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Bola Tinubu: From Senator to president

CNG: Tinubu to launch 200 buses in May

“That Tinubu Bola Ahmed of the APC, having satisfied the requirement of the law, is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected,” Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. This was at the National Collation Centre in Abuja, a hall packed full of journalists, party agents and observers. It marked the beginning of a former senator and a former governor’s assent to the highest political office in Nigeria.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu, born on March 29, 1952, is a Nigerian accountant and politician. He previously served as the governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007 and as a senator for Lagos West during the Third Republic.

After completing his education in the United States, where he studied Accounting at Chicago State University, Tinubu returned to Nigeria in the 1990s. He worked as an accountant at Mobil Nigeria before venturing into politics as a senatorial candidate in Lagos West in 1992. Tinubu later became an advocate for democracy and played a role in the National Democratic Coalition movement during the campaign for the return of democracy.

In 1992, Tinubu won the Lagos West senate seat and later became involved in the pro-democracy group NADECO. He faced imprisonment for his activities and went into exile until returning to Nigeria in 1998.

In 1999, Tinubu became the governor of Lagos State under the AD party and was reelected in 2003.

As governor, Tinubu implemented effective tax collection measures and initiated a public transportation project to tackle the city’s significant traffic congestion, leading to improvements in the state’s finances.

Tinubu introduced initiatives like the Bus Rapid Transit System and LAGBUS, and established LASTMA to manage traffic.

He also created 37 local council development areas and raised important federalism issues for the Supreme Court to consider. However, his creation of LCDAs resulted in the federal government withholding local government allocations until his term and President Obasanjo’s term ended in 2007.

Since leaving office, Tinubu has gained a reputation as a kingmaker and is often referred to as a “political godfather.” He has used his influence to support and endorse winning candidates for various political positions, especially his successors in Lagos state.

Tinubu played a crucial role in forming the All Progressives Congress (APC) and endorsing Muhammadu Buhari for the 2015 presidential election.

As Buhari’s tenure reached its constitutional limit, the APC nominated Tinubu as their presidential candidate for the 2023 election. He faced tough competition from 17 other candidates, with Atiku Abubakar (PDP) and Peter Obi (Labour Party) being the prominent contenders.

Like the candidates from other parties, Tinubu focused his campaign on the main concerns of Nigerians: the increasing insecurity in the country as well as economic issues such as inflation and unemployment. He also vowed to make much-needed infrastructure improvements.

The presidential election took place on February 25 and marked the first time Nigeria’s electoral commission relied solely on biometric data and electronic transmission of results. However, there were challenges with the new system, as some electoral agents faced difficulties in uploading and transmitting the results as intended.

Tinubu emerged as the winner in 12 out of Nigeria’s 36 states, receiving a total of 8.8 million votes. His closest competitors, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, secured 6.9 million and 6.1 million votes respectively.

Abubakar and Obi have called for the cancellation of the February 25 poll, alleging voter suppression and INEC’s failure to upload polling unit results as required but the commission advised them to take their grievances to the election petition tribunal, as stipulated by law.

Despite facing challenges, Tinubu’s controversial remarks and criticisms of certain policies, he ultimately achieved a remarkable victory at the APC national convention.

Tinubu’s campaign slogan, “Emi l’okan” (It’s my turn), coined in Abeokauta, received mixed reactions from voters, with some perceiving it as a sense of entitlement. Concerns were also raised about his choice of a Muslim running mate and doubt about his fitness for the presidency due to his age and rumoured health issues.

At a campaign stop again in Abeokuta, he spoke out against a fuel supply shortage that had lingered for several months across the country, and a currency redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Eventaully, Tinubu managed to draw the highest votes, although the votes in quantum and as a percentage of the total votes cast, were still the lowest by a winning candidate in the Fourth Republic.

Read also: Make our load lighter, Nigerians urge Tinubu

Tinubu’s presidential victory marks the third time in 30 years that a candidate from the South-west has been elected president. However, the first elected president from the region, Moshood Abiola, had his victory annulled and tragically died in prison.

Tinubu brings a track record as a successful governor, party builder, and political strategist to the presidency, raising hopes for Nigeria’s future. His inauguration on May 29 will make him the fifth president of the Fourth Republic.

This is Tinubu’s first time running for president, and his victory reflects a successful first attempt, following the footsteps of previous presidents like Shehu Shagari, Olusegun Obasanjo and Umaru Yar’adua.

Tinubu, a prominent Nigerian politician, has faced allegations of corruption and links to drug trafficking. These allegations have raised questions about the source of his wealth and his tenure as governor of Lagos state. In 1993, the United States government filed a complaint accusing him of having a bank account associated with drug proceeds, leading to the seizure of funds. However, Tinubu has denied these allegations and was not formally charged.