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Women You Should Know: Gbemisola Ruqayyah Saraki

 

Insurer, Politician, whatever Gbemisola has ventured into has turned to gold for her. Gbemi Saraki is an idealist and advocate of youth engagement and participation in social development.


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From her youth, she was blessed with direct access to people from all backgrounds and the issues that affect them. This early exposure and parental example would go on to determine her decision to enter into the field of politics and informs the approach of humility, empathy and tolerance that endears her to her constituents and colleagues to this day. Early in her life, she took more than passing interests in the lives of the people and she developed a deeper passion to make positive marks.

From a sterling academic foundation that saw her traverse the length and breathe of the world in pursuit of academic laurels to a rich background in the private sector as a banker and expert in insurance brokerage, Gbemi has carved a niche for herself as a technocrat of repute in Nigeria.

Background

Saraki attended the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom and earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics. She did her national service at the Nigeria Bank for Commerce and Industry, Lagos. She worked for the Societe Generale Bank (Nigeria) with the post of the Head of Money Markets and later as Head of Domiciliary Accounts.

From 1994 to 1999, she was Executive Director of Ashmount Insurance Brokers, Lagos. Her father is Abubakar Olusola Saraki, who was a leading senator of the Second Nigerian Republic (1979–1983) and father of politics in Kwara State.

Political career

Saraki was elected as a member of the House of Representatives in 1999 under the umbrella of the All People’s Party (APP).[citation needed] She ran under the umbrella of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) for the senate in 2003 and won the seat, representing the Central Senatorial District of Kwara State.

She re-contested in 2007 and won again, serving as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for eight years (2003-2011). In 2011, she contested in the gubernatorial election of Kwara State under the ACPN party, losing the election to PDP’s Abdul Fatah Ahmed.

As a legislator from 2003-2011, she was a member of several committees. At the Senate in 2007-2011, Saraki chaired the Senate Committee on National Planning, Poverty Alleviation and Economic Affairs. She also acted as Vice-Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs.

And quite naturally, after a successful stint at the National Assembly, GRS emerged as Nigerian Best Female Legislator, with the highest number of bills presented and got passed into law by any female in the political history of Nigeria.


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She built her unique political career on the core value of positive impact in the lives of her people and of course her state, Kwara. She headed different committees and she further enlarged her understanding of the dynamics of governance and the interrelationship with leadership as a fulcrum of building a better nation.

Among others, she was an active member of the following House Committees:

  1. House Committees on Aviation;
  2. Foreign Travel Habitat;
  3. Legislative Budget and Research Office;
  4. Navy;
  5. Privatization;
  6. Special Duties;
  7. Transport.

Apart from being the chairperson of the above-mentioned committees, she has also acted as Vice-Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and belonged to the following Committees:

  1. Media and Publicity;
  2. Women Affairs and Youth development;
  3. Environment and Ecology; and Public Accounts.
  4. Senate Committees on Commerce;
  5. Rules and Business, Police Affairs;
  6. Intergovernmental Affairs and Aviation.

She was also a returning member of the ECOWAS Parliament.

Legislative experience in the House and the Senate, chairing and membership of the divergent committees and a broad life experience has enabled GRS to develop a deep understanding of the critical issues confronting Nigeria.

She is a visionary leader who works tirelessly to improve the rating of our nation in key areas such as poverty, corruption, economic development, education, energy, health, agriculture, water resources and the empowerment of women and youths.

Senator Gbemi Saraki is blessed with extraordinary drive, stamina and a daunting work-ethic as evidenced by her legislative track record. This hard-working Senator has presented the following bills to the Senate since 2003:

  1. National Agency for Occupational Safety and Health (Establishment) 2004
  2. Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (Amendment) Bill 2004
  3. Protective Helmets (Mandatory Use) Bill 2004
  4. Legal Aid Council (Amendment) Bill 2004
  5. Existing Vacancies (Publication) Bill 2005
  6. Public Interest Disclosure Bill 2005
  7. Skills Acquisition and Development Trust Fund 2007
  8. Police Tax Fund 2007
  9. Coast Guard Bill 2007
  10. Anti-Terrorism Bill 2008
  11. Mortgage Regulatory Bill 2009
  12. Labour Act Amendment Bill 2009

Saraki was also a returning member of the ECOWAS Parliament. In February 2016, Saraki was appointed by President Muhammed Buhari as the Pro-Chancellor and Chairperson of the Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State.

On 13 February 2017, Saraki was also appointed as one of the 16-member committees to re-negotiate its 2009 agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

On 21 August 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed her as the Minister of State for Transportation.

Source:

Wikipedia

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Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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