•Opens Up On Their 35 Yr Love Story
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former executive Governor of Lagos State and the National Leader of the APC is married to Oluremi Tinubu, a former first lady of Lagos State and a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, They are happily blessed with children. Their love story is one that you easily don’t hear of but we can tell you that they have been married for over 30 years.
Sometime in 1987, they were both joined in holy matrimony. While young Tinubu, on that occasion, had vowed before man and God to love his wife till eternity, beautiful Oluremi, in return, had given her heart to him for keeps.
Thirty-five years after, both are still passionately in love with each other, and their marital life has been laced with more roses than thorns, thereby making them a model couple to their fans at home and abroad. How easy is it to be married to an enigma like Asiwaju, and what are the sacrifices that it entails,? All this and more were what Senator Oluremi Tinubu revealed in an exclusive interview with TVC on the occasion of Asiwaju Tinubu’s 70th birthday. She shared with everyone what living with the man whom she had been with for 35 years is like. It is a mind-blowing, a never heard revelation about the man whose name is on the lips of everyone as he turned 70 viz-a-viz contesting for Nigeria’s President. Enjoy!!!
The person that can really tell us about Asiwaju is you, we have heard a lot about him, let us talk about the role you play in his struggle for democracy?
First, I am not one of his employees, this is my husband we are talking about, and as a wife, you also you are married and when you are married, the struggle of 2 people becomes a joint venture and what do you do in such a case than to play a role of being a good wife as much as you can so all I have ever done for him of being in his life is being a wife, a wife he can be proud of, a wife to comfort him, a wife to be there for him whenever he needed something so that is what I have done, been there for my husband. If he was incarcerated or put in detention at one time or the other, my duty is to make sure that I take care of him wholeheartedly, but you see you can’t take care of one person where Asiwaju is concerned, you are taking care of a team or an army, so that is the only thing you have to be ready for and that is what I have been doing.
Asiwaju bola Tinubu has remained incomparable, what are those values of his that have endeared him to you over the years?
Somebody once told me, he said, Asiwaju is a very lucky man, well I said, it depends on how we can see that you can say he is lucky, in the sense that God gave him a gift of a woman who will not give him trouble, and I thought in my mind, I am the one who was actually brought to him, he did not go looking for me, my sister introduced us, it is like after I graduated, you know, I am not someone who is too social, I am not somebody who parties that much, I am always an indoor person, when you give me television or audiovisuals, if I can see and hear, I am just fine.I will just be fine and I read most of the time, I hardly go out so my sister is someone that knows him way back, so she was the one who actually took me to his house. So when I saw him, what I saw in him was his eyes, I saw the kindness in his eyes, and I will say that was what really attracted me because when you see a man, even when they are lying to you, anybody’s emotions is rightly inside the eyes. So communication is in my eyes for me. what I saw in his eyes is kind eyes, and he is a very compassionate person and I see the way he treats people, trying to be respectful of people, I too I am learning from the virtues that he has, trying to be kind, trying to be humble and those are the things I saw in him that I felt, the journey with him is worth the long haul and he loves to help people and over time, over the years I have seen him do so much for people, he believes In the small beginning of people and see greatness in them and he will pursue that until that is achieved and I think virtues like that are quite rare so I will say, to me, he is still evolving, you can never say this is all to this man. When I met him, he is a man with a lot of big dreams, he talks big, but you see some people talk the talk and will not walk the walk. He talks the talk and walks the walk. He is never someone who is not afraid of a fight and I think that is part of the attraction. In my younger days, I pick fight quickly but when I saw somebody who could fight for me, I saw a champion in him. despite that, you can see a lot of gentleness in him.
There is a particular virtue of his that we all looked at from afar, and we all say, this is a rare breed, that is the virtue of forgiveness, how do you see this?
I learnt from him being trying to be magnanimous in forgiving people and that is why it is quite difficult for us to be on the same page, I am not saying I don’t forgive people I do but I forgive to the extent that when people forgive you, that does not mean what you did is suppose to be gone forever. There is no way as human beings that what you have done, people will say are you truly sorry? Some people become sorry because they are caught. Not totally sorry, but people who are truly sorry, you will know they need something.so I try not to influence him there because I believe that God that created me has chosen me for a purpose and I don’t like meddling in that. One of the things I told myself, is I will never go to hell by misleading him, to me I see someone who God has given a mission, all I am there to do was to just help him, assist him, maybe spiritually. some people will talk about us sharing different faith, he is a Muslim, I am a Christian, I will tell people, one of the very reasons I have given glory to God, for the 61 years on earth is walking this walk towards eternal life and learning who God is each time. The God that loved us so much that I want to really understand that love that he gave so much for me to become his all, so there is no way, I tell people, are you saying the scripture of 1st Corinthians, chapter 6 or 7 that it is not real anymore. In the story of apostle Paul who made people become Christians today, he was called to go and convert the Gentiles. when we talk about the book of Timothy, his mother was Jew, the father Greek, and you can see what Timothy was able to birth. My being married to Asiwaju Tinubu is not an easy marriage, but I can tell you, knowing God and understanding why God brought us together made it pleasurable because it is not about us, it is about a good cause, so that is what makes it worth all the sacrifice. I see him transform life, I have seen him being compassionate, I have seen people from nothing, becoming great, I have seen it over and over time, so when I look at it, what can I not give to it,? when you talk about forgiveness, I try not to offend my husband, because I don’t think he will ever forgive me, I don’t know, but I try not to push there, despite wherever he goes, he knows where I am at. He is somebody who will tell you I trust my wife, but would I say that about him?, to an extent, he is a man but I believe whatever decision he makes, he is smart enough to know the price. He is respectful of me, one of the things that have really helped our marriage is also respect for each other, I get overwhelmed, with his, level of compassion. One of the projects we are working on now is daughters of Zelophiliat, which has really helped me because I believe at this age, older age, I have to teach young people, how to love their husbands, love their children but you see they have to be able to balance that with work. And the men too have to rise up to the occasion and be good providers. I remember that women will say oh because we both put food on the table, that gives us equal rights, it is not like that, if you and your husband have become one body, it is your body, whatever you do for that one body is for both of you, it is not you having right there. The most important thing is to respect yourself, a woman who respects herself will be respected by her husband, one of the things my husband will tell you and I am very mindful of that, I respect myself because it starts with me first, how do I feel about myself,?I am respectful of people, you can see the way people come into my house, it is no longer my space so at times, I just walkthrough, how many people am I going to greet in a day?, in the midst of the chaos, I have to know that whatever I do for my husband comes first.
He is known to be a political strategist and a powerful institution as far as politics is concerned in this part of the world, looking at him as a father, as a husband, what are those moments you have shared together that you will like us to know?
You see one thing about being married to a man that plays a lot of parts,I have once said that he is a father to many people, husband to many people, in the sense that some of his friends have gone to be with the Lord, in a case like that, such women might need help once in a while, are you saying he should not be there for them.? When they need help or whatever counsel they need, I should not try to be an obstacle there. As a dad, it has been tough on the children, the children can not know how to share their time as I do, is it easy, no, but they have to be grateful, at least their father is alive, some people lost parents, mothers, at birth, would you say they won’t live right? Obama never knew his dad so it is quite a privilege to be raised by grandparents and he turned outright. Our lives are never based on somebody else, when God calls you for a purpose, I have read in the scriptures, several people that God called like that, look at how great Samuel was, the children, did they turn well? look at Moses, the only thing that worked for Moses, as he told the wife, take my son back to your father, and Moses father in law was like Moses’ mentor, he was the one who came to Moses, that’s if he keeps attending to people like this, he will cure himself. But my husband has always had people older than him counselling him, you will see the likes of baba Akande around him and his former boss, Chief Akinyelure, those are what young people should see and admire, friendship in the political sphere is very fickle, one day they are crying hosanna, the next day they are crying crucify him, I can’t say he is there, but we did the best we could for our children. One thing is that we don’t force them, every one of them comes with their own calling, whatever they want to do, what we tell them is that they should go and complete their first degree before they can do whatever they want to do. You can’t really control anyone, everyone God created is special in their own way but we pray for all of us to fulfil that potential. We can only pray for them that all of them will fulfil what God has deposited into them, it does not have to be about us, but what we will try to do is to be good parents that we can, like my daughters now, I try to make sure that I will be a good example of a wife to them, to also make them proud that I am not a lazy woman, so those are the 2 virtues I leave with my children, will I say he has been there, yes he has been there every minute, like my youngest will tell you, mum I went to boarding school when I was 6 and a half, and that was about the time their father was governor and you know children, especially girls around the seat of power might not be too healthy. so we just thought if I am going to be busy, their father is going to be busy, go to a boarding school but we are always there at every visit, we thank God for everything. We can say oh it is this but the journey still continues. Anytime we see to spend, even if I have one minute it’s my husband, I make sure it is worth the while and I have always told my children that, even if it is 1 minute you have to spend with him make it worthwhile.
Before he became so actively involved in politics, what are those romantic moments you will like to share?
We did definitely, we did when we first started, we both love music, my husband’s best song so far is what a beautiful world, by Loius Armstrong, we love to dance, he loves to sing, all those Yoruba songs and music, I remember when Ebenezer Obey and King Sunny Ade were having an anniversary and they were asking me what song do I like, and my husband said, I love ketekete, and Chief Ebenezer heard in the hall, and I just said, me I like sunny oh, the one that says, e kilo fun omo ode, and my husband looked at me because I don’t think I remember the lyrics But when they eventually played his own choice of song, I felt so small, that when I heard the song, it goes like, “there is nothing you can do that you can satisfy human beings, “I was sworn. The song is very deep, is that not what is happening now? This is what my husband knew a long time ago and that is what is playing out now, but still, he still tried to do good, doing good is tough, you can not satisfy human beings, but all along, I was very romantic, but he’ll tell me I am not, but I think under that I am not, he is just trying to guard his emotions, he is growing in age, he is matured, and with age, it is not like when you are both young, but still he is still the love of my life and my light in shining armour. some people will say I will marry this man over and over again, me I will say I will have to think because being married to him comes with a lot of challenges, not challenges with him as a husband, he has been a very peaceful man as a husband, but the vision he carries is too big for me because this is a man you have to share with a lot of people. I can’t say at least with humanity, one thing I can say when we dint have much, when people come in, I remember in our house at Balarabe Musa then, my husband will say when anybody brings any letter or message, he will ask me and be so annoyed with me, did I give them anything? If I say No, so I learnt that one thing from him from day 1. He loves to give, we dint have to argue over anything. once his mind is set on certain things, I tried to go back and understand what he is saying is actually right, so most of the time is, I will agree with him blindly and at the same time, I didn’t fall into any pit. May God continue to bless him and as his years so shall his strength be, we thank God for all the challenges God has been able to make him surmount, we can’t say more will not come, even the bible says, in all of this things, we are more than a conqueror through Christ this next journey, we joke about it, I said, one thing I thank God for you is you decided to run, that even if we don’t win, we will go back to our house, so we often laugh about it. It is not a do or die affair, is he smaller than anyone? why intimidate anyone, anyone has the right to aspire who they want to be, and nobody has the right to say who you want to be except God, so I thank God for his life, it is worth all the while, it is fun.
I have seen him speak in few times with his contemporaries and mentees, and he jokes a lot, What are those jokes of his that catch your fancy when you are at home?
Which one can I remember? I remember when I want to go to all church services, he is always saying, I am not dead yet, why are you choosing Jesus over me? That they said Jesus is the widows’ husband but he is still alive that why am I neglecting him? And it took a while to understand the joke because I am not somebody who really understands jokes that well, and there are many as well that I will just laugh and laugh. His sense of humour is way out. He is also very intelligently humorous… He does not just say shabby things, what he says, you have to think. He allows me, he is so respectful of my faith and I am respectful of his too and the most important thing is to fear God. And if there is a fear of God is in the world, the world will be better.
What is your wish for him as he turns 70?
As his years so shall his strength be, more joy, for him to be happy in old age because if he does not do this now, not that it is important to him to run for office, I don’t want to be a man who will be saying if I had known, I would have done this. The life God gives us, we have to push the boundaries, push whatever limits, that is the Joy, that is what God has called him to be. If you have strength and courage, go for whatever you feel is right, not only what is right but whatever will help humanity. So I wish him well, long life and I pray for our lives together towards our latter end, would be much fun that we will sit down and count our blessings and give glory to God.
Do you have any songs for him?
The song we used to like together is Diana Ross and smoky Robbinson, version, “my love”. It is a very beautiful love song. All those love songs, by Luther Vandross, those are love songs, maybe that is why the youth of nowadays don’t sing about love anymore when you sing about love, God is love, you will feel love deep into your soul…my marriage has been fruitful, a blessing to me and I think I owe it to people that I should also teach the young people. Respect is very important, how much respect you bring to the table. You have to honour each other.