Honourable Minister of State for Transportation
Senator Gbemisola Ruqayyah Saraki
Affable, Urbane, Innovative Public Servant
Senator Gbemi Saraki was born on 3rd, May, 1965 and hails from Kara State, Ajikobi ward.
True to her belief that “what is a country but it’s people”, the first daughter of the indomitable Dr. Olusola Saraki; Senator Gbemisola Saraki, has dedicated most of her public life to advancing public advocacy for a great nation, youth education, community development and support for skill development to elevate people economically and socially.
Born to the legendary Kwara strongman, late Dr. Olusola Saraki, Senator Gbemisola Ruqayyah Saraki inherited and built the genes of patriotism, loyalty, diligence, humility and generosity from her late father. These traits define her political brand, and they illuminated her path to leadership.
The thousands of fans and supporters that trooped out to celebrate Senator Gbemi Saraki as Honorable Minister of State (Transportation) provided further testimony to her vast political universe. Even though Senator Gbemi Saraki would naturally have opted for a quiet celebration as a sign of her humility, thousands defied her sense of humility as the jubilation was indeed an attestation to the sterling qualities of Senator Gbemisola Ruqayyah Saraki.
Educated at the famous University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, Gbemi Saraki’s career has traversed banking, management, strategic planning, mining, and insurance prior to her joining partisan politics.
Her political career started in 1999, when Gbemi Saraki sought for and won the political ticket to represent her constituency of Ilorin West, Ilorin East and Asa Federal Constituency of Kwara State for the Federal House of Representatives, where she was popular on the floor for her forthrightness and unique blend of political inclusiveness of women, children and youth.
She championed empowerment of her constituency through several intervention programs, including state and humanitarian supports. She was an active member of the House, sponsoring and supporting several Bills that were instrumental to the evolution of our then-nascent democracy.
As an appreciation of her superlative political impact, the good people of Kwara Central Senatorial District overwhelmingly upgraded her political representation to the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2003. She won a second term easily and became a trailblazer with labyrinth policy initiatives in the Nigerian Senate, including serving as Chairperson of the Nigerian Senate Committee on Transport/Marine.
Senator Gbemi Saraki became the female-legislator with the highest number of Legislative Bills to her name in the history of our democracy. In 2007, Senator Gbemi Saraki propelled into national political prominence during the “Third Term” imbroglio of then-President Olusegun Obasanjo. She delivered a quintessential submission on the floor of the Senate opposing the ill-fated Third Term agenda. It was epic.
A heroine to democracy, no doubt. Affable but resolute.
She has an abiding passion for the grassroots, including her undying determination to lift people by providing succors to the less-privileged. Appropriately, she is fondly referred to as “IYA” (Mother) because of her caring attitude and motherly disposition to all. Hundreds of students finished their tertiary education (both home and abroad) by the grace of Allah through the benevolence of Senator Gbemisola Saraki. Her generosity and outreach cut across ethnic, religious, class and party divide.
Senator Gbemi Saraki has helped thousands through vocational opportunities, education, health-related challenges, and wealth-creation, while providing vast support to orphans, the destitute, widows, and the rejected in the society,
Gbemi Saraki remains till today a major force to reckon with in the political firmament of Kwara State and in Nigeria in general.
Senator Gbemi Saraki joined the All Progressive Congress (APC) in 2015 as she saw the inherent quality of honest leadership in candidate Muhammadu Buhari. She has remained true to the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC. In 2016, she was named the Pro-Chancellor of Federal University, Otu-Oke in Bayelsa State.
During the 2019 elections, Gbemi Saraki was a major grassroots mobilizer for the “Buhari 2019” reelection campaign and the recalibrated train of APC in Kwara. She was a principal organizer with several pro-Buhari organizations nationally. And to the glory of Allah, the party swept all the elective posts in Kwara state, including the Governorship, all National Assembly and State Assembly posts.
With her vast experience in Transport policy and administration, including serving as Senate Chairperson on Transportation/Marine, Senator Gbemi Saraki’s appointment as Honorable Minister of State (Transportation) is generally regarded by many as the right step in the right direction. Her appointment is a further vindication of President Buhari’s three-prong pillars to rebuild Nigeria and put our people at the pinnacle of prosperity within the comity of nations. Having served as Chairperson of Nigeria’s Senate Committee on Marine Transportation between 2007 and 2011, she is indeed a perfect round peg in a round hole.