Before the 8th Assembly came to be led by a fresh face of Federal politics, Dr Bukola Saraki, there was another member of his clan running that scene for 12 years without excessive fanfare. Gbemisola Ruqayyah Sathe other politically inclined offspring of second republic Senator and unforgettable “godfather” of Nigerian politics, Olusola Saraki who died in 2012.
She’s studied Economics at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom and then began her career at the National Bank of Industry and Commerce as a youth corper. She moved to the Societe Generale Bank where she rose to become the Head of Domiciliary accounts before she went on to head Ashmount Insurance as an Executive Director.
This was all before her foray into politics, a 12 year journey where she participated in law making on behalf of Nigerians. She started small in 1999 as a lawmaker in the lower chambers representing Asa/Ilorin West Federal Constituency. A position she attained on the platform of the All Progessives Party (APP).
She only served for a term there as she moved to the Peoples Democratic Party, along with her father and brother, Bukola Saraki. In 2003, she contested and won a seat in the Senate to represent the Kwara Central Senatatorial district under the PDP umbrella. She contested a second time and succefully in 2007 but by this time her ambitions were more alligned with local politics.
There are unconfirmed rumours that she’s wanted to contest for the position of Governor in Kwara as opposed to her second term in the Senate but that glory went to her brother, Bukola who finihed up his 8-year run in office as the Kwara State Governor.
In 2011, it became apparent that she really wanted to be governor as she joined her father in his new party, Allied Congress Party of Nigeria and tried to get into the Governor’s office in Kwara. She was terribly defeated by her brother’s protege, Abdul Fattah Ahmed, who is now rounding up his second term as Governor in the State.
This event marked the most popular period of Gbemi’s run in active politics. There was political term-long feud between herself and her brother that did not ease up even when theyu had to make the mandatory public appearance at their father’s funeral in 2012.
Beyond that, the Senator has mostly had a favourable time in the media. Also an awfully quiet one too especially since 2015 after the Emir of Ilorin reportedly helped the two Saraki politicians end their feud in 2015.
She resurfaced in 2016 when the President apointed her the Pro Chancellor and Chairperson of the Federal University in Otueke, Bayelsa State. It was a most surprising appointment and many would argue that it was just a manifestation of the goodwill and restored relations between Gbemi and her brother who had by then become the Senate President.
There are however others who have argued that the appointment into the education sector was inevitable and solely on merit because what many Nigerians do not know is that Gbemisola Saraki had spent her political career pursuing educational endeavours and had offered more scholarships to Nigerian students than the press knew to publicise.
It also bears mentioning that she’s now a memeber of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Whatever that’s worth.
She has managed to stay too private for our comfort since than and we wonder what the former Senator has been up to or may be cooking up ahead of 2019.