Bukola Saraki is a well-established Nigerian politician who has actively served in numerous high-ranking positions in the country. As such, he has not only acquired popularity but also wealth. The Kwara State-born politician has over the course of his career accrued for himself a net worth allegedly estimated to be in the regions of $2 billion. He made his money mostly from his political positions and also his professional practice as a physician.
Under All Progressive Congress (APC), Bukola Saraki was the 13th senate president of the federal republic of Nigeria from 2015 to 2019 and Chair of the 8th Nigeria National Assembly. Previously, from 2003 to 2011, he was the governor of Kwara state and was elected to the senate in 2011 under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The political icon ran an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2019 but lost the primaries to Atiku Abubarkar. Read on to know more as we unravel his full biography and all the ways he made his money.
Profile Summary of Bukola Saraki
- Full name: Olubukola Abubakar Saraki
- Date of Birth: 19th December 1962
- Age: 59 years old
- Place of Birth: Kwara state
- Ethnicity: Yoruba
- Nationality: Nigerian
- Marital Status: Married to Toyin Saraki
- Children: Four; Oluwaseni, Oluwatosin, Teniola and Teniayo (twins)
- Education: Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
- Occupation: Physician, Politician
- Political party: Peoples Democratic Party
- Years Active: 2003- present
Bukola Saraki Comes From a Politically Grounded Family
He was born Olubukola Abubakar Saraki on the 19th day of December 1962 in London, United Kingdom. His parents Florence Morenike Saraki and Olusola Saraki were based in London at the time but relocated back to Nigeria shortly after his birth. His father Olusola Saraki was a one-time Nigerian senator who served from 1979 to 1983 under the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). Until his death on 14th November 2012 in Lagos, Olusola was an influential politician in the affairs of Kwara state.
Bukola Saraki was raised alongside two younger siblings as the oldest of the trio. His sister Gbemisola Ruqayyah is into an insurance business but is equally a seasoned politician. Gbemi as she is commonly called is currently the Minister of State for Transportation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari. She has held the office since her appointment on 21 August 2019. She was elected into the House of Representatives in 1999 representing Asa/Ilorin West Federal Constituency, Kwara State.
Bukola also has a younger brother called Laolu Saraki who was a former adviser to past Nigerian Presidents late Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. However, it seems Laolu went on a break from the political scene as he has not held any noteworthy position since in recent time. He currently manages his own company, Supreme Offshore, a marine service company.
Bukola Saraki is a well-learned man, he attended Corona School Victoria Island Lagos for his primary education and then moved to King’s College where he obtained his SSCE in 1978. Thereafter, he went to Cheltenham College, a public boarding school in England UK from 1979 to 1981. He proceeded to London Hospital Medical College of the University of London and graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS).
He Started His Career as a Medical Practitioner
Immediately after he graduated from the university, Saraki got a job to work as a medical officer at Rush Green Hospital, Essex, England London. He worked there from 1988 to 1989 and then resigned following a job offer he got in Nigeria at Société Générale Bank (Nig) Ltd. SocGen as it is commonly called is a French multinational investment bank and he worked there for a complete decade, from 1990 to 2000. While he was there, he rose to the position of Executive director overseeing the bank’s corporate development and other extension programs. Details of the salary he earned all through his days as a medical officer and banker are not public knowledge.
Saraki Got His First Political Appointment in the Year 2000
Bukola Saraki ventured into politics when former President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed him as a special assistant to the president on Budget in 2000. As an SA to the president, he was responsible for the formulation and implementation of numerous crucial economic policies in the country. Not quite long after that particular appointment, he gained popularity and enough visibility to vie for the state governor, and he won.
He Made Big Strides as the Governor of Kwara State (2003- 2011)
Bukola served as the governor of Kwara state two times under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) platform. He was first elected in 2003 against the former Governor of the state, Late Muhammed Lawal under the now-defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party. He was reelected in 2007 for his second tenure. As the governor of Kwara state, Bukola made so many notable achievements in almost all sectors. Some of his most notable contributions toward the growth of the state were his reforms in agriculture, finance, education, environmental policy, and most significantly the Shonga Farms program.
He created a community health insurance scheme and an environmental ‘Clean and Green’ scheme. He ensured agricultural transformation by turning the state into a net exporter of food instead of the usual net importer. Also, through collaborations with the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, he re-energized the Ganmo Power Station in Ilorin and connected thousands of rural communities to the national grid by installing transformers and substations.
Under his leadership, the health sector was highly improved. For instance, he distributed malaria prevention kits for pregnant women and children as well as mobilized a statewide campaign to reduce maternal and child mortality from malaria. Furthermore, Saraki’s regime saw the development of new sporting facilities and established the Kwara Football Academy. He renovated the Ilorin Airport to international standards and constructed the state’s first Cargo Terminal. Given his dedication and achievements, he was made chairman of Nigeria’s Governors forum in 2007.
Bukola as Member of the Senate (2011- 2015)
In 2011, following the completion of his two-term as a governor, he ran for Senator representing the Kwara Central Senatorial District. He won the election and succeeded his sister Gbemisola Saraki-Forowa. On resuming office, he was appointed Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology. Subsequently, he became a member of the Senate Committee on Capital Market and Finance.
As a senator, he established GLOBE Nigeria, an affiliate of the global Legislators Organisation, GLOBE International. Also, to ensure that oil companies pay all required compensation to oil spill-affected communities, Bukola promoted the national Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency Amendment (NOSDRA) bill. In 2015, he was reelected under APC as the president of the Senate.
He Served as the Senate President from 2015- 2019
In his office as the senate president, the seat passed 201 bills and cleared 138 public petitions surpassing the works of all his predecessors. The Senate under his leadership opened the NASS budget for public scrutiny, passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), and concluded the constitution amendment.
Some of the bills passed by the Senate under Bukola Saraki’s leadership include Financial Intelligence Unit Bill, National Transportation Commission Bill, The Whistleblower Protection Bill, the Witness Protection Bill, and numerous others. The house also saw the amendment of the Universal Basic Education Act and increased budgetary allocation to the UBE to 3%.
A Recap of all His Political Offices
- Special assistant to the President on Budget (2000)
- Governor of Kwara state (2003- 2011)
- Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (2007- 2011)
- Member of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2011- 2015)
- Appointed into the Leadership council of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (2012)
- President of the Senate (2015- 2019)
- Appointed the Ambassador-at-Large of the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC) (2019)
How Bukola Saraki Made His $2 Billion Net Worth
With many expensive properties and investments running in billions of naira, the former Nigerian senate president is allegedly one of the most popular and richest politicians present in Nigeria. Even though details of Bukola Saraki’s salaries through his various political offices are not known, there is no denying the fact that the salaries of Nigerian politicians are appealing and robust which would have been the case with his salaries too.
Currently, the annual salary of the Senate president of Nigeria is N2,484,242.50 with an allowance of N6.2 million. In addition, he receives 250 percent of his annual salary as Constituency Allowance and 300 percent of his annual salary as gratuity at the end of his tenure. Going by this, there is no doubt that Saraki’s earning power was chiefly his salaries as a politician, the massive allowances he receives, and the mouthwatering gratuity he rakes in at the end of each tenure.
Asides from politics, reports have it that Bukola Saraki’s most prominent properties include 5 companies namely Carlisle Properties & Investment Limited, BAS Trading and Manufacturing Ltd, Eficaz Ltd, Tyberry Corporation, and Better Foods Ltd company. He equally owns numerous landed properties scattered in various parts of Lagos, Abuja, London, and other places. Worthy of note is the fact that some of these properties were alleged to be for the development of the public by the Kwara state government but were sidelined and converted to his personal properties during his time as governor.
These along with his shares in other businesses both local and foreign whose value runs in millions of naira and pounds, and there is no doubt that Bukola Saraki’s alleged net worth of $2 billion is a true sum.
Awards and Recognitions
Since his active years in politics, Bukola Saraki has won innumerable awards for his contribution and influence in the political affairs of the country. He has been recognized, honored, and awarded both within and outside the states. He received one of his most outstanding awards in 2010 as the first serving Nigerian Governor to be awarded the National Honor of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON). Below is a list of others recognitions he has received.
- 2004- Governor of the Year, This Day Newspapers
- 2004/2005- Best Governor of the Year in Agricultural Development, City People KSNG
- 2005- Africa Club Award, Harvard Business School
- 2006- Best Governor in Africa, Kenneth Kaunda Foundation
- 2006- Man of the Year, Osun State Broadcast Corporation
- 2007- Grand Patron, Nigeria Referee Association
- 2008- Best Governor on Food Security, This Day Newspaper, 2008
- 2009- Life Fellowship, All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools
- 2009- Outstanding Governor on Energy, Nigerian Compass Newspaper
- 2010- Emerging Tiger of Nigeria (Leadership Award), This Day Newspaper
- 2010- Award of Excellence, Chartered Accountants
- 2012- Award of Excellence, College of Medicine, University of Lagos
- 2014- Good Ambassador of North Central Zone, Radio Television, Theatre and Art Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU), 2014
- 2016- Man of the 21st Century, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS)
- 2017- Outstanding Leadership Award, Governor of Kwara State, Abdulahmed Fatai
- 2018- Award of Excellent Leadership, Association of Maritime Journalist of Nigeria
- 2018- Outstanding Politician of the Year, Sun Newspaper
- 2019- Politician of the Year, New Telegraph Award
Bukola Saraki Has Survived Some Controversies Too
It was reported that Bukola Saraki took advantage of his position as the governor of Kwara state to acquire personal properties using government funds. The politician was embroiled in a corruption scandal in 2019 which alleged that two of his properties located at Plots No. 10 and No. 11 Abdulkadir Road, GRA, Ilorin Kwara state were illegally acquired using state funds. Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) strongly made the claims that the properties were acquired through proceeds of unlawful acts. The court battle which took some time came to an end when the Federal High Court in Lagos ordered that he forfeits said properties.
Saraki’s defense resisted the order and argued that the accusation was a political gamble by the EFCC in a cheap attempt to witch-hunt him. Delivering the final judgment in July 2020, the federal court judge justice Rilwan Aikawa said that Kwara state has no concrete evidence that led to the forfeiture order. Hence, he ordered their release.
Bukola Saraki had another big scandal in 2018 when he was accused of financing a bank robbery in Offa. The robbers broke into six banks in the remote town of Offa in Kwara state and killed nine police officers, some passersby, and a pregnant woman during their attack. The police were able to arrest five of them who then revealed that they were sponsored, armed, and funded by the Saraki. However, the former senate president dismissed the allegation saying that they were baseless, and was later cleared of all the allegations.