Dr. Bukola Sarak
Former Governor of Kwara State and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment, Dr. Bukola Saraki, turned 50 today. He was born on December 19, 1962 to the late strongman of Kwara politics and Second Republic Senate Leader, the late Dr. Olusola Saraki.
Saraki has to his credit bills, as well as motions, that have redefined issues in Nigerian politics today.
His concern for the future of the economy of the country amongst others had prompted him to raise the famous motion, which led to the probe of oil subsidy regime in the petroleum industry in the country.
And the nation is still grappling with the fallouts from that singular act of courage.
Saraki himself subsequently became a target of harassment. But he has remained steadfast in the belief that if Nigeria would have a future, leaders must lead with honesty and must be prepared to render account to the people.
The motion in March 2012 led to revelations of monumental rot at the heart of the nation’s oil and gas industry.
Saraki’s motion was well researched and articulated. His findings revealed that N240 billion (or N20 billion monthly) was allocated for the implementation of the fuel subsidy policy in the 2011 Appropriation Act.
Out of the N20 billion monthly allocation, N11.2 billion was voted for Domestic Fuel Subsidy (NNPC) and N8.8 billion for Domestic Fuel Subsidy (Market).
Although N20 billion was set aside for subsidy on a monthly basis in the 2011 Appropriation Act, the total sum of N165 billion was expended in August 2011 of which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) got N88 billion and independent marketers N77.7 billion.
The former governor revealed to the Senate that although N240 billion was budgeted for the entire year, while the sum of N931 billion was spent as at August ending, translating to a variance of N771 billion or 700 per cent above the budget.
In the first three months of the year, both NNPC and the independent marketers did not exceed N62 billion monthly.
Out that within the last three months, the figures had ranged between N150 billion and N186 billion.
Afterwards, the lid was blown open and the ripples are still on till date.
As governor for eight years, he was adjudged a success especially in agriculture, which he revolutionised in the state, education and healthcare delivery.
He also led the Nigerian Governors Forum, as its chairman, into perhaps the most formidable and credible political platform in the country.