Second Republic Senate Leader, Dr. Olusola Saraki, died on Wednesday after a five-year battle with cancer. Saraki, who died in his 42 Cameron Road, Ikoyi, Lagos home, was 79 years.
Olaolu, his youngest son, spoke to reporters at his father’s residence as the deceased was being prepared to be flown to Ilorin, Kwara State, for burial.
His remains were later interred at his Ilofa, Ilorin home at about 6.20pm.
Olaolu said the former Senate Leader died “peacefully”.
He said, “My father was very comfortable at his last moments. He was actually fine this morning but he had been battling with cancer for about five years. He was ill for a while but he recovered.
“He died around 6am after he had said his prayers. He was with my mother, brother and two sisters at the time he died.”
The eldest son of the deceased and former Governor of Kwara State, Bukola, said his father lived an exemplary life.
He said the family was sad about his death but did not provide information on his father’s health status.
Bukola said, “We are sad but we take solace in knowing that our father lived an exemplary life of service and selfless devotion to the development of his people and nation.
“We give praise to God, who gave and has taken. My father lived a great life. He touched many lives. We are all proud of the life he lived because he fulfilled many dreams. Baba will be sorely missed. We pray for the repose of his soul.”
The Kwara House of Assembly immediately adjourned sitting for eight days in honour of the late Saraki.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Speaker of the House, Rasaq Atunwa, announced the adjournment at the plenary session after announcing the politician’s passing.
Atunwa, who ordered the suspension of all matters in the order paper, described the death of Saraki as “a rude shock”.
One of the legislators, who paid tributes to politician, described him as a “political calculator and algebra in Kwara politics”.
The member, representing llorin East Constituency, Hajia Nimata Ibrahim, her counterpart for Ekiti Constituency, Mrs. Ebun Owolabi, wept profusely on the floor of the House.
In their condolences, they described Saraki as a father who contributed immensely to their careers.
Other lawmakers, including Action Congress of Nigeria member, representing Ojomu Balogun Constituency, Tope Layonu, prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest.
The House later adjourned sitting till November 22.
The Assembly flag was lowered at half mast after the adjournment as a sign of respect for the late politician.
Meanwhile, eminent Nigerians witnessed the interment of Saraki.
Among the dignitaries were the Speaker, House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal; Minister, National Planning, Alhaji Shamsudeen Usman, who led the Federal Government’s delegation; Minister of Internal Affairs, Abba Moro; and the. Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Alhaji Lamido Sanusi.
Others were former Sports Minister, Chief Jim Nwobodo; ex-Minister of Defence, Alhaji Haliru Bello, and ex-Gombe State Governor Danjuma Goje.
Saraki’s body arrived at the Ilorin International Airport about 4.30pm aboard a chartered plane belonging to Overland Airways.
The corpse, accompanied by the children, had arrived the Lagos airport at about 3:30pm.
It was later driven to the Ilorin Eid prayer ground where prayers were offered for the deceased at about 5.05pm.
A large crowd thronged the arena while many supporters of Olooye struggled to catch a glimpse of his corpse.
Bello said the country had lost a rare gem with the death of Saraki.
“Saraki’s death is a great loss not only to Kwara State, but the entire country,” NAN quoted him as saying.
Bello added that Saraki was a great man who had left a legacy of commitment and benevolent philanthropy behind.
A member of the House of Representatives, Ali Ahmad, said the state and the entire nation had lost a rare gem.
He said the late politician gave all he had to the people of Kwara State