Chief Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu(born 29 March 1952) is a Nigerian politician who is the 16th and current president of Nigeria. He was the governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007; and senator for Lagos West in the Third Republic.
Tinubu spent his early life in southwestern Nigeria and later moved to the United States where he studied Accounting at Chicago State University. He returned to Nigeria in the early 1990s and was employed by Mobil Nigeria as an accountant, before entering politics as a Lagos West senatorial candidate in 1992 under the banner of the Social Democratic Party. After dictator Sani Abacha dissolved the Senate in 1993, Tinubu became an activist campaigning for the return of democracy as a part of the National Democratic Coalition movement.
In the first post-transition Lagos State gubernatorial election, Tinubu won by a wide margin as a member of the Alliance for Democracy. Four years later, he won re-election to a second term. After leaving office in 2007, he played a key role in the formation of the All Progressives Congress in 2013. In 2023, he was elected president of Nigeria.
Tinubu was born in Lagos into the merchant family of Abibatu Mogaji, the Ìyál'ọ́jà of Lagos. He is generally accepted in reliable sources to have been born in 1952; this year of birth is sometimes disputed by political opponents, who argue that he is much older. Some reliable sources note that his age has not been verified.
Tinubu attended St. John's Primary School, Aroloya, Lagos before proceeding to Children Home School in Ibadan. He completed undergraduate studies in the United States, first at Richard J. Daley College in Chicago and then at Chicago State University. He graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.
Tinubu worked as an accountant for the American companies Arthur Andersen, Deloitte and GTE Services Corporation. After returning to Nigeria in 1983, he joined Mobil Oil Nigeria, and later became a company executive.
Early political career
Tinubu's political career began in 1991, when he joined the Social Democratic Party.
After the results of the 12 June 1993 presidential elections were annulled, Tinubu became a founding member of the pro-democracy National Democratic Coalition, a group which mobilized support for the restoration of democracy and recognition of Moshood Abiola as winner of the 12 June election.
Exile and return
Following the seizure of power as military head of state of General Sani Abacha, he went into exile in 1994 and returned to the country in 1998 after the death of the military dictator, which ushered in the transition to the Fourth Nigerian Republic.
In the run-up to the 1999 elections, Bola Tinubu was a protégé of Alliance for Democracy (AD) leaders Abraham Adesanya and Ayo Adebanjo. He went on to win the AD primaries for the Lagos State governorship elections in defeating Funsho Williams and Wahab Dosunmu, a former Minister of Works and Housing. In January 1999, he stood for the position of Governor of Lagos State on the AD ticket and was elected governor.
Governor of Lagos State (1999–2007)
During his 8 years in government, Tinibu initiated new road construction, required to meet the needs of the fast-growing population of the state.
Tinubu, alongside a new deputy governor, Femi Pedro, won re-election into office as governor in April 2003. All other states in the South West fell to the People's Democratic Party in those elections. He was involved in a struggle with the Olusegun Obasanjo-controlled federal government over whether Lagos State had the right to create new Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) to meet the needs of its large population. The controversy led to the federal government seizing funds meant for local councils in the state. During the latter part of his term in office, he was engaged in continuous clashes with PDP powers such as Adeseye Ogunlewe, a former Lagos State senator who had become minister of works, and Bode George, the southwest chairman of the PDP.
In 2006, Tinubu attempted to persuade the then-vice president of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar to become the head of his party, the Action Congress (AC). Abubakar who was a member of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), had recently fallen out with President Olusegun Obasanjo over Abubakar's ambition to succeed Obasanjo as president. Tinubu offered Abubakar the chance to switch parties and join the AC, offering him the his party's presidential candidacy, with the condition that he, Tinubu, would be Atiku Abubakar's running mate. Atiku declined the proposition and, having switched to the AC, chose a running mate from the South East, Senator Ben Obi. Although Atiku ran for office on Tinubu's platform in the election, the PDP still won, in a landslide.
Relations between Tinubu and deputy governor Femi Pedro became increasingly tense after Pedro declared his intention to run for the gubernatorial elections. Pedro competed to become the AC candidate for governor in the 2007 elections, but withdrew his name on the eve of the party nomination. He defected to the Labour Party while still keeping his position as deputy governor. Tinubu's tenure as Lagos State Governor ended on 29 May 2007, when his successor Babatunde Fashola of the Action Congress took office.
2007 general election
In 2009, following the landslide victory of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in the April 2007 elections, Tinubu became involved in negotiations to bring together the fragmented opposition parties into a "mega-party" capable of challenging the then ruling PDP. In March 2009, there were reports that a plot had been identified to assassinate Tinubu. In February 2013, Tinubu was among several politicians who created a "mega opposition" party with the merger of Nigeria's three biggest opposition parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the new PDP (nPDP), a faction of the then ruling People's Democratic Party – into the All Progressives Congress (APC).
All Progressives Congress
In 2014, Tinubu supported former military head of state General Muhammadu Buhari, leader of the CPC faction of the APC – who commanded widespread following in Northern Nigeria, and had previously contested in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 presidential elections as the CPC presidential candidate. Tinubu initially wanted to become Buhari's vice presidential candidate but later conceded for Yemi Osibanjo, his ally and former commissioner of justice. In 2015, Buhari rode the APC to victory, ending the 16-year rule of the PDP, and marking the first time an incumbent Nigerian president lost to an opposition candidate.
Tinubu went on to play an important role in the Buhari administration, supporting government policies and holding onto the internal party reins, in lieu of his long-held rumored presidential aspiration. In 2019, he supported Buhari's re-election campaign defeating the PDP candidate Atiku Abubakar. In 2020, following an internal party crisis which led to the removal of Tinubu ally and party chairman Adams Oshiomole, it is believed the move was to scuttle Tinubu's presidential prospects ahead of 2023.
2023 presidential election
On 1 March 2023, INEC declared Tinubu winner of the 2023 presidential election. He was declared president-elect after he polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat his opponents. His runner-up Atiku Abubakar of the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) polled 6,984,520 votes. Labour Party's Peter Obi had 6,101,533 votes to come third.
Tinubu constitutionally began his presidency on 29 May 2023. He was sworn in as President of Nigeria by the Chief Justice of Nigeria Olukayode Ariwoola at 10:41 AM (WAT) at an inauguration ceremony held in Eagle Square in Abuja. His government having cleared the legal hurdles of the opposition following the March election is generally accepted unopposed and has international legitimacy. Several heads of state and government attended the swearing-in ceremony. Tinubu was conferred with the highest national honour of the Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic by his predecessor Muhammadu Buhari, and his Vice President Kashim Shettima with the second highest honor of the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger on 25 May 2023.
Tinubu in his inaugural address promulgated the removal of the government subsidy on fuel. The statement in his inaugural address caused initial panic buy and an overnight increase in price at fuel pump stations in Nigeria. The national labour union NLC called for nationwide strike and protests over the increase in fuel price, which was later called off amidst ongoing negotiations with government representatives. The government subsidy on fuel consumption has caused a haemorrhage on the Nigerian public purse for decades and the removal was lauded as a positive development by the World Bank for the Nigerian economy.
President Tinubu on the night of 9 June suspended Godwin Emefiele the powerful governor of the central bank of Nigeria. Emefiele’s suspension was the second ever a head of the apex bank in its history was removed by a Nigerian president. Emefiele was arrested by Nigerian secret police SSS in Lagos attempting to flee the country to Benin. The suspension was viewed as a positive development. Emefiele as a conservative banker ascribed to the old school of propping up the Nigerian naira. Emefiele was replaced by one of his more economical liberal deputies Folashodun Adebisi as acting governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria in a statement by the presidency “sequel to the ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy”. The suspension and subsequent arrest of Emefiele by secret police on charges of terrorism financing is seen as not far removed from his ideological leanings and politicising of the apex bank with his initiatives in office such as arbitrage under the Buhari administration and a currency redesign of the Nigerian naira. However, some observers have noted the role of politics in Emefiele’s suspension amid a clandestine raise in government debt borrowing ceiling from 5% to 15% through ways and means on the eve of the inauguration of President Tinubu.
On the back of his suspension the apex bank five days later on 14 June removed all foreign exchange trading restrictions and allowed the national currency to fall to its lowest ever on the market. The move though not unprecedented signalled what was expected after the suspension Tinubu’s financial reforms has been seen as surpassing the 1986 SAP regime in a bid to drastically overhaul the Nigerian economy and government finances since the return of democracy two decades ago. On 15 June, President Tinubu inaugurated the national economic council chaired by Vice President Shettima. The Council is mandated to advise the President on economic affairs and is composed of the governor of the central bank and all state governors of the federation. Tinubu’s close associate investment banker Wale Edun is the monetary policy czar.
President Tinubu appointed on 3 June Senator George Akume as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Femi Gbajabiamila as Chief of Staff to the President. Tinubu suspended the EFCC chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa on 9 June and Nigerian secret police arrested him for abuse of office on the same day following a standoff between SSS agents and the EFFC in Lagos. His suspension like Emefiele’s involved a lot of intrigues as Bawa had previously placed Tinubu under investigation. Bawa was replaced with Abdulkarim Chukkol as acting chairman of the EFCC.
President Tinubu on 19 June proclaimed Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as the National Security Adviser. The appointment of Nuhu Ribadu, a former police officer, was viewed as a radical turn from the military establishment which has long dominated the state security apparatus of Nigeria. President Tinubu purged the leadership of the entire armed and paramilitary forces on 19 June retiring in the process over one hundred and fifty major generals. The direction of state security under Tinubu is expected to be led by civilian control of the military under the Office of the National Security Adviser, a statutory constitutional body established in 1993.
Tinubu embarked on his first foreign visit as Nigerian president to Paris on 21 June to attend a global financial summit held at Palais Boignart from 22 to 24 June. He left Paris for London on a “private visit” where he met with his predecessor Muhammadu Buhari. Tinubu despite drastic changes in fiscal and monetary policies has yet to constitute his cabinet. He has made calls for a coalition government in order to bring opposition leaders under him. A constitutional amendment passed by his predecessor made provisions for the President to appoint Ministers within the first sixty days in office. Tinubu dissolved the boards of all ministries, departments and agencies of Nigeria on 19 June. Having spent one month in office and with the conclusion of parliamentary leadership elections Tinubu is constrained by law to send ministerial nominations to the Senate for hearing before July 29.