Twenty years is a long time by any measure. For Dr Bukola Saraki, 20 years is just like yesterday. No doubt, he’s often been reminiscing of the young man of yore who saw the terrifying terrain of politics and vowed to someday conquer it. With a family whose stronghold over Kwara politics seemed unshakeable at the time, Saraki must have seen the huge chasm between where he was and where he wanted to be as nothing to be discouraged over.
Twenty years on, the former lord of the Kwara manor has not quite gone back to square one, but he has quite a lot of free time on his hands. Perhaps more free time than he would have liked. If the supporters of the former governor of Kwara State had their way, their principal would right now be in Aso Rock, rather than Ilorin. He would have been engaged in deep discussion on policy matters, rather than engaged in a shouting match with the Kwara government over distribution of instructional materials to schools.
Saraki began his political career back in 2000 when he was appointed as Special Adviser to President Obasanjo on Budget. With his father, the late strongman of Kwara politics, Abubakar Olusola Saraki still in his pomp, it was only a matter of time before Bukola ascended the state’s executive seat. He did do with a minimum of fuss in 2003, going on to rule the state until 2011.
With job done in the north central state, and the pond too small for a big fish like him anyway, Bukola cast his eyes on the big ocean of central power. His sister was eased from her seat and he claimed the Kwara Central senatorial position in 2011, winning reelection in 2015.
It was then that the nation got their first real view of Bukola’s skill, daring and political nous. In an infamous scheme that still leaves many stupefied even to this day, he somehow emerged the president of the Senate, against the wishes of his party and the presidency.
Even though he surprisingly lost his reelection bid this year, anyone who knows anything about Saraki in particular, and the Saraki clan in general, wouldn’t bet against the former number three citizen making a grand and triumphant return to the centre of things in the not-too-distant future.