Toyin Saraki, Still Charming at 50
It was not a political gathering, yet it was packed full with politicians. They came from across party divide, with chieftains of All Progressives Congress (APC) leading the way.
The 50th birthday of Mrs Toyin Saraki, was a fitting statement for the political status of her husband, the doctor turned politician Bukola Saraki, a two-term governor of Kwara State and a senator.
Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, was agog last Saturday as the Sarakis hosted the high and mighty. Senator Saraki stood beside his charming wife receiving guests who thronged the open field of the Kwara Hotels, venue of the prayer organised to mark her birthday. The Chief Imam of Ilorin, Alhaji Mohammed Bashir, officiated.
Many guests sporting the chosen Ankara fabrics with the celebrator’s portrait and name sat under the giant canopies on the open field.
The Chief Imam of the University of Ilorin Mosque, Prof AbdulGaniyu Oladosu, in his sermon, enjoined those in power not to use their office to corruptly enrich themselves but to serve humanity.
After the service, Mrs Saraki, who founded the Wellbeing Foundation while her husband was in office, presented empowerment tools to some people. She and her husband also cut her birthday cake.
A reception followed at the Banquet Hall at the nearby Government House.
An elated Mrs Saraki thanked God and the people of Kwara for the “wonderful” reception.
Senator Saraki said his family never expected the large turnout.
“We feel humbled for the large turnout of people and we are very grateful to God. It is a blessing to have this kind of ceremony and people come out to share their time with us. We thank the people of Kwara State and Nigerians for coming to share this special day with us,” he said.
APC National Chairman Chief John Odigie-Oyegun congratulated the celebrator.
“When I look at you, I see somebody of extreme excellence, as you have no excuse except to be excellent. A wonderful family yet married to another wonderful family and you look it in every way.
“Simple but elegant; humble but respectable; as a matter of fact, I got close to your husband before I really got close to you. When you see a man behave the way he does, you know he comes from a home that allows men to behave the way he does, otherwise, he would not do the things he does.
“Your husband is friendly, very humble and he is most helpful. He is one of the newest friends that I have made and one of those that I depend on most. Meeting you today is a joyful thing. I have met the other half, I don’t want to say the better half of a very great man. My wishes for you are that the happiness that this family brings to others, God will multiply it in your life. God will grant you long and healthy life,” Odigie-Oyegun said.
At the ceremony were Speaker Aminu Tambuwal; Governors Abdulfatah Ahmed (host); Rochas Okorocha (Imo); Adams Oshiomhole (Edo) and Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun).
Others are former governors of Ekiti, Osun, Ogun and Kogi states, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; Aremo Olusegun Osoba and Prince Abubakar Audu; business tycoons Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola.
Also there were the celebrator’s parents, the industialist Otunba Adekunle Ojora and wife, Ojuolape; the Sarakis’ matriarch, Florence Morenike; House Minority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila; House Committee chairmen on Media and Judiciary, Alhaji Zakari Mohammed and Dr Ali Ahmad; their colleagues Dr Ibrahim Rafiu and Alhaji Mashood Mustapha and former member of the House and activist Dino Melaye.
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