The First lady of Nigeria, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, clocked 63 on Thursday. Dignitaries around the world, including her husband, the President of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu, have celebrated the First Lady. Describing his wife of 36 years, Tinubu referred to her as his trusted partner.
“Happy 63rd birthday to the love of my life, Oluremi. 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.
“…Through all these years, we have shared in the uncertainty of dangerous, but principled stands against tyranny. Many cannot fully appreciate the sacrifices you made for us during that harrowing, dark era, but I do and always will. 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…As we celebrate your birthday, I want you to know how profoundly grateful I am for your serene presence in my life….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,” Tinubu professed in his congratulatory message read.
Oluremi may be the First Lady of Nigeria but in the political space, she is not a new kid on the block. Unlike other first ladies, Remi Tinubu built a political portfolio before coming into Aso Rock. She became the first lady of Lagos State when Bola Tinubu became the Governor of the state in 1999 and served on his side through his tenure between 1999 and 2007. Through her New Era Foundation projects, she championed humanitarian service dedicated to establishing centers for the development of young Nigerians and promoting awareness on environmental health and community service. Between 2011 and 2023, she represented the Lagos Central Senatorial District at the National Assembly, halting to occupy the position of the First Lady.
Remi Tinubu’s political career has put her in many controversial positions, which may not have favourably disposed her to many Nigerians.
In 2022, a 2019 video of Remi Tinubu was circulated online. She had been recorded saying Igbos in Lagos State were ungrateful after being “accommodated” in the state, despite how much they were loved.
“We will entreat all the deities of Lagos to chase Igbo people out. Igbo who didn’t marry Yoruba, we will inherit them. Given how much we love Igbo, you now want to spoil everything. You are not the only tribe in this place, Hausa are here, we accommodate them, Calabar are here, we accommodate them. But Igbos are proving difficult. We will inherit you. Despite the love, we have for you… others are here, and we accommodated them,” she was quoted as saying.
This sparked an outrage as her comment made many question the unity of the country and why Remi Tinubu laid claim of ownership to the state and threatened the Igbos.
In 2021, she came under fire for calling a woman a thug at a public event. The said event was the southwest zonal public hearing of the constitution review. It was reported that after the arrival of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, attendees were being discriminated against and not allowed entry into the venue. A woman protested the actions of the ushers who were preventing people from gaining access and voiced out her frustration. Seeing this, Remi Tinubu called her a “thug” for speaking too loudly. The comment had annoyed those on the queue, who insisted on an apology, which Remi Tinubu refused to give.
It is no different on the floor of the House also. In 2016, she had questioned why Senator Dino Melaye acted and spoke like a child. Her comment infuriated the latter, which threw the house in a rage of commotion.
Love or hate her, Oluremi Tinubu has solidified her place in Nigerian politics. And because of her experience in politics, citizens expect that her performance will be significantly different from other first ladies.
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