• Features
  • Updated: January 20, 2022

Life: Bukola Saraki, Physician Turned Politician

Dr. Olubukola Abubakar Saraki, popularly known as Bukola Saraki is a Nigerian politician under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The physician, born in London, the United Kingdom on December 19, 1962, has been notable in the Nigerian political scene for a little over two decades.

He was born to Olusola Saraki, a senator in the second Nigerian Republic and Morenike Saraki.


Dr. Bukola Saraki initially attended Corona School, Victoria Island, Lagos. He furthered his education at King’s College, Lagos from 1973 to 1978, after which he proceeded to Cheltenham College, United Kingdom and graduated in 1981.

The influential politician obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery (M.B.B.S) from London Hospital Medical College of the University of London in 1987

Post Education 

Having obtained his Bachelor’s degree, Dr. Saraki worked as a medical officer for one year (1988-1989) at Rush Green Hospital, Essex before he became the director of société Générale Bank (Nig) Ltd from 1990 to 2000. 

Senator Bukola SarakiSaraki was subsequently designated as Special Assistant to President Olusegun Obasanjo on Budget in 2000

Political Ambition 

The savvy politician in 2003, contested and won the governorship position in Kwara State, unseating the then incumbent governor.

He was re-elected in 2007, making him govern his state for eight years (2003-2011) under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Under Governor Saraki’s leadership, the state experienced growth and popularity throughout the country.

The establishment of the Shango Farm Programme and the completion of the Nigeria Independent Power Project in Kwara State are some of the major achievements of Governor Saraki’s government.

The state also experienced health and infrastructural growth.

While serving as the governor of the state, Bukola Saraki was appointed chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum in 2007, which was handy in strengthening his relationship with other governors, consequently promoting his national significance.

With Saraki as chairman, the Forum partnered with notable international organisations including the World Bank, UNICEF and DFID.

Senate presidency 

After concluding his tenure as governor, Saraki succeeded his sister, Gbemisola Saraki when he contested and won the election to become the Senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial District. 

Bukola Saraki

Subsequently, he was appointed the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology and also a member of the Senate Committee on Capital Markets and Finance.

Senator Bukola Saraki in 2013 pioneered the establishment of the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE) Nigeria, an affiliate of GLOBE international, making Nigeria the first West African country to join the organisation.

In 2015, Senator Bukola Saraki, under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) became the 13th Senate President of Nigeria, although unopposed.

His leadership recorded outstanding achievements including the passing of about 515 (172 by the Senate and  343 by the House of Representatives) of the 2166 bills introduced.

His leadership was agreed to be better than the last three leaderships of the National Assembly. 

The Senate, in December 2016, under the leadership of Dr. Bukola Saraki set up a Senate Committee on Legislative Compliance to control the accountability of Senators to their deadlines. 

In January 2018, the Senate also intervened in the issue of fuel scarcity in the country through its committee on Petroleum Downstream.

Senator Saraki lost his senatorial seat under the PDP to APC’S Ibrahim Oloriegbe in 2019.

He gave his valedictory speech at the plenary finale of the 8th Senate on June 6, 2019.

President ambition 

Dr. Bukola Saraki first declared his interest in the Presidency in 2011, under the PDP platform but stepped down for the northern consensus candidate of the party, Atiku Abubakar.

He declared his interest again in 2019 under the same party but lost to Atiku Abubakar in the primaries.

He was however announced as the director-general of Atiku Abubakar's presidential campaign for the 2019 presidential election.

The former Senate President is yet again determined to rule the country irrespective of his past disappointments as he has for the third time declared his interest in running for Presidency in the 2023 presidential elections under the same party.

Traditional titles

The former Senate President is a multiple traditional titleholders. He was in 2006, given the title of Turaki of Ilorin. He held this title till 2018 before he was turbaned as the Waziri of Ilorin, succeeding his father, Olusola Saraki for the second time.

Personal life

Dr. Bukola Saraki is married to Toyin Saraki, a philanthropist and the founder and President of Wellbeing Foundation Africa. Their union is blessed with four children; Oluwatosin, Oluwaseni, Teniola and Teniayo Saraki.

Bukola Saraki's familyDr. Bukola is one of the richest Senators in the country with an estimated net worth of $2 billion as of 2021. He has a lot of houses, cars and property to his name, one of which is a bulletproof Range Rover.

Bukola Saraki is to date, a force to contend with in the Nigerian political scene.

Compiled by Deborah Oyewole.

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Bolanle Akinlade
Bolanle Akinlade

I am a diligent, innovative, and detail-oriented individual, who thrives in dynamic environments.

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