For the troubled former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, the fading lights of his political life seem to be coming on soon too soon. All through his four years reign as the President of the Nigeria’s Eighth Senate, it was a tumultuous era for the rambunctious politician right from the moment he was elected against the wishes of the All Progressives Congress, APC, a party on whose platform he was elected then, to his sensational arraignment at the Code of Conduct Tribunal and the ugly saga of the Offa armed robbery and murder sing-song. All these crises culminated with his brusque sack as Nigeria’s number one Senator, then from the entire senate and the total squashing of his political dynasty in Kwara State —his homestead where he and his supporters have given an impregnable status until last election— it has been a rollercoaster trail for him.
Of course, Bukola Saraki’s fabled enormous political power and influence go beyond him. It was an inheritance from his late father, Dr. Olusola Saraki, the second republic Senate leader. While alive, the Senior Saraki was seen as a tin god in the state as both rich and poor grovelled before him. He made and unmade people. He, it was, who dragged Bukola, his son, from the family’s defunct bank, Societe Generale, into politics and installed him as the governor of Kwara State. Eight years in office as Kwara Governor, Junior Saraki built his own power and influence, which made him to clash with his late dad who was cut to size in his lifetime. But what goes around comes around. Saraki was to get his own comeuppance with the humbling burst of his inflated political balloon during the last general elections. Immediately the eighth Senate ended, Saraki quietly embarked on self-imposed holiday, shuttling various western cities for a star-like lifestyle and attending sporting events. In June, he was in Canada where he paid a visit to Masai Ojiri at the Toronto Raptors training facility in Toronto, Canada. In September, Saraki and his sons, Seni and Niyi were at the Emirates Stadium, London to watch the match between Arsenal and Tottenham.
Penultimate weekend, Saraki flew to Los Angeles, United States to watch at the LA Arena NBA star, LeBron James play for Los Angeles Lakers. While junketing abroad, sources said it was an opportunity for the former Senate President to stay off the radar of the anti-graft agency who has launched investigations into his time as Kwara State governor and that of successor and political godson, Abdulfatah Ahmed.
As part of the ongoing investigation, the anti-graft agency in October approached the court and got an order of interim forfeiture of Saraki’s two properties located in upscale Ikoyi, Lagos. This week Monday, the EFCC also secured another order of the Federal High Court in Lagos for the forfeiture of another two houses in Ilorin, Kwara State belonging to Saraki. The EFCC told the court it uncovered monumental fraud perpetrated in the treasury of the Kwara State Government between 2003 and 2011, when Saraki was the governor of the state.
Meanwhile Spotlight gathered that one of the controversial Ilorin properties was built by the Kwara State Government pursuant to the Third Schedule of the Governor and Deputy Governor (Payment of Pension) Law 2010. But as expected, Saraki fought back against the order claiming it’s an abuse of the court process and a violation of a subsisting order of the Federal High Court in Abuja. “We will like to restate our earlier position that Dr. Saraki will contest this matter in the court at least to further attest to his belief in the rule of law, the sanctity of the courts and their enduring readiness to do justice in all matters and to all persons,” said his media team in a statement.
However, amidst all the brouhaha, Saraki, who is the Turakin of Ilorin, early this week still has every reason to be in an ecstatic mood as his daughter, Oluwatosin Halima made him a grandfather for the first time. She was delivered of a baby girl on Friday November 29, in a highbrow hospital in London. Since the baby’s arrival, Saraki has become so glad as announced by his delectable wife, Toyin, (nee Ojora), a lawyer and the Founder/President, Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA). It was gathered that Saraki has flown into London to see his granddaughter.
Tosin, it will be recalled in October 2017, got married to Adeniyi Olatunde Olukoya, the son of Omoba Adebola and the late Olori Olatokunbo Olukoya. The traditional and engagement ceremony was held at the Ballroom, Eko Convention Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, while the white wedding took place in Abuja, FCT. It was learnt that the thrill of being a first-time granddad has temporarily shifted the worries of Saraki from the troubles of politics and investigations by the anti-graft agency.