President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s wife, Oluremi Tinubu, will not be relegated to the background.
Unlike previous First Ladies, she is a politician in her own right. Since 2011, she has represented Lagos in the Senate but is quitting in order to take on her new position. As a senator she will have gained insights into governance issues that no other First Lady has had before assuming the role, which has become a feature of every presidency since the military era despite being unconstitutional.
Oluremi Tinubu also served as a First Lady during her husband’s two terms as governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007. She therefore has experience in this capacity and will have a clear idea of what she can achieve in the position. Like others before her, Oluremi is likely to identify a pet project, although her choice has not yet been made public.
That said, her presence will be marked far more by how much influence she has on decision making in Aso Rock. She is expected to play a substantive role in the Tinubu presidency and to be among the most influential and prominent individuals in her husband’s government.
Despite her political experience, this has more to do with his presumed poor health. The nature of Tinubu’s illness remains unclear, but Oluremi has become nearly indispensable to her husband’s movements.
Oluremi was observed attempting to support his hands during the 29 May inauguration ceremony as he struggled to sign the oath declaration forms. If his hands must be held to sign documents, it is probable that his wife is the only person he can trust to do so without fear of the information being leaked to the media.
Since becoming president, Tinubu’s health appears to have improved, as he has been seen signing documents without assistance. The suspicion is that he must be specially medicated for such occasions, however, particularly if they are captured on camera.
Oluremi was also spotted participating in Tinubu’s earliest meetings as president. As a result of the ensuing social media outrage, the presidency has avoided sharing any photos of her sitting in on meetings since then.
Yet there are obvious indications she remains actively involved in at least some of her husband’s decisions. Prior to any official announcement, for example, the appointment of Femi Ggbajabiamila as the President’s Chief of Staff was reported on her social media accounts, and unconfirmed rumours suggest she was influential in the choice.
Due to Tinubu’s probable physical dependence on his wife, she is likely to become one of the most powerful individuals in the presidency. Further, she has been exposed to power for such a long time that she will not feel uneasy or overwhelmed by its aura.This excerpt is taken from Nigeria Focus, our monthly intelligence report on Nigeria. Click here to receive a free sample copy.
The June 2023 issues of Nigeira Focus also includes the following:
- Tinubu signals anti-corruption effort with a controversial firing
- Shaking up the oil and gas sector
- Seplat challenges resolved?
- Import permits, dollar shortages
Politics & Society
- Awaiting Wike’s defection
- Battle within the APC
- Tinubu’s new security team
- Oluremi Tinubu: Not a typical First Lady
Economy & Finance
- A short sharp currency shock