Oluremi Tinubu became the First Lady of Lagos State when her husband, Bola Tinubu, was elected as governor in 1999 after returning from exile following the intimidating junta of late General Sani Abacha. As first lady, she expressed her milk of human kindness and brought her humanity to the fore with the establishment of the New Era Foundation. The foundation was dedicated to establishing centres for “all round development of young ones and promote public awareness on environmental health and community service.” It also established the prestigious Spelling Bee competition for secondary school children. The prize was mind blowing including the offer of becoming the governor of Lagos State for 24 hours. This singular prize created many teenage governors for the Lagos State.
Tinubu can verily be referred to as a political fighter, taking her battles in the male dominated terrain with sure steady strides. It would be recalled that in 2011, when she was first elected into the senate, her election was challenged at the Legislative House Election Petition Tribunal, but she triumphed, launching her into the world of those who had to fight took and nail to retain their mandate. Since then, Tinubu has not looked back.
On her return to the Senate in 2015, she was one of only six women out of the 109 senators elected. At the 2019 general elections, she retained her senatorial seat representing Lagos Central, making it her third tenure in office.
As a woman of substance, who knows her onions, Tinubu has refused to hide under the huge influential apron strings of her husband, carving a niche for herself with and at every given opportunity. Apart from floating the New Era Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to youth development, girl-child education, women empowerment and inspiring young persons to excellence, she has carried out a number of philanthropic acts to alleviate the plight of indigent persons with special emphasis to girls and women in her constituency.
Hers is not just about being a mother, wife and lawmaker, Tinubu is an accomplished scholar, who has written quite a good number of publications. One of such is an auto-biography, The Journey of Grace – My FaithWalk.
She has capped her long list of achievements and contributions to societal development with copious honours and awards in the both local and international scenes.
Among these are the
National award of the Officer of the Order of the Niger [OON]
Ghana Noble International Award for Leadership (2004)
Gambian Diamond Award for Immense Contribution to the Emancipation of People from Poverty (2005).
She is also a recipient of several chieftaincy titles.
During her third year report to her constituency, in a paper titled: “Making a mark: Three years of people-focused representation”, Tinubu noted with accomplishment that she sponsored three bills and co-sponsored two motions affecting her constituency.
The bills included the National Social Security Agency Bill, 2011; a Bill for an Act to Amend the Labour Act, 2004, and for other matters; and the Lagos State Special Economic Assistance Bill, 2013, which at the time has passed through the first reading.
Senator Tinubu also sponsored the Motion on Flood Disaster in Lagos and the motion on the urgent need to investigate the imminent collapse of the Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos.
She was not just sponsoring bills, she ensured they made it to the budget, and some of her bills that were captured in the budget included the construction of a N222.3 million Drug Rehabilitation and Counselling Centre at Gedegede, Eti Osa; the construction of N223 million ultra-modern market in Oke Ira, Eti-Osa and a N220 million model primary school at Takwa Bay in Iru/Victoria Island Council.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Education, she secured intervention funds through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) for tertiary institutions in Lagos State.
These include N160 million for the construction of a 1,200-seater auditorium at Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Ijanikin; N109 million intervention for Michael Otedola College of Primary Education (MOCPED), Noforija, Epe; and N108 million for the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo.
Her other constituency development initiatives include:
Post-Secondary School Scholarship Scheme [PSSS] – Annual disbursement of N100, 000 to 26 beneficiaries for four years, and 624 students of tertiary institutions receive N10, 000 as book bursaries.
Grants to help 650 beneficiaries within her constituency to re-capitalize their businesses.
Provision of maintenance grants to alleviate the plight of the elderly (Elderly Citizen Assistance Scheme).
Sponsorship of Youth Empowerment and Skills Acquisition Scheme (YESAS) to enable more youth in her constituency to become economically productive and self-employed.
Through the Senate Committee on Education, she obtained Federal support for the rehabilitation of Jibowu Junior High School, Yaba [N21 million], Banjo Primary School, Otumara-Ilogbo, Ebute-Metta [N20 million] as well as N15 million each for Holy Trinity Primary School, Ebute-Ero, Ansar Ud-Deen Primary School, Oke-Popo and Ire-Akari Primary School, Orile-Iganmu.
It is also worthy to note that, in appreciation of her contributions as a role model, the AFAO/WAWA (Association Des Femmes De L’Afrique De L’Ouest/West African Women Association) named the Oluremi Tinubu Women Training Centre in Gorom, Senegal after her.
Tinubu is not a run off the mill kind of senator. Her eloquent achievements speak volumes. The way she is trudging on, the sky can only be the limit.
Happy birthday, the lioness of Bourdillon.