Stongman of Kwara politics, Chief Olusola Saraki who died in the early hours of Wednesday at his residence at Nos. 42 Cameroun Road in Ikoyi, Lagos Nigeria has been buried according to Islamic rites. He died of cancer. He was 79. One of his sons, Olaolu Saraki told journalists in Lagos that his father had battled with cancer in the last five years.
He was later buried at his residence in Kwara State. Meanwhile Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State also declared Wednesday a work-free day to enable residents of the state to attend the Eid prayers as part of the burial rites. A statement from the state government signed by Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Alhaji Wahab Oba said a three day morning period has been declared across the state. Meanwhile well wishers have continued to speak on the death of the strong man who was born May 17, 1933. Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN), Alhaji Lai Mohammed described him as s true colossus, a man who politically defined his era.
In his condolence message to his Kwara State counterpart, Governor Fashola expressed sadness over the sudden passage of Saraki whom he described as one of the most vibrant, colourful and compassionate politicians Nigeria has ever produced. Tracing the political history of the man who is widely referred to as the Father of Kwara Politics, Governor Fashola noted that from the time he emerged in the nation’s political space in 1977 as a member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the nation’s 1979 Constitution, Senator Saraki had consistently impacted on the politics of the country with such effectiveness which made him a household name across the country.“The consistency of his political views, which he always expressed very eloquently, was, perhaps, responsible for the leadership positions which he held in both the Senate into which he was elected in 1979 on the platform of the now defunct National Party of Nigeria, the All Peoples’ Party of which he was National Leader in 1998 and the Peoples Democratic Party where his influence saw to the election of his son, Bukola, as Governor of Kwara State in 2003”, the Governor said.
According to Governor Fashola, “Indeed, Nigeria has lost a political giant whose counsel is most certainly needed, particularly at this period when our budding democracy is cutting its teeth and taking its challenging steps towards consolidation”. Praying for the repose of the soul of the Elder Statesman and that the Almighty Allah would grant the government and people of Kwara State, particularly the Saraki Family, the fortitude to bear the loss, Governor Fashola, who noted that the people of Kwara State would miss their great leader, however counseled them to take solace in the very rich political legacy which he left behind. Saraki was elected Senator of the Federal Republic in 1979 under the platform of the National Party of Nigeria and progressed to become the Senate Leader.