Senator (Dr.) Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Senator of Kwara Central, has experienced great success in both the private sector and public service of Nigeria.
Born on 19 December 1962, Senator Saraki was educated in both Nigeria and the UK, qualified and practiced as a medical doctor at Rush Green Hospital in London. A young Dr. Saraki decided to return to Nigeria in 1989 where he worked in the financial sector for nearly a decade until he rose to the position of Executive Director where he oversaw corporate development and expansion programmes within the financial industry.
In recognition of his experience and professionalism, the Federal Government of Nigeria appointed him as Special Assistant to the President on Budget in 2000 where he was responsible for preparing the 2000/2001 National Budget. Dr. Saraki equally initiated the Fiscal Responsibility Bill and served on the Economic Policy Co-ordination Committee, where he was responsible for the formulation and implementation of key economic policies for Nigeria.
With a vision to translate his experiences into progress and development for the people of his home state, Dr. Saraki was called upon by his people to contest for the position of Executive Governor of Kwara State. He was elected and sworn into office in 2003. Based on his performances and achievements witnessed by his people, and in demonstration of their overwhelming support for him, the people of Kwara State re-elected him in 2007 general election for second term in office. As Governor, Dr. Saraki garnered national and international acclaim for his innovative approaches to agriculture, health, education, fiscal policy and environmental reforms. His spirit of team work endeared him to his colleagues where he was appointed as Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum. In that capacity, he championed a peer review mechanism among the Governors of Nigerian states. He also used the platform to create a harmonious working relationship between the executive and the legislative arm of government at the national level. He was the first Nigerian Governor to be awarded the National Honor of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON). As a man of the people coupled with his level of achievements in the political arena, he was conferred and turbaned as a nobleman of high rank with a traditional title of Turaki of Ilorin Emirate.
His transformational programs have been praised and emulated within and outside Nigeria, such as his community health insurance scheme, environmental ‘Clean and Green’ scheme, agricultural transformation by turning Kwara State from a net importer to a net exporter of food through the Zimbabwean farmer’s project. Senator Saraki has worked tirelessly to bring progress and greater opportunity to Kwara State and the nation as a whole.
Impressed with his good performance during his tenure as Executive Governor of Kwara State (May 2003 to May 2011), his achievements have been noticed and acknowledged both locally and internationally by private and public institutions across the globe which earned him series of awards including: ‘Governor of the Year’ by This Day Newspapers (2004); ‘Best Governor of the Year in Agricultural Development 2004/05’ by City People, KSNG; Leadership Award in appreciation of commitments and outstanding leadership qualities (2005); Harvard Business School Africa Club Award 2005; Kenneth Kaunda Foundation Best Governor in Africa 2006; Osun State Broadcast Corporation Man of the Year 2006; ‘African Governor of the Year in Agricultural Development’ by African Union Media Group in Pretoria, South Africa; Nigeria Referee Association Grand Patron 2007; This Day Newspaper Best Governor on Food Security 2008; ‘The Friend of Nigerian Youth; Doctor of Science and Public Administration Award’ by University of Port Harcourt for his Administration’s focus on Agriculture; Life Fellowship of All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools, (ANCOPSS) 2009; Outstanding Governor on Energy 2009 by the Nigerian Compass; Emerging Tiger of Nigeria (Leadership Award by This Day Newspaper) 2010; Institute of Chartered Accountants Award of Excellence 2010; Nigerian Bar Association Award of Excellence; Award of Excellence in Development of Education and Health care delivery in Nigeria by the College of Medicine, University of Lagos 2012.
In furtherance of his passion to serve the people of Kwara State and in particular, Kwara Central Senatorial District where he hails from. Dr. Bukola Saraki was elected as a Senator in 2001 with overwhelming electoral votes. On his assumption as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he was appointed as the Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology. His legislative interest also includes the area of Health, Agriculture, Education, National economy and Environmental policy. Senator Saraki is also a member of the Senate Committees on Capital markets and Finance.
Out of his vision to ensure good governance, Senator Saraki sponsored a motion on the floor of the Senate on the need to end the fuel subsidy regime in Nigeria which has been a source of conduit pipe and wastages of national resources. Amongst other motions and private member bills, he has sponsored includes: the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency Amendment Bill 2012 which is aimed at putting a halt to oil spills in the Niger Delta, the Gas Flaring Prohibition Bill 2012, and a strong supporter of the Climate Change Commission Bill 2013.
As the Senate Committee Chairman on Environment and Ecology, Dr. Bukola Saraki has championed some environmental issues that need urgent attention in Nigeria which poses a threat to the environment, human health and livelihoods. Notable amongst them are his intervention in the Lead Poisoning incident in Zamfara state, Nigeria where over 1500 children’s’ lives are in danger of survival. He also supports the mission and vision of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves in ensuring safe and healthy methods of cooking for millions of Nigerians while conserving the environment through reduced deforestation