Throwback/Oluremi Tinubu at 63: “Asiwaju’s eyes magnetised me!”

Senator Oluremi Tinubu and President Bola Tinubu

*President Tinubu eulogises her on X(Twitter)

*Sanwo-Olu congratulates the First Lady

*Why First Lady Oluremi Tinubu Deserves To Be Celebrated At 63 – Lagos Assembly

President Bola Tinubu wrote on Thursday, wishing the love of his life happy 63rd birthday.
In his words: “My trusted partner in every venture, and the one special person who has consistently filled my days with joy and laughter over 36 amazing years.

Today is not only a day to mark another year of your purposeful life but a beautiful reminder of the journey we have embarked upon together.

Through all these years, we have shared in the uncertainty of dangerous, but principled stands against tyranny. Many can not fully appreciate the sacrifices you made for us during that harrowing, dark era, but I do and always will.

President Tinubu and his wife, Oluremi

We have experienced adventure, love, and laughter. We have celebrated victories, and we have wrestled down the monster of defeat, and we have done all in an inextricable bond.

Our bond has only grown stronger through thick and thin, and our love and commitment to each other has only deepened with time.

Thank you for being the ever-present sunshine that brightens my darkest hours.

Your kindness, your wisdom, and your inner and outer beauty continue to amaze me more each and every day.

As we celebrate your birthday, I want you to know how profoundly grateful I am for your serene presence in my life.

I look forward to many more years filled with even greater laughter and love as we continue on this path together, which God Almighty had predestined for us.

May the Good Lord, whom you serve with all your heart, continue to bless you with good health and longevity.

Happy birthday, Iyawo Mi!

Love always,

Also, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has congratulated Senator Oluremi Tinubu, the wife of President Bola Tinubu, on the occasion of her 63rd birthday. He described Senator Tinubu, a former First Lady of Lagos State and now First Lady of Nigeria, who will clock 63 on Thursday, as a passionate and kindhearted leader who has impacted many lives positively all through her journey in public life.

Governor Sanwo-Olu in a statement issued on Wednesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Gboyega Akosile, described Senator Tinubu, a former three-term member of the Senate, as an advocate of social justice, a philanthropist and a voice of the voiceless.

He said, “On behalf of my wife, Ibijoke, the Government and the people of Lagos State, leaders and members of our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), I heartily congratulate Senator Oluremi Tinubu, the wife of our leader and President, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on the occasion of her 63rd birthday.

“Senator Oluremi Tinubu deserves to be celebrated, especially on her birthday, given the quality service she has rendered to our dear State and to Nigeria in different capacities both in private and public service.

“Over the years, our Amazon, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, has etched her name in gold as an advocate of social justice, a philanthropist, a voice of the voiceless, kindhearted Lagos State First Lady, performing Distinguished Senator and now the Wife of the President, working and supporting the President with her Renewed Hope Initiative.

“Senator Oluremi Tinubu has played critical roles in the growth and development of Lagos State and Nigeria, thereby setting examples for other women in leadership and governance.

“Since Asiwaju Bola Tinubu became President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on May 29, Senator Oluremi Tinubu as First Lady has impacted many lives positively through her pet project, Renewed Hope Initiative, which has brought succour and relief to many families.

“She is a good ambassador of Lagos State and we are proud of her achievements at the state and national levels. On this 63rd birthday of Senator Oluremi Tinubu, I pray for continued God’s guidance and good health for her. God will give her the strength to render more service to humanity, Lagos, and our dear country, Nigeria.”

Also, members of the Lagos State House of Assembly have celebrated with the First Lady of the Federal Republic, Senator Oluremi Tinubu on her 63rd birthday.

The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, who directed the Clerk of the House to transmit a letter congratulating the First Lady on behalf of the Assembly, described Oluremi as a wonderful woman whose doors are always open to Nigerians in need.

“As a former First Lady of Lagos State, she continued and upgraded the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials, COWLSO, which is today appreciated far and wide.

“Her New Era Foundation lifted thousands of people, including widows, promoted and encouraged educational empowerment through the Spelling Bee competition that have produced many ‘One-Day Governors’ in the State.

“As Senator, she stood for Lagos in many capacities making the State proud of her.

“As the First Lady of Nigeria, she has continued with her strides for the well-being of others with unquantifiable compassion and zeal to help the less privileged, the challenged and those in need. She is doing this successfully through her Renewed Hope Initiative,” Dr. Obasa said adding that her philanthropic gestures have helped to build hope and motivated people.

He prayed for long life and health for the First Lady and her family.

Earlier, Hon. Omolara Olumegbon, who raised this on the floor of the House, appreciated Senator Oluremi for her achievements while she was First Lady of Lagos and in her capacity as the Grand Patron of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO).

Hon. Olumegbon also recalled how the First Lady touched lives while she served as Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

She described the First Lady as a mother, philanthropist, politician and patriotic Nigerian.

While Hon. Joseph Kehinde extolled her as a woman who loves widows and children, Hon. Olotu Emmanuel commended her for always helping people.

Hon. Mosunmola Sangodara described Senator Oluremi Tinubu as a woman of strength who is also God-fearing.

According to her, the First Lady is “a humble person who respects people irrespective of their ages. She is a woman to emulate for the support she has always given President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”

Meanwhile, the House also commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his achievements in the last 100 days in office while urging for equitable distribution of palliatives in the form of social amenities across the country.

The lawmakers expressed satisfaction with the President’s effort to ensure the economy is stabilised despite the removal of subsidy.

“When people are appreciated, they tend to do more and in the case of Mr. President, there have been changes in all sectors of the country.

“The country is witnessing the achievements of President Tinubu. We also need to ensure that people who are in need of the palliative enjoy it the most in terms of more input in transportation, health, agriculture, and education,” Speaker Obasa said.

 When her husband turned 60 in March 2012, TheNEWS did a special publication on him, entitled, “Asiwaju, Untold Story of The Leader…” She was among the people we interviewed for the publication. Below is the interview that ADEMOLA ADEGBAMIGE and BAMIDELE JOHNSON had with Oluremi that year. One question that we asked was about her marriage with Asiwaju: “What attracted you to him?”

She looked at us straight in the face and opened her eyes wide for demonstration of what she wanted to say:

“I saw his (Asiwaju Tinubu’s) eyes and thought he has very kind eyes. That was one of the things that attracted me to him. I believe that from the eyes, one can know the mind of a person. I think he got me with his eyes; they were very kind and penetrating eyes and that was how we started. He was serious about his job and had lofty plans for the future. He didn’t say things you would hear from most guys when he met me. He just said: ‘I don’t have a lot of money, but I love to help people.’ So I thought that we had to cut the chase and was ready to settle down for the real business. I just thought that somebody was trying to introduce me to a journey and I concluded that it was a journey I wanted to be part of. I am generous in my own little way and from that angle, I thought it would be quite interesting to go along with.


Read the full interview below, entitled:

I fell for Tinubu’s Eyes


How would you describe Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as a man, husband, father to the children?

As a man, he is very courageous and hardworking. He is also very loyal to his friends and always ready to sacrifice himself for others. Describing him as a husband is going back into the years, because we have been through different things in life, which we grew and adjusted to. He knew what he wanted from the beginning, but I had a different picture of things when we got married. But as time went by, I was compelled to adapt. I believe that as one lays one’s bed, so one lies on it. It took a while for me to adjust, because my concept of marriage and expectations were high, but with time, I was able to settle down and understand what marriage was all about. I wrote about my early experience in marriage in the little coffee table book I wrote sometime ago. He later became my best friend. I love him a lot, and I think he loves me, too. If he didn’t, we would not have come this far. So, the feeling is quite mutual. I respect him and can call him a good provider. He loves himself and his family. I have come to understand that love is a basic ingredient in a marriage and the moment I started understanding the concept of love, I began to understand more what living together entails. With him, I have found the love of God and the concept of love in its totality, and I can say that I have found a place of rest and fulfilment. He is not a man that complains and has a huge heart for forgiveness.

How did the love affair begin?

I know that is what most people want to hear, and it is quite strange. Initially, I felt like an alien from another planet. It was my sister who introduced me to him. He was a friend to the family even before he travelled abroad. Then, I had already graduated from the university and had started working. My sister became worried that I was always keeping to myself; I am naturally not an outgoing or sociable person. I love fashion and love to dress well. She match-made the two of us and we didn’t really have a long courtship before we married. I realised that it was a relationship that required seriousness and not one to play around with. For me, it is either a relationship is working from the beginning or not. He saw me and thought that I was a wife material. I was interested, too, and realised that he had a good job.

The Oluremi Tinubu interview pages


Was it love at first sight when you met him?

The first thing to know is the attraction that brought the two of us together. Though I didn’t remember who he was any more, my sister tried to remind me. I saw his eyes and thought he has very kind eyes. That was one of the things that attracted me to him. I believe that from the eyes, one can know the mind of a person. I think he got me with his eyes; they were very kind and penetrating eyes and that was how we started. He was serious about his job and had lofty plans about the future. He didn’t say things you would hear from most guys when he met me. He just said: ‘I don’t have a lot of money, but I love to help people.’ So I thought that we had to cut the chase and was ready to settle down for the real business. I just thought that somebody was trying to introduce me to a journey and I concluded that it was a journey I wanted to be part of. I am generous in my own little way and from that angle, I thought it would be quite interesting to go along with.

Did you at the beginning nurse any fear that his outgoing nature could predispose you to some hurt?

At that time of my life, at 25 years, I was quite confident of myself. There are a lot tricky things when going into a relationship. Yes, I thought to myself that I was gorgeous and all that, but as time went by I realised that those things didn’t really matter when both parties settle down to a real relationship. I am quite homely and not the jealous type and I think it really helped. I believed that it was enough to feel love for him. He was really an outgoing type and a disc jockey. He was telling somebody sometime ago that he was really ‘bad’ in those days.

Did you face any competition for him?

I didn’t compete for his heart. I don’t do competition. I am very confident of who I am. I think he had some people he was dating, but he felt he had met the right woman when he met me. I wouldn’t say I really competed with anyone to have him. If there is anything I hate, it is fighting over a man and an environment where such is happening. I always believed that the way a woman presents herself to a man is the way the man sees her. He showed some respect at the time and I felt that was adequate. I wasn’t the type that would barge into a man’s house uninvited. So, whenever I was going to see him, he usually knew I was coming. My mother equally warned me about barging into a man’s house without invitation and that was the advice I took from home and applied in my relationship.

TheNEWS special publication on Asiwaju Tinubu at 60 in 2012

Did anyone put some pressure on you to reconsider your position on the basis of the difference in your religion?

 Yes, my dad did. Though I was born into an Anglican family, I wasn’t a born-again Christian and wasn’t really the church-going type. We were raised as Christians. One of the things my dad told him when we visited him was not to stop me from being a Christian. I can tell you now that I am a better Christian now because of my relationship with him. I would say that I know God more now than before. Maybe I would have been drawn away from the things of God if it had started as a lovey-dovey affair. He was a man who is set in his ways and knew where he was going; unlike myself, who was just playing with life and didn’t know my right from my left. With that, one needs a balance and I can say that it became a plus for me to know more about God, which has helped in stabilising my home.

How did you react when your husband told you he was leaving the corporate world for politics?

 You know things just don’t happen. When I met him, I met him with a lot of people. His house was always full of people and he told me from the beginning of our relationship that he loved to help people. I was always the one to entertain them, and would always want to stay away in the television room. He knew I loved my privacy. He married me when he was in the corporate world, which was steady and peaceful; it was fun attending banquet with him. He was moving up the ladder in his career and the future was bright. But with a lot of political inclinations and mama’s influence, you would know that anything could come in anytime. He was always sponsoring politicians before he eventually joined in. It was very difficult for me to adjust to the fact of people coming into our house when he became a politician, but it didn’t make much difference because I met him with a lot of people at the beginning. So, it became my duty to welcome people and he would always remind me to make them comfortable. While I did all that, I was never scared of new challenges and that is one of the things that have made the marriage quite interesting. I always like new things and became tired of the boredom I used to feel when he was still in the corporate world. Though we had a very memorable and interesting life when he was in the corporate world because he had numerous corporate friends. It was a setting where you mixed with them and their families. But with politics, it is a breakdown of order. I would say that at the end of the day, I am at peace with it. Now, I feel life has more meaning. We came with nothing into this world and we would die with nothing when death comes. So you share whatever you have with people around you. Life is about sacrifice.

How did you cope with his frequent absence from home when he went into politics full-time?

I can’t say that it is not challenging. It was not easy, but I learnt to take the challenges as they came and adapted to them. It is like a hurdle that one needs to scale. I tried to show understanding. One of the traumatic experiences of that time was during the 1993 elections, when men of the State Security Service invaded the house to pick him up. They surrounded the house. I was ill, but managed to look out from the window and I had never seen such terrifying men like that in my life. I was about 32 years old then and I wondered what kind of life that was. Quickly, I dismissed the thought, when I considered that he was fighting a noble cause. I supported him since I knew he was fighting for the truth and justice. I asked myself if I would want him to support a bad government and carry on as if everything was fine or fight for the cause of the people. Right there and then, I knew he was on the right path and resolved to live with the situation. It was difficult and I didn’t know what would come after. After then, we fled the country into self-exile for five years.

 How were you ferried out of the country?

That is one experience I don’t like to talk about, because it was the most traumatic moment of my life. It was very traumatic, but I would talk about it because two of your bosses, Mr. Bayo Onanuga and Dapo Olorunyomi were in exile with us at the time. It was not the most pleasant time I can talk about. I returned when he became governor, but many people didn’t know I had returned. The trauma of that time affected me psychologically and I had problem remembering names and faces of people I knew before we went into exile.

What pet name does Asiwaju call you?

He has always called me Remi, but now, he calls me mummy and I call him daddy. My husband is very down to earth and not the lovey-dovey type. He is a soft man, though he hides his emotions. On several occasions, he forgets my birthday. He even does funny things on Valentine’s day because he knows I like Valentine’s. But he would just come, analysing who Valentine was and all the story behind him to the extent that he messes the day up for me. Asiwaju would purposely forget my birthday. I was set in my ideas about marriage, but he made those ideas crumble in his own way. I would say that we have to be together on the 31st of December, because I had this funny belief that the first person one sees on 1 January is the person one would spend the rest of the year with. See how twisted I was! But it is different with this man. I have a lot of people who share him with me. It was not like that before he became a politician. He would always remember my birthday and other important events. We don’t have a private life anymore because he is always surrounded by a lot of people. On some occasions on my birthday, I would just excuse myself and stay in my room, and he would leave the people quietly when it is midnight, to say happy birthday to me. He would come upstairs and pretend as if he wants to use the toilet or bathroom, just to make sure he doesn’t miss saying happy birthday to me when it is exactly midnight. He knows how sensitive I am to such things. So, he tries to bend backwards in his own way. I believe there is a strong love between both of us and also subscribe to the saying that love suffers long and conquers all things. Even when I advise couples, I always emphasise that love endures and has to be made strong.

You have stepped into your husband’s former shoes. As a senator, you now leave him at home for the National Assembly in Abuja. How have you been able to manage that?

 Someone recently asked me how I feel leaving him at home to go to the National Assembly and I explained that our lives have always been devoted to service. My husband isn’t the type of man to live at home. There is so much that needs to be done, if one truly believes in turning the society around. I believe there is so much everyone can do in that respect. It is very tough for me going to Abuja and home for me is where we live and where my family is. Abuja is never home for me. It is hard though, and it must have been hard on him, too. He is used to having me where he feels I should be. There are times he would tease me that it seems I have started enjoying Abuja. I remember one day we were speaking on the phone and I told him he shouldn’t make me choose when he raised the issue of Abuja. I told him that he knew that I would rather be home than be in Abuja. He stopped bothering me when I said that.

What is his eating habit like?

 Our eating habit is the same. We are not big eaters, but we eat anytime we feel like. If we really want to eat, we eat. We aren’t fussy about food. He always likes me to cook.

Did he cook for you in those days?

 He never cooked for me o! But on a particular day while we were abroad, I was surprised that he knew how to prepare yam flour. I came home from church on a particular day and saw a used pot with residue of pounded yam stuck to it. I first wondered if anyone had come into the house to fix his meal when I was absent. But I later found out that he did make the yam flour by himself. He tried it again and I discovered that he was better than me at doing it. You could still see little lumps if I made it, but he does it so smoothly. I also remember that I have had to tell him to take his plates to the kitchen after eating, while I took care of the kids and other chores. It got him angry, but he later did it. He is not a man any woman can push around because he would do whatever he wants to do in his own time, and at his own pace. And that was the only time I ever said that.

 What is his typical day like?

He is a very busy soul, who always finds something to do and believes there are needs to be attended to in the society. He wakes up early to read his newspapers and listen to the news. I remember during our days in exile that he would always mention to me that I wasn’t reading the papers, but I didn’t know how to convey it to him that I was still traumatised.