the 2020 #AfricaMeetsBusiness Conference in Berlin, Germany to help catalyse their growth and potential for foreign investment.
2015 – 2019
The Nigerian Senate Under the Leadership of Dr Saraki
Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki as an outstanding legislator, served as the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 2015 – 2019. Under his leadership as the senate president, the 8th senate passed more bills than any previous senate and resolved more petitions than all past senates combined, it supported and passed the Not Too Young To Run bill, opened the National Assembly budget for public participation, concluded the Constitution amendment and passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) which seeks to provide for the governance and institutional framework for a renewed and transparent petroleum industry.
As Senate President, he guided a Senate which passed over 240 bills and cleared 138 public petitions. The Senate under his leadership has also worked to grow the Nigerian economy by initiating and passing bills which are aimed at improving and strengthening Nigeria’s business environment:
- Passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB)
- Implementation of the 1% of Consolidated Revenue Fund’s budgetary provision towards Universal Healthcare for a stronger Nigeria
- Amended the Universal Basic Education Act to increase budgetary allocation to the UBE to 3% and secure 40% reduction in counterpart funding clause for states to access education intervention funds from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC)
- Companies and Allied Matters Act
- Secured Transactions in Movable Assets Act
- Credit Bureau Reporting Act
- Warehouse Receipts Bill
- Nigerian Railways Authority Bill
- National Transportation Commission Bill.
- Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit Bill
- Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill
- Witness Protection Bill
- Whistleblower Protection Bill
- Federal Audit Service Commission Bill
2011 – 2015
Achievements as Senator 2011-2015
In his first term as Senator of the Federal Republic, Dr Saraki served as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology and was a member of the Senate Committees on Capital Markets and Finance.
- In 2012, he was appointed into the Leadership council of the Global Alliance for Clean cookstoves, an initiative of the United Nations Foundation that aims to use public-private partnerships to create a thriving global market for clean cookstoves and fuels for over 100 million people by 2020.
- Established GLOBE Nigeria as an affiliate of the Global Legislators Organization (GLOBE International)
- Promoted the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency Amendment (NOSDRA) Bill to ensure that oil companies pay appropriate levels of compensation to communities affected by oil spills.
- Spearheaded the issue of Lead Poisoning in the mining areas of Zamfara State as well on the initiative for the Great Green Wall to combat desertification and climate change.
2003 – 2011
Dr Saraki’s political journey continued after being a Special Assistant to the President on Budget, he contested and won the Kwara State gubernatorial election in 2003 as a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). As Governor, he garnered national and international acclaim for his innovative approaches to agriculture, health, education, fiscal policy and environmental reforms. His spirit of teamwork endeared him to his colleagues, and he was appointed as Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum.
He championed a peer review mechanism among the Governors of Nigerian states and also used the platform to create a harmonious working relationship between the executive and the legislative arm of government at the national level. In 2011, he signified his interest in becoming a Senator and contested successfully in this regard.
- First Governor to take a business-focused agriinnovation approach to repositioning Kwara’s agricultural sector. Dr Saraki moved Kwara’s agriculture beyond a typical state welfare program to commercial agriculture with secured million-dollar investments providing 4,000 jobs and local capacity development.
- Established Shonga Farms, a 17,000-hectare crop, dairy, and poultry project, where the crop yields grew to 3 times the national average.
- Innovation though the implementation of the first Fertilizer Voucher Scheme (FVS) which ensured efficient delivery of subsidized fertilizers to the farmers who need it the most. This became the foundation for Nigeria’s national fertilizer wallet scheme.
- MSME Agricultural growth with the Provision of subsidized inputs and guaranteed credit facilities to small-scale farmers.
- Capacity development with the Fish Farming Training Centre, Ilorin, and Kwara State Crop Outgrowers Scheme leading to Increased production capacity and Alleviate poverty.
- Boosted tertiary education in the State with the establishment of Kwara State University.
- Responsible for a paradigm shift from quantitative to qualitative secondary and primary education with an updated curriculum and other policies.This pushed up Gross Enrollment Rate for primary schools from 78% in 2006 to 115% in 2009, with a gender disparity of less than 1%
- Innovation in specialist education with the establishment of the International Aviation College. The first State owned aviation college in NIgeria. The IAC has trained over 100 Nigerian pilots in 5 years. Most now flying for leading Nigerian aviation companies.
- Established the Kwara Football Academy, the first ever State-owned football training institution in Nigeria.
- With widespread and efficient primary health care as core focus from Day 1, Dr Saraki upgraded a significant amount of Primary Health Centres with turn-key rehabilitation to WHO standard across the state.
- Established an award-winning sustainably successful community health insurance scheme which debuted at Shonga in 2006 and eventually scaled up. The scheme allows indigent patients in the informal sector to have unrestricted access to health services, for instance. Patronage increased at Shonga from 400 monthly to 42,000 monthly.
- To reduce the incidence of Kwara citizens taking medical trips abroad, Dr Saraki established Kwara’s State of the Art Medical Diagnostic Centre.
- Conceived and launched the largely successful Malaria- free Kwara Programme involving free treatment of malaria for pregnant women and under -5 children. This greatly reduced the maternal and infant mortality rate in the state.
- As a means of providing affordable optical care to the elderly and indigent Kwarans, the Kwara Eye Program in partnership with sight savers international screened over 48,526 people in Kwara and carried out 2,630 cataract surgeries.
- To attract business and investment to Kwara State, the Dr Saraki administration rehabilitated the Ilorin Airport to international standard and constructed the Ilorin Cargo Terminal.
- Completion and commissioning of the Ganmo Power Substation to provide power to rural areas in Kwara. This helped government and businesses save billions which would have gone to alternative energy costs
- To support civil servants and low-income earners, Dr Saraki created Housing programmes which provided 1,551 new homes across Kwara State. These homes were available through sustainable mortgage programmes.
CHAIRMAN OF THE NIGERIA GOVERNORS FORUM
- As chairman of the NGF, Dr. Saraki Initiated and promoted the Peer Review Mechanism which was the first of its kind at the sub-national level in the world. The DFID, the World Bank and the UNDP actively supported and lauded this initiative. This further Elevated the status of the NGF and enforced the true spirit of Nigeria’s Federalism by ensuring that Federal policies reflect state interests.
- Pushed for several critical interventions in the affairs of the nation; including the facilitation of the adoption of the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ that enabled the National Assembly to pronounce then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan as the Acting President. This intervention averted arguably the biggest constitutional crisis in Nigeria’s recent history.
- Working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and governors across political parties, he changed the country’s approach in the fight against polio by facilitating the engagements with Nigerian States to properly implement the polio-eradication programme. Dr Saraki’s innovative and collaborative approach ended the scourge of Polio in Nigeria.
A Competent Adviser
Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki was first appointed by President Olusegun Obasanjo, to serve as a Special Assistant to the President on Budget in 2000. He was responsible for preparing the 2000/2001 National Budget and equally initiated the Fiscal Responsibility Bill while also serving on the Economic Policy Coordination Committee, where he was responsible for the formulation and implementation of key economic policies.
NATIONAL LEADER OF THE PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP)
Dr Saraki has built a formidable base for the People’s Democratic Party in Kwara state and the North Central region, as he led the party to become the majority party in the Kwara State house of assembly and helped all the federal legislators from Kwara win on the platform of the PDP.
As Chairman is Governors Forum, Dr Saraki was responsible for a seamless transition of power between president Obasanjo and Late President Yaradua.
In 2014, Dr Saraki played a strategic role that brought different political heavyweights from 4 major parties together to form the All Progressive Congress, which went ahead to win an historic election in Africa.
Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki has built his profile as a unifier in the People’s Democratic Party and was responsible for the reconciliation of both factions in the Osun State PDP which led to a victory for the party in the Osun Gubernatorial election on September 22nd 2018.
He was also instrumental in paving the way for 2 Governors, 12 Senators and 32 members of the House of Representatives to join the party, strengthening the PDP’s position as it prepares to return to power.
He has contested twice for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the two previous elections.
Dr Saraki is a leader who is respected and loved by Nigerians across political divides, ethnicities and religions.
- Initiated the Fiscal Responsibility Bill
- Served on the Economic Policy Coordination Committee
OTHER AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
- Waziri of Ilorin
- First Special Assistant (Political Aide) in the history of Nigeria to attend FEC meetings after showing his capacity and competence as a key adviser.
- First serving Governor to be awarded the national honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) 2010.
- ‘Governor of the Year’ by This Day Newspapers 2004
- Harvard Business School Africa Club Award 2005
- Kenneth Kaunda Foundation Best Governor in Africa 2006
- Outstanding Governor on Energy 2009 by the Nigerian Compass
- Award of Excellence in Development of Education and Health Care Delivery in Nigeria by the College of Medicine, University of Lagos 2012.
- Prior to being appointed by the President Obasanjo, Dr Saraki was appointed to the board of Society Generale Bank of Nigeria, was also the Executive Director, under his leadership, the bank was the first in all of West Africa to introduce the use of Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Dr Saraki in the 80’s built a successful property development company that serviced a number of reputable international companies, especially in the oil and gas sector, due to the quality of their buildings. Dr Saraki’s company was also a leader in the commodity business as his companies traded in Sugar, rice, fertilizer and much more. Dr Saraki also owns a manufacturing company in the food and sector.
Dr. Saraki is a consummate sportsman. In 2004 he founded the Abubakar Bukola Saraki Football Club. The club was promoted to the Nigeria Premier League at the end of the 2009–10 season.
The club has since been a rallying point for youths across Nigeria to express their talent, a good number has been selected to play abroad over the years.
Dr. Saraki is married to Toyin Ojora-Saraki, a lawyer and Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBF-Africa) and they have four children.
“Good news from Nigeria. Thank you to @bukolasaraki and the Senate! Malala Fund welcomes the recent amendment to Nigeria’s Universal Basic Education Act, extending the right to free education from nine years to 12 years for all children” Malala Yousafzai & Malala Fund
“As Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (in 2009) his intervention then was a turning Point” in the fight against polio in Nigeria” – Bill Gates
“Before now, the children in the camp had to learn under makeshift sticks and grass tents…his donation went to building the classrooms for the camp and paying for teacher salaries. This has ensured that the children now have a more conducive learning environment” — Survivors In Support of Education
“Your Excellency, we commend your leadership as well as your unflinching commitment to the entire process that led to the passage of the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act 1955 Repeal and Re-enactment Railway Bill, 2016. This definitely marks a very significant milestone in Nigeria’s history and further demonstrates the role of our legislature in the nation’s economic development.” — Nigeria Economic Summit Group
“The President of the Senate Abubakar Bukola Saraki committed to ensure 1% of the Consolidated Revenue Fund is included in Nigeria’s budget to strengthen primary healthcare. Political will at all levels is needed for #HealthForAll” — WHO
“Due to the intervention of His Excellency, the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki who through his love for the suffering masses displayed high level of statesmanship and sincerity of purpose by putting some machineries in place with a view to permanently resolving the issues in contention” — JOHESU