Without a shred of doubt, patriotism is an ideal we often invoke to inspire citizens to give their best to their nation. And it is indeed a noble ideal, a potent force, a commitment that has transformed ordinary nations and people into global powers, one we must of necessity imbibe, individually, if we are to contribute our quota to nation building. But patriotism is latent at best, if not modeled by leadership.
The patriotic fervour that birthed America is a reliable example in this regard. The much-rehashed sacrifices of that nation’s founding fathers, who despite their relative wealth and comfort, put everything at stake to secure independence, and went to great extents to limit their own powers, created an environment of patriotism that lasted generations.
The rise of countries such as China and India can directly be attributed to patriotic leadership. Patriotism is defined amongst other things, as pride in a country’s values, culture and inherent greatness. The Chinese leadership officially expresses this sentiment as ‘aiguozhuyi,’ literally translated as ‘love and support for China,’ one that requires the subordination of individual interest to the pride and glory of the country. We see this sense of national pride and patriotism in the determination of the Chinese leadership to have China compete globally and excel in the comity of nations.
Fortunately however, in Nigeria, we have a man who has sacrificed all. A man of great patience and tolerance, his scruples border on the fundamental assumption that life is a selfless service in which there is more to gain in giving of one’s time, energy and resources than in being a docile recipient of its offerings.
Spurred by this, the revered Senate President, Dr Bukola Abubakar Saraki is not only detribalized in the true sense of it, but believes in the Nigerian enterprise and strives within acceptable codes to uphold the sacredness of the country’s values.
His visions are ennobled by his belief that the progress of society is predicated on qualitative leadership that aspires to enthrone enduring change through quantum developmental leaps, which has been profoundly demonstrated by him both in private and public service and assignments.
The Senate President has endured series of attacks and political bombardment from within a party he helped to create, while retaining a strong focus on his role as Nigeria’s number three citizen.
This is truly remarkable because since his election by his colleagues as the Senate President against the expectations of some APC big wigs, Senator Bukola Saraki has been, literally speaking, in the thick of the storm. He has been battling organised and openly hostile resistance within and outside the Senate by those that lost out in the leadership tussle.
Saraki has been the target of well-choreographed public, political and legal attacks fueled by powerful elements within the party, who have sworn to make him pay a huge price for no crime other than pursuing a justified ambition and accepting the mandate of his colleagues to lead them.
Yet, even the strongest critics of Saraki would agree that in his response to the series of attacks, provocations and humiliation that he has endured over two years, the Senate President has demonstrated uncommon humility, maturity and inclusiveness.
It is difficult to think of any other person in the political space right now who has been consistently mature and balanced in the face of such provocations. And the best part, perhaps, is that, beyond the noise and intrigues of politics, the Saraki Senate is leaving some strong legislative landmarks as its legacy.
Saraki knew early enough that despite the party’s initial refusal to accept his emergence, it will be unwise to engage the party in a public dog fight in spite of the overwhelming support from his colleagues. He has kept faith with this line of action. The Senate President has been reaching out to traditional rulers, opinion and thought leaders, youths, student union bodies, artisans, market men and women, respected political leaders, and individuals of repute both home and abroad with access to party and power circles to help intervene and mend fences so that an amicable and peaceful solution could be found to resolve many crisis bedeviling the nation.
Give it to this enigma and iconic brand in our political firmament, he has paid his dues and he is worth being a national leader of repute. Even in Kwara State when he held sway as the state Governor for 8 years, his meritorious and indelible achievements turned out to be benchmark for others.
Impressively, Saraki’s innovation and doggedness, continued under his able successor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, this obviously has paid off. Only visionary leaders make good succession plans, such is the trademark of Saraki. Whatever milestones Kwara has recorded today is a result of Saraki’s foresight.
A family man with only one wife, Dr. Toyin Ojora-Saraki, a healthcare philanthropist and the Founder-President of Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Dr Saraki is, undoubtedly, the architect of modern Kwara. Saraki’s success stories are backed-up with solid and comprehensive history of dedication and commitment to God, the Party and the People. May God grant him more grace in his fruitful life.