Many a time, when we hear the name Bukola Saraki, the next collocations that immediately come to mind are banker and politician. This is not a surprise given the reputation the man has amassed for himself over time.
But there is the need to examine Senate President Bukola Saraki in yet another role: that of a husband. This is especially because Saraki has been spouse to one woman for 27 years of his life.
Abubakar Bukola Saraki is married to Toyin, the daughter of Otunba Kunle and Erelu Ojuolape Ojora. The couple both come from affluent, political backgrounds as Bukola’s father, Olusola Saraki, was a respected statesman in Kwara as well as the Senate leader in the second political era of Nigeria.
Despite the peculiar challenges that comes with this wealthy beginnings, the duo have been able to keep their marital life out of the spotlight while yet going strong for about 27 years now.
In a recent interview with Kemi Asefon of Love Haven, Toyin Saraki revealed the one truth that has kept her marriage to the politician still standing: she has never for once seen herself the way others thought she should. According to the founder of Wellbeing Africa Foundation, she wasn’t a wife to the former governor of Kwara state neither was she a wife to the current Senate President of Nigeria, rather she was wife to her ‘husband’.
In this sense, Toyin submitted to supporting her husband in his political pursuits and shouldering the responsibilities that come with being a wife to a man of his status. Bukola Saraki’s wife also added that doing these meant making huge sacrifices:
“I never for one moment felt like ‘a governor’s wife’ because when my husband and I got married, he most certainly was not a governor and I reminded myself of this whenever I felt things were getting out of hand! Being a governor’s wife then and now a Senate President’s wife, was/is a responsibility, not a lifestyle, for a finite term of years, and with it, for me, came huge sacrifices which I was honored and humbled to make in support of my husband’s political leadership."
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Even more, Toyin, who is also a Global Ambassador of the International Confederation of Midwives, said being a woman of her own without the appendage of being Saraki’s wife has also helped in building a strong foundation for her marriage.
Hence, while she loves her husband and acts the role of a wife to him, she also picks up strong convictions to care about the people around her, the environment she lives in, the community with which she interacts.
Highlighting on the controversies surrounding them as a family, Saraki’s spouse of 27 years, she had no issue defending herself on issues of personal integrity and will cling to the truth. She also admitted that being in a position like the ones she and her husband had been placed meant vulnerable to certain things:
"There is no level, no matter how high one may attain that will ever shake my conviction that one must cling to the basic truths of life. With blood in my veins and a heart that loves truth, I have absolutely no hesitation in defending myself on any matter of personal integrity. I was brought up, as an Ojora, to face battles squarely, I don’t run away from issues. Of course there were times that I was under attack because often, people judge by their own standards and misconceived assumptions. The fact is that while position may protect, position can also render the occupant more vulnerable.”
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Talking about her daily life as wife to the politician, Toyin had this to say:
“My daily life has always been an interesting mix of contrasts, the daily challenge of balancing my purpose as a mother and wife with the derivative duties imposed by marriage to a spouse in high office.”
Without doubt, this difficult task performed by her is eased with the fact that Bukola Saraki is a romantic who, despite the long years of marriage, does not hesitate to buy gifts for his wife and send flowers to her even on Valentine’s day.
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