By Oluwaseyi Oduyela
Dr. Bukola Saraki worked as a Medical Officer at Rush Green Hospital, Essex between 1988 and 1989. He was a Director of Societe Generale Bank (Nig) Ltd from 1990-2000. He was appointed special assistant to the President on Budget in 2000 and fired few months later.
Dr. Bukola Saraki was elected the Executive Governor of Kwara State in 2003 replacing his father’s former political godson, Mohammed Lawal. Commodore Lawal had fallen out with Olusola Saraki, and therefore, had to be shown the door with the active support and connivance of Obasanjo, Dr. Saraki was installed as the Governor of Kwara State.
By the time Bukola became Governor of Kwara State, he was the Vice Chairman of the defunct Societe Generale bank. While it may be a stretch to say that the bank collapsed under his stewardship, some argue that his family’s influence on the bank at the turn of the new century marked the beginning of the end of the bank.
About 10 months after the younger Saraki was elected Governor of Kwara State, the House of Representatives summoned then Central Bank Governor Joseph Sanusi to explain how Societe General Bank overdrew its capital base by eleven billion Naira (11bn) The then Central Bank of Nigeria Governor was issued an order on 3 March 2004 which gave him only seven days to give a satisfactory explanation regarding the bank’s activities. Curiously, no director of the bank was summoned by the House.
On 29 November 2001, Bukola Saraki bought a big mansion in London for four million, two hundred and fifty thousand pounds (£4,250,000.00). The house with title number, NGL805616, is located on 70 Bourne Street, London SW1W 8JW. The lease hold on the property was registered on 9 January 2002 with the land registry, Harrow Office. It was initially bought with a loan from Fortis Bank, SA-NV. The house has had a free hold as at 2005.
On March 20, 2003, the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were drafted to investigate some allegations of fraud at the SGBN perpetrated by the Saraki family. Dr. Olusola Saraki, his wife, Florence, son, Bukola, and 9 other shareholders were dragged to the NDLEA on allegations of money laundering.
They were accused of using depositors’ funds to buy shares at the ailing Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria, contrary to the Banking and Other Financial Institutions Acts (BOFIA). There were reports that the presidency intervened and the case never saw the light of the day. The money, which amounted to billions of naira, was moved from several bank branches in bullion vans. There are no records of these transactions.
The Societe Generale Bank was sent out of the clearing house in June 2003. By early 2004, the bank and its top management were accused of involvement in a thirty-seven billion naira (37bn) fraud. According to a report in businessdayonline, the bank was unable to account for seventeen billion naira (17bn) alleged to have been overdrawn from its accounts with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
People outside the political cycles in Abuja have wondered why nobody from the Saraki clan has been brought to book following the malfeasance at the Societe Generale Bank.
After serving the maximum two terms as a governor in Kwara his home state with the influence and political machinery of his father, Bukola moved against his father and openly disgraced the septuagenarian, a highly respected politician and former senate leader. He forced him out of the ruling PDP all in the desperation to install his stooge Mr. AbdulFatai Hammed who will be in the best position to cover-up his various misdeeds being his Commissioner of Finance while serving as a governor.
Bukola, has been a serial traitor and betrayal, his current acts are neither surprising nor unexpected of a man who eventually betrayed a party that gave him the opportunity to serve twice as a governor and once as a senator all within 12years.
His father’s betrayal, his role in the late Umaru Yar Adua’s government as a key member of the cabal that eventually hijacked the president as well as the betrayal of former President Goodluck Jonathan which was part of what eventually brought PDP to its knees can best describe the person of Bukola Saraki as a DISLOYAL, UNFAITHFUL and SELFISH individual who lacks team spirit.
His problem with President Jonathan forced him to decamp to APC.
Dr. Saraki, always driven by ambition knew what his new party, APC wanted and the party’s direction on the National Assembly leadership elections but was ready to jettison the party goal for his personal ambition. According to APC sources, the party decided to zone the Senate presidency to North East to compensate the region for delivering the second highest vote for Buhari in the entire Northern Region their votes for Buhari and for what they’ve suffered as a result of the Boko Haram attacks. Unfortunately, Saraki was more interested in his personal ambition and he betrayed his party on the pretest of fighting for the independence of the National assembly. Whereas the issue of election of leadership has always been that of the majority party’s decision.
Now that Saraki seems to have the power as the 3rd citizen of Nigeria, he is constitutionally eligible to be Nigeria’s president in the event of the impeachment of the president and his vice and since Bukola Saraki claim to be pursuing a publicist agenda at the senate there is urgent need for Mr. Senate President to submit himself for proper scrutiny in relation to various corruption cases hanging all over him which include: Societe Generale Bank Collapse and the CBN decision to write-off some of the bank’s indebtedness with tax payers’ fund before returning its license, dubious loan writeoff of over N11Billion in the books of Intercontinental Bank as well as the eventual hijacking of the bank, money laundering allegation into the United Kingdom and purchase of luxury houses therein, allegation of conversion of state assets to personal use among others.
Bukola Saraki will be doing the public a lot of good if he can submit himself for extensive scrutiny rather than obtaining frivolous court injunctions to prevent state prosecutors from investigating, interrogating, arresting and prosecuting him for crimes he committed.