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News and Society Expression Unfold

A Toast to Loyalty and Ability By Keem Abdul

Read Time:6 Minute, 45 Second


Seyi Tinubu Celebrates Friend and Chief of Staff, Tosin Odufuwa @ 40



If loyalty and devotion were colours, they’d probably be white, because they’re cut from the same cloth as the concepts of purity (of intentions), authenticity and genuineness. 

It was no accident, then, that the colour code for the 40th birthday bash of Tosin Odufuwa, longtime friend and Chief of Staff of Seyi Tinubu, first son of the President of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was white.

The birthday bash was an event that brought together the cream of society in general, but particularly the scions of some of the most powerful, influential and politically-connected families in Nigeria. 

Although the tone of the celebration emphasized the status of the younger Mr. Tinubu (by virtue of his relationship with the President, and the power and influence – whether real or perceived – that comes with that relationship) the conversation and general buzz was clearly all about the tall and gangling Mr. Odufuwa and the value he has, over the years, brought into the life and affairs of Mr. Tinubu. 

Like other friends and associates of the President’s son (who are either his business associates or children of his father’s political and business associates – or people he met at university in the US and the UK) Odufuwa is a pivotal member of that inner circle, which came into public reckoning during the 2023 presidential campaign of the former Lagos State Governor. In the days and months since the Asiwaju’s election as President and his inauguration on May 29, 2023, they have made their presence felt in various aspects of the life of the Tinubu administration. 

Some had even returned to Nigeria from their sojourns abroad in search of opportunities to serve, or to do business in one form or another – and to leverage on their auspicious association with the First Son. Other members of this circle include Damilotun Aderemi, Dotun Adebayo (son of the ex-Governor of Ekiti State and former minister, Niyi Adebayo); Christopher Ibru (son of the industrialist Oskar Ibru); and James Omotosho, who was reportedly Seyi’s roommate at the University of Maryland in the USA. Others are Shayo Olumide, from the Africa Finance Corporation; Luqman Edu (son of former minister of commerce Yomi Edu) Fatimah Wali (an adviser to Alhaji Aliko Dangote); Olamide Edun (son of the current Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Wale Edun); Kunle Fakeye (son of Ibukun Fakeye, an associate of the President’s) and Kola Alabi, among others. 

There was no mistaking the REAL focus of the birthday celebrations. It was also about Odufuwa’s own personal, professional and business trajectory. A highly accomplished professional in his own right, Odufuwa is an economist, management consultant and entrepreneur who has done well for himself – and not just for himself, but also for others. More importantly, he has brought his intellect, experience and expertise to bear on his association with the younger Mr. Tinubu, an association that has now transcended mere friendship and filial affection to something more concrete and structured to match the range of Seyi Tinubu’s required responsibilities and obligations during his father’s tenure at the helm of the Nigerian state. Odufuwa’s designation as Chief of Staff to the First Son is an indicator of Seyi Tinubu’s ambitions as far as the success of his father’s administration – and his expected role in ensuring that success – is concerned. 


It will be recalled that ahead of the May 29, 2023 inauguration of President Tinubu, leaders of the youth wing in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) organized a first-of-its-kind inauguration concert as an inclusive celebratory activity for young people across the country who contributed to the party’s victory and the emergence of Asiwaju Tinubu in the last presidential election – as well as a fun networking platform for Nigerian youths, irrespective of background or party affiliation.  Tagged the ‘Renewed Hope Concert’, the event, held on the 25th of May, 2023, at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja, featured prominent and upcoming music and entertainment artistes from across the country. 

As a sign of his growing influence within the circle, and an indication of the high regard and trust Seyi Tinubu hold for him, Tosin Odufuwa was named the Director of Finance of the organizing committee. Like the younger Tinubu himself and others, Odufuwa could rightly be said to have helped guide the APC’s victorious youth engagement efforts during the campaign. He was also instrumental in the effective mobilization of youth votes, using his ample professional experience and global network.

The success of that concert, and other engagements before and since then, have underscored the value Tosin Odufuwa brings to the circle of friends, associates and enablers the President’s son has built around himself. A man of understated but formidable capacity, blessed with a keen, crisp intelligence and driven by an unquenchable passion for excellence, Odufuwa has been described by another member of the circle as ‘the Band A in the gentlemen’s league.’ The full range of his essential character, persona and abilities might not be readily apparent to the casual observer, this admirer adds, but ‘if you know, you know. ‘ 

Seyi Tinubu certainly knows. His profusion of sincere and heartfelt encomiums to his loyal friend during his toast at Odufuwa’s 40th birthday party was only one of the many testimonials that were given on that brilliant evening by the celebrant’s friends, admirers and others who consider themselves privileged to have had their paths and destinies cross his. 

As he reclined contentedly next to his wife, Yoyin, and basked in the adulation of Nigeria’s First Son and other members of his circle, Tosin Odufuwa’s smile said it all as he reflected on the 40 years of life that had brought him to this very moment. As COS to the Nigerian President’s son, he is not the power on the throne, but he is the power BEHIND the throne. He is not the boat that navigates its way across the waters, but he is the paddle (or one if the paddles) that determines the speed and direction of the boat. And for men like him, who wear that authority easily on their shoulders, and do not crave the limelight for its own sake, that is power enough. He, too, is a leader, like the man he serves, and like the President they both serve. Not all leaders command outcomes; there are those whose job is to influence the perceptions and opinions that drive those outcomes. 

The tributes showered on Tosin Odufuwa at the 40th birthday bash were also a tribute to the younger Mr. Tinubu himself. Like his father, Seyi Tinubu seems to have perfected the knack of seeking out and recruiting people of outstanding ability and character, whatever their background, and aligning those attributes to his own goals in such a way that they make up for whatever deficiencies he may have, and whatever insights he may lack as he pursues said goals and objectives. It speaks to Seyi Tinubu’s innate sense loyalty to friends, associates and partners. 

Much has been said over the years, and especially since the end of his father’s tenure as Lagos State Governor and his ascension to national prominence as the leader of the All Progressives Congress (and now President of Nigeria) about the massive influence Seyi Tinubu wields in his father’s political orbit – with some people even speculating on his own nascent political ambitions. Some have  even gone as far as asserting that the fact of having a Chief of Staff (at all) in the person of Odufuwa is proof of the intentionality with which Seyi Tinubu seeks to plot his political rise. 

Whatever the merit of these speculations and assertions, one thing is clear: if you’re going to perform effectively as a leader, or to command successful outcomes in any meaningful area of human endeavour, you’re going to need a man like Tosin Odufuwa in your corner. 

If you know, you know.

And, from his effusive encomiums at the 40th birthday party, the son of Nigeria’s President knows. 

Happy birthday, Tosin Odufuwa!

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