Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki
Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
The Senate saturday asked the Federal Government to name Ilorin Airport in Kwara State, after the late former Senate Leader, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, for laying the foundation for the country’s political evolution in 1979, which the seventh Senate is currently building upon for the entrenchment of democratic principles in the country.
Senate President, Senator David Mark, added that the upper legislative chamber would embark on a solidarity visit to his family, government and people of Kwara State.
Senate Majority Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, while moving a motion for the debate, said the seventh Senate received with grief the sad news of the death of Saraki, whom he said, had remained one of Nigeria’s most distinguished senators.
Tracing his political career, he said: “Saraki was elected into the Constituent Assembly in 1977, which prepared the nation for democratic rule in 1979. When political parties were formed preparatory to return to civil rule, he became the foundation member of NPN. “He contested the Presidential nomination but lost to Alhaji Shehu Shagari.”
Underscoring Saraki’s political prowess, Ndoma-Egba said: “Undeterred by his loss at the primaries, he worked relentlessly for the success of the party and was persuaded to contest the senatorial seat for Ilorin Asa senatorial constituency of the Ilorin which he won.
“He was unanimously elected Senate Leader by all the parties at that time.”
Senator Abdul Ningi, in his contribution, noted that the late Saraki was a man of the people not only in his home, but in several states across the country, adding that different cadre of people especially the less privileged besieged his house for one thing or the other.
He said: “I have not seen anybody that people would rally around without hindrance than Saraki.”
He said: “He was the major force behind the success of the Arewa Consultative Forum, from where he formed the Northern Union (NU), adding that he was the founder, the leader and the financier of NU while single handedly steering the union until he died.”
On his part, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, was full praises for the late former Senate leader.
In his contribution he stated that the late Saraki was not a religious fanatic.
He said: “We all should learn from the life of this man, given the plurality of our society, he came from an Islamic background, yet with the course of life he got married to a Christian woman in his Islamic house without forcing that woman to become a Muslim.”
“What an example to the rest of Nigerians that all of us can live in peace and together whether irrespective of your religion in good conscience.”
The senator stressed that the late Saraki exemplified where all Nigerians should live together in peace with one another.
In the same vein, Senator Smart Adeyemi said, the late Saraki contributed in no small measures towards the socio-economic and political emancipation of the people of Kogi and Kwara States.
He said: “The late Saraki was a bridge builder between the North and the South, more importantly he was a bridge between which the downtrodden people had a passage to influence, economic freedom and liberty.”
Senator Adeyemi stated that nobody within the two states of Kwara and Kogi has contributed to the development of both states like the late Saraki did.