Born on the 21st of September in 1960, it would not amount to an exaggeration to say that in the history of 60th birthdays being called diamond jubilees, Senator Oluremi Tinubu is one of the Nigerian women who can most be likened to that precious gemstone. Just like the diamond, she brilliantly reflects divine light. The diamond is known for its hardness. She too has over time developed the hardness required to thrive as a mother, wife and politician while retaining her beauty. It is fitting too that even though her husband, famous for his political leadership and sagacity is called The Lion of Bourdillon and she too can be likened to a lioness, that is not the first thing that comes to mind when her name is mentioned. The Lioness of Bourdillon she may be but she is first, the dazzling diamond in Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s crown and the pristine princess originally from Itsekiri but who time and chance have favoured to make one of the most powerful female leaders in Nigeria today.
It is testament to her value as a formidable leader and arguably one of the key drivers of her husband’s success that at a birthday celebration held for him in Abuja prior to his last birthday, President Muhammadu Buhari publicly thanked her for standing by the national leader of arguably the most important and most influential political party in Africa, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Unlike many women whose husbands are political figures, she has managed to shine on all fronts and it is hard to spot a chink in her armour. Their decades-long marriage is a marvel especially because she is a Christian and her husband is a Muslim. That in itself is something Nigerians can draw from to work towards the peace and unity of the nation in spite of the varying beliefs and practices of the several hundred heterogeneous ethnic groups that Nigeria is made up of.
Senator Remi Tinubu’s kind heart and philanthropic disposition is well known and she has consistently looked out for the downtrodden. The New Era Foundation she established in the year 2000 when she was First Lady of Lagos State has championed the all-round development of young people in Lagos and continues promoting public awareness on environmental health and community service. From 2014 till now, she has empowered almost 1,500 widows through the Widows Economic Empowerment Scheme (WEES) she initiated for her senatorial constituency. In 2019 she built a house to provide accommodation for childless widows and named it “Patience Home” after her mother. Not only does the Facility provide accommodation for a period of between 6 to 12 months for childless widows, it provides them with entrepreneurial skills like catering and hotel management, fashion designing, hat making, bead making and other vocational crafts to enable them fend for themselves after leaving “Patience Home”. Needless to say that the goodwill and love that beneficiaries of her kindness is massive and has written her name in gold in the hearts of many generations.
In recognition of the harsh realities that many young people face such as being unemployed and unemployable despite having graduated from University, Senator Remi Tinubu pioneered a program that equips graduates with relevant skills to enhance their employability and earning power in the saturated labour market and giving them much sought after work experience. Tagged the “Work Experience Program”, it affords graduates free training and subsequent internship placements in government and high profile private organisations such as KPMG and the Bank of Industry.
Regardless of the fact that her 60th birthday is occurring within the season that the whole world is recovering from the devastating coronavirus pandemic, she will still receive a deluge of love and congratulatory messages from her teeming supporters across Nigeria. However, in a display of sheer class and in consideration for the present times, she put out this statement in the days leading up to her milestone birthday:
This is to express my profound gratitude for your unflinching love, care and support for me over the years.
To the glory of God, I will be 60 years old on Monday, 21st of September, 2020. I would have loved to celebrate this milestone with you my friends. However, given the ravaging pandemic and the mass hysteria it has generated across the globe, I have decided against any form of social gathering, in conformity with health and safety protocols stipulated by the government, and in honour of those who have lost their lives. Instead I will be having a quiet day with my immediate family, while soliciting your prayers as we thank God for His goodness and mercy over the years. In celebrating, I will also be focusing on what I know how to do best: charitable causes.”
As the saying goes, we rise by lifting others. It is hoped that even as we admire the diamond that Senator Oluremi Tinubu is, we will learn to appreciate the many precious diamonds around us many of whom are still in the rough. May the years be gracious to her and may God answer the prayers of the thousands of lives she has impacted positively.