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By: Tope Adaramola  
 Published January 20th, 2012

A curious observation of the conduct, demeanor and progressive actions of Senator Oluremi Tinubu, representing the Lagos Central  Senatorial District should sufficiently convince any objective mind that the initial resistance to her nomination for the position prior to the general election of April 2011 was either ill –informed or in bad taste.

Senator Tinubu who came to limelight as the First Lady during her husband’s tenure as Governor of Lagos State, is proving skeptics wrong about her understanding of statecraft and dynamics of participatory or representative governance. Obviously latching on her association with her husband- the mercurial politician and icon of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu- Oluremi is also enjoying the rob off effect of the dynamism and vision of party mates and egg heads in the fold of the CAN, to project herself admirably as a national legislator.

Vocal, but humble and self effacing, Oluremi has resisted the temptation of being a “bench warmer” as some of her first time ilks on the hallowed chamber of the national assemblY are wont to do. The Senator is usually visible, joining her voice to debates on crucial issues of national importance or even act as canon folder for some discussions on germane national issues, especially those that border particularly on the youth, women and the underprivileged in the society, in a manner that is congruent with the focus and ethos of her party.

Even outside the senate chambers, Senator Oluremi Tinubu comports herself most admirably as an epitome of humility and human relations. This is clearly evidenced at a recent public function, specifically, at an investiture ceremony of the first female president of one of the renowned professional business association in Lagos where this writer was  privileged to be the master of ceremonies. As the  main speaker at the event, Senator Tinubu had been availed a draft of the paper before hand, in order to guide her thoughts on the subject matter. The organizers had thought that the subject matter could be a bit herculearn for her to delve into given the technical details that it entailed. Contrary to this views, the Senator marooned the audience with the incisiveness of the paper content as she also spoke extensively off the cuff, an indication of her ingrained understanding of the subject matter. It definitely takes a trained mind who had subjected herself to a continuous regime of studying that could have done so with so much panache. She also mixed freely with the other guests and everyone present, refraining herself from the usual “barrier of protocol and security” with which most of her fellow VIPs usually hemmed themselves from the public.

Being the founder of a Non Governmental Organisation- The New Era Foundation- Oluremi leveraged significantly on the carefully articulated thrust of the Foundation, especially as regards the youths, women and the underprivileged in the society, for  delivery of dividend of democracy to the people. At a time when many politicians of her ilk were still groping in the dark, or were at a loss about what to do, Senator Tinubu had hit the ground running with her sterling performances as testimony.

In terms of youth empowerment, the Senator had realised the insidious effect of neglecting this crucial segment, thus making a large room for them in her thrust of office. Just recently, an unprecedented youth camping was organized under the tag name, “New Era Youth Camp”, where hundreds of youths between the ages of 7 to 17 years drawn from all local government areas in Lagos State were in attendance. The event was  held at the serene and quiet 50 acre all-inclusive facility camp at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos. Senator Tinubu who was overwhelmed by the robust attendance of the youth disclosed that the camping was aimed at imbuing in the youths requisite leadership and entrepreneurship skills that would make them become productive and effective leaders of tomorrow.  She said that “since God would not come down to change Nigeria, premium consideration should be  given to teaching young people how to live together in harmony and the right leadership qualities by the passing generation”. At the end of the event, the elated youths who had apparently had a swell time thanked Senator Tinubu for her thoughtfulness as they challenged other political office holders and privileged individuals in the society to emulate the gesture.

Also, in a further move to reduce the challenges faced by youths in the nation’s educational institutions, Senator Tinubu’s credibility also recently inched up as she unfolded her project for them during the Town Hall meeting held with the people of her constituency under the tag name “Stewardship of Hope”. Senator Tinubu said the idea was ingeniously conceived to bridge the communication line between her and the constituency and to re-define the usual relationship that  existed between the electorates and their representatives after electioneering periods. Cashing in on the overwhelming presence of the people, Oluremi utilized the forum to roll out scholarship awards to students. She said that the first leg of the initiative which was called Post Secondary School Scholarship Scheme (PSSS) was to empower brilliant but indigent students from her constituency. Under the scheme, 26 students got annual scholarship awards of N100,000 each to finance their university education for four years, while additional 625 students got N10,000 each towards defraying the cost of purchasing academic books.

Determined to have a holistic people oriented project, Senator Tinubu has also given significant leap to the business fortunes of petty traders in her constituency. With a total sum of N13million grant set aside for what she called ‘’Petty Traders Empowerment Capital Scheme”; 50 traders from each of the 13 local government areas and local community development areas (LCDAs) were selected and given N20,000 each to further capitalize their petty trading, assuring them that the monies were grants and not loans that would be repaid. According to Tinubu, the gestures were extended to the traders considering the fact that they constituted a significant profile of the economy that must be empowered for sustainable development.

While all these projects, according to Senator Tinubu were merely  a tip of the ice bag, in comparison to the plethora of projects in the pipeline for the people of her constituency, the fact remains that her disposition is complementary to plans by the ACN to give Lagosians and other states where the party holds sway a good dose of the much talked about “dividends of democracy”. Suffice it to also say that the sustenance of Senator Tinubu’s obvious pragmatic steps would further buoy up her personal reputation before the eyes of the critical voting mass, who on the long run would be the decider of the success of her return bid come 2015; that is, if she so desires!


Tope Adaramola is a public affairs commentator based in Lagos

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