Senator Bukola Saraki in a statement issued today said his father, Dr Abubakar Olusola Saraki, Waziri of Ilorin, former Senate Leader, Second Republic, Federal Republic of Nigeria will be sorely missed.
‘‘Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return. We take solace in knowing that our father lived an exemplary life of service, and selfless devotion to development of his people and nation. Baba will be sorely missed,’’ said Saraki, the Senator representing Kwara Central and former Governor Kwara State.
He disclosed that his dad died in the early hours of today in Lagos.
“We pray for the repose of his soul that Almighty Allah grant him Al-Jannah Firdaus,’’ he concluded.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has urged Nigerians to emulate the late Dr Olusola Saraki’s “patriotic commitment to national unity, politics without bitterness as well as his magnificent spirit of philanthropy”.
In a statement in Abuja on Wednesday on Saraki’s death, Jonathan described him as a “consummate politician, an astute grass roots mobiliser, and a political colossus with awe-inspiring powers of political organisation”.
The statement signed by Dr Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, further said Saraki, who died in Lagos on Wednesday aged 79, “will be long remembered and eulogised as this public-spirited politician will always occupy a place of honour in the hearts of his people, supporters, friends and associates across the nation”.
He urged his family and the people of Kwara to be “consoled by the knowledge that their departed father, leader and mentor lived a very successful and fulfilled life, rising to national prominence by dint of hard work, uncommon generosity, political sagacity, dedication and wholesome commitment to the service of his people and the entire nation”.
In his tribute, Senate President David Mark said Saraki was a “political giant and a shining star” of Nigerian politics.
He said Saraki was a political tactician and political engineer who navigated the political environment like a colossus.
He noted that Saraki’s political sagacity had gone a long way to “midwife the modern day Nigerian politics”.
“Saraki was a political leader who stood to be counted when it mattered. He stood on the side of the people and worked assiduously for the liberation of the down trodden.He was a leader who lived and worked for others. We shall miss his fatherly counsel. We shall miss his candour, humility, and his robust political debate. He was one of our brightest and focused political leader”.
The Senate Leader, Mr Victor Ndoma-Egba, described the death of the Second Republic Senate Leader as the end of an era in Nigerian politics.
Ndoma-Egba recalled that Saraki tenaciously believed that democracy was the way to Nigeria’s greatness and its rightful place in the comity of developed economies.
He noted that his late predecessor was a consummate party man who was influential in formulating the legislative agenda of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in the Second Republic.
“A chapter in the history of Nigerian politics closed with the death, Wednesday, of the death of Senator Olusola Abubakar Saraki. Nigeria has lost a wealth of political experience with the passage of a great tactician and politician. He was a consummate party man who never deviated from the tenets of his party and was able to galvanise his colleagues to achieving the goals of the NPN in the Second Republic Senate.”
Also reacting to Saraki’s death, The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia) described Saraki as a true man of the people.
“He was a consummate politician, senator and a true man of the people. He epitomised what a grassroots political leader should be. Nigeria will miss him,” he added.
Gov. Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State described the death as an irreparable loss to political development in Nigeria.
Yuguda said the death had also created a vacuum that would be difficult to fill, adding that Saraki had gone with his wealth of political and leadership experience.
“It is a great loss and irreparable to political development in the country,” Yuguda said.
Yuguda said Saraki was also instrumental to the establishment of the present democratic dispensation through his strong stance alongside other eminent politicians in the country who fought against military rule.
Similarly, the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), on Wednesday expressed shock over the demise of its National Chairman.
“The death of our National Leader is shocking to the ACPN, although death is inevitable. He died at the most unexpected time and at the time his vast experience is needed in the political landscape of Nigeria,” the party said in a statement.
The party described him as “a patriot to the core, a statesman, a detribalised Nigeria, and the only apostle of politics of consensus.”
“The entire family of the ACPN commiserates with the immediate and political family left behind by the late statesman.
“We pray to Allah to grant him eternal rest and give the family fortitude to bear the great lost. May his soul rest in peace. ”
A former Minister of External Affairs, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, said he was saddened by Saraki’s death.