In times like this – Bukola Saraki to the rescue

Nigeria is Africa’s largest exporter of oil, with an economy that relies heavily on oil revenues. Despite the huge revenue generated by the oil and gas industry, the majority of Nigeria’s citizens, especially those in oil producing areas, live in abject poverty.
For years, the petroleum industry bill (PIB) designed to reform the oil and gas sector and improve the social and economic fortunes of the people, was held spellbound, further worsening the woes and dashing the hopes of ordinary Nigerians. It would take the dogged efforts of a young, patriotic Nigerian, to bring this dream into reality.
As President of the Senate, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, led the National Assembly to unbundle the PIB into four components for easy passage – Petroleum Industry Administration Bill (PIAB), Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill (PIFB) and the Petroleum Host and Impacted Communities Bill (PHICB). In 2017, the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) was passed by the Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives in 2018, setting the tone for accountability and transparency in the oil and gas sector.
Bukola Saraki is committed to improving access to gas, through the domestication of Liquified Petroleum Gas, establishment of nationwide distribution systems, as well as the implementation of fair gas pricing methodologies, as contained in the national gas policy. He has also mapped out strategies that will increase investment in gas infrastructure and rehabilitation through concession, boost the LNG export from $7bn to $10bn in 3 years.
The effect of this is to cushion the hardship faced by households due to the skyrocketing price of gas.
Years after he left the senate, Bukola Saraki is not resting on his oars, and is poised to reposition the oil and gas sector for optimum productivity. Perhaps, it is his tenacity and grit – the stuff of doctors. A trained medical doctor with an undwindling commitment to quality healthcare for all, Dr Saraki’s action plan in the healthcare sector is poised to implement and achieve a 50% Health Insurance Coverage in the first 2 years of his administration and Universal Coverage (100%) in 4years.
His holistic strategies transcend the three tiers of the healthcare sector, with a review of the organizational structure of key agencies in the Ministry of Health such as the National Primary Health Care Development Agency’s (NPHCDA) and National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for optimal performance and the development of systems for integrating development sector (donor-funded) financing into the PHC system.
This will be an extension of his laudable contributions to healthcare in Kwara state as governor, which eradicated the Wild Polio Virus in the state, improved emergency services with state-of-the-art facilities across the state and the Community Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS) which provided quality healthcare services to the people of Kwara, especially those in the rural communities. Under his watch, the Nigerian Senate passed 16 health-related bills, including the National Health Insurance Act Bill (2016), which made lofty impacts in the lives of Nigerians.
Dr Saraki’s administration intends to invest heavily in physical infrastructural facilities – buildings, medical equipment, drug and other necessary medical consumables, provide incentives to encourage the local manufacturing of drugs in Nigeria, as well as develop policies that will improve capacity of medical officers and encourage the retention, to discourage the issue of brain drain.
Abubakar Bukola Saraki holds vast experience in leadership, administration, policymaking and democratic governance, garnered over his years of service as a former state governor, Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), Senator and later, President of the Senate – all of which will prove critical in understanding and presiding over a delicate and multifaceted society as Nigeria, especially as it currently wallows in troubled waters, in need of rescue.

Oladapo Abiodun writes from Lagos