OPINION: Why Buhari appointed Gbemi Saraki as a Pro-Chancellor. By Mohammed Abdulkareem
First, the appointment is symbolic in many respects. Of the over 50 people appointed so far into various federal boards by the present administration, Gbemi was the first and only indigene of Kwara State who has had the rare privilege of an inclusion so far. But as if this was not enough, Gbemi also got an unsolicited privilege of talking for and on behalf of all those inaugurated same day at the auditorium of the National University Commission (NUC), Abuja. And she gave a good account of herself in the midts of countless professors with intimidating credentials, captains of industry and notable political figures! If this is not a reflection of the level of respect and confidence Mr. President has of Gbemi Saraki, I wonder what it is.
But how did she come about this appointment? So many people, particularly Kwarans who have keenly monitored the quite but impactful rise of Gbemi Saraki have consistently asked why she ended up in far away Otuoke as a Pro-Chancellor. The answers are not farfetched.
One, since she joined public life several years ago, Gbemi Saraki has consciously and deliberately dedicated herself to a life of educational philanthropy. For someone who cherishes scholarship and favours merit over mediocrity, Gbemi has consistently awarded scholarships in several millions of Naira to young and brilliant Kwara youths. From 2003 till date, Gbemi has awarded scholarships in excess of N100 million. Of this sum, I know I have assisted to supervise the disbursement of close to N20 million in scholarships for law graduates who were proceeding to the Nigerian Law School and recently to students who went abroad in far away Sudan for graduate courses in Islamic Banking, Modern Dawah and Sharia Law. I was also directly involved in the coordination of scholarships to over 50 brilliant but indigent Kwara youngsters who have just finished their first semester examinations in far away International Institute of Education, Kangere, Bauchi State, a UNESCO assisted College of Technical and Non-formal Education.
Still on scholarship, Gbemi Saraki has become a big name within the circle of school proprietors in Kwara and even beyond. I know as a matter of fact that she has some biases for schools like Adesoye College, Offa; Roemichs International College, Ilorin; Iqra College, Ilorin; Flora Nursery and Primary School, Ilorin; Nigeria-Turkish International High School, Abuja; Lead British School, Abuja; Funtaj International College, Abuja and a host of others that space may not permit me to mention. Mention Gbemi Saraki in these schools and they will regale you with testimonies of her enduring legacies in the education of otherwise deprived or less privileged pupils.
However, the most intriguing of it all is that she bothers less about the look or creed of the beneficiaries of her gestures. It is instructive that Gbemi Saraki didn't know I benefited from her scholarship scheme some 10 years ago as an undergraduate in the University of Ilorin. It was in the same year that the likes of Barristers Oniye Shauib, Sanusi Taofiq, Basambo Aliyu, Issa Abdullahi and Ali Jubril to mention but a few benefited from a merit-based scholarship scheme. These set are all doing great in their area of callings today, and I am sure won't forget the gesture by Gbemi in a hurry.
Gbemi appreciates education; she believes that it is the only viable empowerment you could bequeath anyone. She believes in the ability and the energies of youths in the transformation of any society. It is little surprise that she surrounds herself with brilliant and energetic Kwara youths who she mentors and nurtures to higher grounds. Need I say more?
That's why for someone who has monitored her trajectory over the last few years, I am not surprised about her appointment as a Pro-chancellor to an academic institution. Whether it was mere coincidence or providence at play, what is not in doubt is that President Buhari has only succeeded in taking Gbemi to her first and only love – education. From me and all of us, this is wishing GRS a memorable and fulfilling sojourn in the lands of the Jonathanians!
Mohammed Abdulkareem writes from Ilorin
Click on a word/phrase to read more about it.
Buari Edun Soffiyyallah Kamaldeen Gbugbu Kawu Odolaye Aremu Plat Technologies Aremu Odolaye Simeon Ajibola Taiwo Joseph Isiaka Saka Opobiyi Labaeka Jimoh Olusola Imam Ohoro Of Shao KWIRS Savannah Centre For Diplomacy, Democracy And Development Elekoyangan Yusuf Olaolu Ali Gbemi Saraki Ogbondoroko Mohammed Danjuma Mohammed Kamaludeen Olatunji Bamgbola Onikijipa Gafaru Olayiwola Olorisade Basit Olatunji Daud Adeshola Muideen Olaniyi Alalade NTA Ilorin Segun Adeniyi Babatunde Idiagbon NaAllah Durosinlohun Atiku Garuba Alikinla Shittu Ilorin East Apaokagi Yeketi Musa Alhassan Buge Emir Of Ilorin Maigida Awodun Seni Saraki Radio Kwara Council Of The Wise SUBEB Muhammadu Gobir Quranic Recitation Competition Moses Salami Kayode Zubair Reuben Paraje Musa Ayinla Yeketi Oke-Ero Alagbado Florence Saraki Kudirat Arinola Lawal 2017 Budget Alimi Abdulrazaq Apaola Students Union Government Olusegun Adeniyi Centre For Peace And Strategic Studies Abdulganiyu Oladosu Ilesha-Baruba EFCC Oba Of Jebba Kwara State Government Ilorin East/South Federal Constituency Ezekiel Yissa Benjamin Olusola Saraki Bureau Of Lands Oniwasi Agbaye Sherif Shagaya Abubakar Abdulraheem Kola Ologbondiyan Kishira Transition Implementation Committee Sobi FM Kwara State Infrastructure Development Fund