Abdul-Abdul pens farewell message to late Saraki’s mother

Journey Well Mama Saraki

By Abdulganiyu Abdulqadir

It came with mixed feelings; the death of Chief Mrs Florence Morenike Saraki. We were all basking in the euphoria of Eid-el-Kabir with vim and vigour when news filtered in that Mama Saraki had breathed her last. It was so spectacular, coming at a time when Ilorin stood still for her eminent son, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki. On that chosen day, Saraki’s Ilorin GRA residence was beaming with visitors from all walks of Kwara in particular. The visit at the time was not to commiserate with the family. The mammoth crowd gathered to celebrate the Sallah festivity and identify with an illustrious Kwara son, who obviously was also overwhelmed by the show of love and appreciation from his people.

Supporters cheering the 8th Senate President on Eid-el-Kabir day at his GRA residence in Ilorin

We were all drenched in that exciting mood. The atmosphere was electrifying with polyphonic rhythms emanating from songs and drums renting the atmosphere. People wined, dined, and danced. But the irony of life was at play; Mama Saraki, about 300 kilometres away, was already embarked on a journey of no return to her Creator – one that everyone will embark on at our chosen time. Since Mama bade the world au-revoir, the Saraki’s abode in Lagos has turned into a Makkah of sorts, as kinsmen, associates, loyalists, and prominent individuals from all walks of life have been visiting to commiserate with the famous family.

Mama Saraki’s demise is a glorious exit. She said a final goodbye at the ripe age of 89. That is coming 12 years after the family patriarch, Baba Oloye Olusola Saraki died. There’s no way we can tell the late Oloye’s story without making reference to the matriarch. She was with him through thick and thin, loving and supporting him till the end. I have before this day, listened to the story of the family associates, who at different times shared fond memories of how loving, accommodating, and motherly Mama was.

Those who were lucky to spend time with the duo narrated how they used to swamp the Saraki’s home morning, afternoon, and evening without seeing Mama develop cold feet. She was always affectionate and welcoming. Many even said she was a ‘sure route’ to reach Baba if you had anything bordering you and did not know how to handle it personally.

Just as they say, behind a successful man is a woman pushing him along. Mama was that woman. Her support for Baba Oloye was quintessential and second to none. It’s rare to be as popular and busy as Baba was and still have such a successful and integrated family. Many even assert that it’s almost impossible; you either choose one, citing several instances. However, the Saraki scions were an exemption. Mama supported Baba Oloye without allowing any of the factors to clog their union. For a big and influential family such as the Sarakis, mama was instrumental in keeping the family together.

President of Dangote Groups, Alhaji Aliko Dangote (GCON) on condolence visit to the 8th Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki (CON)

She indeed lived a fulfilled life. Not many in the history of the nation have been as fortunate as a woman to marry a man who became a senator and leader of the Senate, and then two offspring who also served in the hallowed chamber. Her son, Abubakar Bukola Saraki was not just a two-term Senator; he served as President of the 8th Senate. Mama’s eldest son was a Special Assistant on Budgetary Matters to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo when he served as President of the nation and also a two-term Governor in Kwara. Her daughter, Gbemisola Saraki was a member of the House of Representatives, before serving in the upper chamber for two terms. The gorgeous woman later became a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. What else can one live for? What else has Mama not achieved?

Late Mrs Florence Morenike Saraki with Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki and wife.

Mama Florence Morenike Saraki is worth celebrating for being an exemplary mother who raised armies that impacted the lives of millions. All her life, she extolled family values, showing love, giving hope, touching lives, and building bridges. The Sarakis have a legacy of philanthropy and Mama has been able to inculcate this in her wards, who today make sterling differences in the lives of the common man.

The death of the Saraki matriarch, therefore, came as a void but not a loss because she came, she saw and she conquered. It pains to see Mama depart this sinful world but we rejoice for a life well spent. Yes, she’ll be greatly missed, but we’ll live with a good memory of the glorious time she spent on earth.

Emir of Ilorin, Alh. (Dr) Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari’s delegation on condolence visit to the Sarakis in Lagos

I, thus, commiserate with our Leader and scion of the family, who I know will sorely miss Mama. I sympathize with the former Honourable Minister and other siblings over the loss of heroin. We must thank God that both parents lived to ripe ages and most especially lived impact-filled lives, engraving their names in gold and leaving behind a new family generation that has already inherited and is sustaining their good deeds. Their lives are also a renewed reminder to us all, that we all shall journey to the great beyond. What shall we be remembered for? Journey well mama; to your Lord.

Abdulganiyu Abdulqadir writes from Ilorin, Kwara State. He is the Press Officer on Local Matters to Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki

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