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Why we are converging 1million match for Saraki—Oba

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No fewer than one million people are expected to match in solidarity for the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, the convener, The Olanrewaju Oba Youth Forum, Mr. Olanrewaju Oba, has said.

Mr. Olanrewaju Oba who stated this in Ilorin on Thursday while speaking with journalists noted that  the match which is billed to take place in Ilorin on Saturday is meant to support Saraki’s presidential ambition.

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The Olanrewaju Oba Youth Forum (TOOYF) welcomes you all to this gathering. We thank you for creating time out of your busy schedules to grace this media chat which has become necessary to inform you of our plans in the next few days.

The Olanrewaju Oba Youth Forum is a Kwara-based Forum that represents the interest of Kwara State Youths and Kwarans in general. The forum has over the years carried out several developmental projects in the state, ranging from providing food for indigent inhabitants of the State, offering scholarships to various students in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, empowerment of individuals among several others. This forum consists of young and vibrant individuals with the convener, Mr Abdul-Mojeed Olanrewaju Oba, a major stakeholder in the Kwara State.

The forum will on Saturday, September 15, organize a Mass Rally in support of our amiable Leader, the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki.

The significance of this mass rally is to sensitize the great people of Kwara, and seek their support towards the Presidential aspiration of Dr Bukola Saraki in his quest to salvage this Nation from its current political, social and economic challenges.

Furthermore, the essence of this mass rally is to paint a lucid picture and send a strong message to Kwarans in diaspora and the generality of Nigerians, signalling the overwhelming acceptance enjoyed by Saraki in his home state. As they say: Charity begins at home.

Words alone cannot do justice to the wonderful achievements of Bukola Saraki. This great man has left indelible legacies in all positions he has found himself and his impactful contributions to all facets of service to the nation and humanity at large, will always be remembered and appreciated by posterity.

Abubakar Bukola Saraki was born on 19 December 1962 to the family of Olusola Saraki, a senator and a one-time Senate Leader of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his mother Florence Morenike Saraki. He attended King’s College, Lagos, from 1973 to 1978, and Cheltenham College in the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1981 for his High School Certificate. He then studied at the London Hospital Medical College of the University of Londonfrom 1982 to 1987, where he obtained his M.B.B.S.

Saraki worked as a medical officer at Rush Green Hospital, Essex, from 1988 to 1989. In 2000, President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Saraki as Special Assistant to the President on Budget. During his tenure, Saraki initiated the Fiscal Responsibility Bill. Saraki also served in the Economic Policy Coordination Committee, where he was responsible for the formulation and implementation of several key economic policies for Nigeria.

In 2003, Saraki ran for the office of governor of Kwara State under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and won. He was sworn into office in May 2003. He ran again for re-election in 2007 and won his second term. As governor of Kwara, he led reforms in agriculture, health, education, finance and environment policy. One of his major achievements was inviting displaced white farmers from Zimbabwe to Kwara State and offering them an opportunity to farm. This led to the establishment of Shonga Farms programme, which is now being replicated across Nigeria. He was also appointed as the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ forum.

Power generation and Electricity
Under Saraki, Kwara became the first state to complete the Nigeria Independent Power Project. In collaboration with the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, Saraki re-energised the Ganmo Power Station at Ilorin, and connected over 3750 rural communities to the national grid through the development and installation of 725 transformers and 7 substations. Kwara also completed 4 electrification projects which meant power became stable 18–22 hours a day. 90% of people living in Kwara have access to electricity, compared to a national average in Nigeria of 30%.

Primary health care
While in office, Saraki introduced new health programmes, including a state-wide campaign in 2008 to reduce maternal and child mortality from malaria. This included distribution of insecticide-treated nets and free malaria drugs to pregnant mothers and to children under the age of five. A statewide programme of hospital development was also implemented, leading to the redevelopment of hospitals in Afon, Patigi and Lafiagi. Other measures included improved training and re-training for medical staff; refurbishment of hospitals and staff living quarters; and employment of qualified medical doctors and other health workers. Many of the primary care programmes were sponsored by international agencies such as WHO and UNICEF.

Agriculture and farming
Saraki introduced agricultural policy reforms to increase the commercial viability of farming, and also the volume of exports to international markets. The New Nigerian Farmers Initiative was designed to improve the technical capability of farmers and to ensure farmers had a significant financial stake in new investment in agriculture. The scheme utilised the under-used agricultural expertise in the Zimbabwean farming industry, and worked with Zimbabwe’s Commercial Farmers’ Union to identify highly skilled farmers able to support Nigeria’s farming industry and to move to Kwara and develop the farming industry. A commercial hub was also developed to build capacity support training for the indigenous farming community.

Infrastructure development
Saraki led significant and state-wide infrastructure development, including improvements at the Ilorin International Airport Cargo Terminal, extensive road construction, and development of new sporting facilities such as Kwara Football Academy. The State has an ongoing goal of a logistics and cargo hub in Nigeria.

Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum
Saraki became chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum in 2007. Under Saraki’s Chairmanship, a reformed Forum was established, with a fully resourced secretariat, with a technical and administrative division that was entirely focused on delivery. Under Saraki’s chairmanship, new processes such as the State Peer Review Mechanism were developed to ensure closer working and collaboration, and that best practices could be shared between states. The mechanism allowed case studies to be shared between states in a number of policy fields including power projects, primary healthcare centres for villages and other rural locations, roadworks, water, solar schemes and the construction of specialist hospitals and state universities. Projects such as these had previously remained undisclosed.

Polio immunisation and the Immunisation Leadership Challenge

The Forum developed better and more extensive polio immunisation in Nigeria. A key part of this was the introduction in 2011 of the Immunisation Leadership Challenge. The Challenge was designed to reward states in Nigeria that made significant improvements in polio and routine immunisation coverage by the end of 2012.

Observing the effects of the election cycle, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation drove the challenge – launched in partnership with the NGF – which pledged to award US $500,000 to states that met a pre-defined threshold of improvement. The overall objective was to fast-track achievement of the milestone of interrupting further transmission of the wild polio virus in Nigeria. The grant would be used to support governors’ top health priorities, including malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV prevention and treatment, safe drinking water and hygiene programmes. The Gates Foundation also promised to match contributions by states to their chosen health project up to US $250,000. By the end of 2012 the number of polio cases dropped by about 50%.

The NGF and Global Development Partners
Under Dr Saraki’s chairmanship a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) have been signed, including but not limited to the World Bank, DFID, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GAVI, UNICEF, UNDP.

Senatorial Career of Dr Bukola Saraki
After two term tenure as governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki ran for the office of Senator, representing the Kwara Central Senatorial District. He won, succeeding his sister, Gbemisola Saraki-Forowa. He was appointed as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology.

A major highlight during his spell in the Senate was the motion he successfully pushed to end the fuel subsidy regime in Nigeria, which had been an excessive waste of the country’s national resources.

Senator Saraki has campaigned extensively on health, food security, education and the environment. He has argued for strengthened laws on the clean up of oil spills. His National Oil Spill and Detection and Response Agency Amendment Bill seeks to ensure oil companies pay appropriate levels of compensation to communities affected by oil spills.

Saraki intervened in the lead poisoning crisis in Zamfara State in 2010, and has supported the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, which ensures safe and healthy methods of cooking for millions of Nigerians while conserving the environment through reduced deforestation. He has been a lead campaigner in the areas of desertification and climate change in the Senate and across Nigeria.

Saraki sponsored a motion on the floor of the Senate to end Nigeria’s fuel subsidy regime. Other motions and private member bills he has sponsored include the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency Amendment Bill 2012, which was aimed at putting a halt to oil spills in the Niger Delta, the Gas Flaring Prohibition Bill 2012 and the Climate Change Commission Bill 2013.

After his re-election in the 2015 general elections, Saraki was on 9 June 2015 elected unopposed as President of the Senate by an across-the-party alliance comprising PDP and APC Senators.

Senator Bukola Saraki and a delegation of senators visited Maiduguri, Borno State on 3 August 2015 to get an on-ground assessment of the damage done in the north-eastern part of Nigeria by terrorist group Boko Haram and to give hope to internally displaced persons. The delegation was the first of its kind by the leadership of the Senate since the insurgency began.

These are some of the great achievements of Dr Bukola Saraki in the various positions he held in service to his fatherland.

If Bukola Saraki emerges victorious in the 2019 general elections, Nigerians should expect exemplary leadership, impactful service and result-oriented representation. Government will be brought to the doorsteps of all individuals and every person will be able to say- with a chest-beating assurance- that he/she benefitted immensely from having Saraki as the president of this great Nation.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen of this enviable state of harmony, I present to you a noble man; an exemplary leader; an impactful figure; a man of timber and caliber; of gusto and panache; a man on a mission to salvage our dear country from its precarious state and make it the true giant of Africa, not just on paper but in all facets of reality. Let’s support Bukola Saraki to take Nigeria to greater heights.

I also use this medium to enjoin all of us to attend the Mass Rally in full force in honor of Senator Bukola Saraki. I believe that we all deserve a better Nigeria that we can be very proud of.

Thank you and God blessing

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