Before May 29, 1999, nothing much was known about Oluremi Tinubu except the fact that she was the wife of the then Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu.
However, those involved in the struggle for the return of democratic system of governance in the country between 1993 and 1999 surely knew about Remi before then. According to some of them, as her husband supported the ‘struggle’ with funds and other resources, Remi made sure that the pro-democracy activists never went hungry when they came for meetings in their home.
As the First Lady of Lagos State, Oluremi was a dependable ally to her husband, as she offered him moral and emotional support to succeed at the helm of affairs in the country’s commercial nerve centre.
During her husband’s tenure, she established the New Era Foundation, through which she championed the ‘all round development of young ones and promoted public awareness on environmental health and community service’.
A pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Oluremi obtained a post-graduate diploma from the RCCG’s Bible college.
In 2011, she was elected to represent the Lagos Central Senatorial District at the Senate, and is presently in her third term. As a Senator, some of her notable contributions include proposing a bill to reform the Nigerian Postal Service.
Describing her husband as being bold and courageous in an interview with PM News, she said, “As a man, he is very courageous and hard-working. He is also very loyal to his friends and (is) always ready to sacrifice himself for others. 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. 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 coffee table book I wrote some time ago. He later became my best friend. I love him a lot, and I think he loves me too. If he did not, we would not have come this far. So, the feeling is 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. I can also say I have found a place of rest and fulfilment. He is not a man that complains and he has a huge heart for forgiveness.”
Asked whether she fell in love with him at first sight, she said in the interview, “The first thing to know is the attraction that brought the two of us together. I saw his eyes and thought he had 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 did not 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’.”
Born and raised in Ikorodu, Lagos State, Remi was the last of 12 children.
She went on to bag a Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University). This was in addition to bagging a National Certificate of Education in Botany and Zoology from the Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo State.