HomeBioBola Tinubu Biography: Net Worth, Political Career, Controversies, and More

Bola Tinubu Biography: Net Worth, Political Career, Controversies, and More

Bola Tinubu is a man with many aliases. He’s called Governor Emeritus by some. Some call him Senator. Others call him BAT. Some call him Jagaban. Others call him Asiwaju. Hes sometimes called a kingmaker. Some call him king. Lately, he’s referred to as the biggest skit maker in Nigeria.

His many political engagements, which include rallies and town hall meetings, have seen him eclipse the performances of career skit makers like Mr. Macaroni, Sabinus, and co.

We all laughed when he spoke about turning “a rotten situation to a bad one” and “God bless PD…APC”.

We were all in joyful tears when he told us that “a town hall is different from bala blu, blu, bulaba” as he struggled to pronounce hullabaloo.

And yes, Ovie Omo-Agege, the All Progressives Congress gubernatorial candidate in Delta state would be the next governor of Niger Delta state.


“Do you love me? Go and take your APV…APC, and you must vote”. Love conquers all, right? So, that is why you should forgive this gaffe. He meant Permanent Voters Card, PVC.

We reckon you’re still laughing out loud. This last one, however, requires you thinking in quietly, if there’s any phrase like that.

When the APC flag bearer said climate change “is a question of how do you prevent a church rat from eating a poisoned holy communion?” the words sounded scholarly that required further research. Maybe you can add a professor to his aliases.

We present the biography of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Jagaban of Borgu.  

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Bola Tinubu: Birth and Childhood

As claimed by an affidavit, Bola Tinubu was born in Lagos state on March 29th, 1952, the same day as Teofilo Stevenson, a Cuban amateur boxer who is one of only three pugilists to win three Olympic gold medals.

We have no record of Bola Tinubu’s father, but his mother was Abibatu Mogaji, a trader who later became the Iyaloja of Lagos state. She died on June 15th, 2013, at 96.

Growing up on Lagos Island was bliss for the young Bola Tinubu. This period of near obliviousness had its flip side, though.

“I admit I played some pranks and got spanked while growing up,” the lover of the music of James Brown, Roy Chicago, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, and everything jazz said.

“Yes, I indulged in some pranks, like trespassing in other people’s gardens to pluck oranges, despite warnings not to do so. I would spend my allowance on bicycle renting. I told a couple of lies. For example, I would collect money from big uncles for the purchase of five books – Dic, Tion, Na, Ry – instead of one dictionary!

“I did that to have enough money to play around, rent bicycles, and buy sneakers. I would play football, play at the lagoon, and turn out very dirty and rough in the evenings. There were so many such pranks.

“I would seize football from my mates and take it home. The boys would come to the house, asking for the football, and my parents would spank me and order that I return the ball to its owners.”

Bola Tinubu played those pranks with friends like Tunde Badejo, Bolaji Agaba, Rasheed Abina, Tunde Adeyemo, and Sola Popoola.

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Bola Tinubu: Education

According to the documents submitted ahead of running for governor in 1999, the APC presidential aspirant attended St. John’s Primary School, Lagos, and Children’s Home School, Ibadan. He attended Government College, Ibadan, for his secondary school education.

Bola Tinubu’s desire to leave Nigeria for pastures new was etched on his mind when his bosom friends, Folabi Salami, Tokunbo Maxwell, Nurudeen Olowopopo, and Sola Popoola departed the shores of the country.

His parents, however, were not sold by the idea. They changed their mind when their son missed death by whiskers during a family ceremony at Ikenne, Ogun state.

“We had gone to pick bottles of Coca-Cola from the cold room and wanted to quickly return to the St. Saviour’s Church, where my sister was,” he said.

“There was a sudden rain of bullets, and had we not been rushing to the church to ensure that we didn’t miss what was going on there, I would have died. The young man that was standing with me was hit.

He slumped and died. Based on the sad incident and how I had narrowly missed death, my family said to me: ‘This boy, you have always said that you wanted to travel out of the country. It is time to do so’.” 

His mother gathered some money, sold her trinkets to make up for the remaining part of his allowances, and added it with proceeds from the sale of a Volkswagen Beetle given to him by his uncle, Ganiyu Tinubu. And off he went to the United States of America in 1975.

He studied at Richard J. Daley College in Chicago and then at Chicago State University. Bola Tinubu graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting – a course that wasn’t his choice.

“It was accidental,” he said.

“It was the university placement. I was good at mathematics and business courses. In fact, if I were to choose a career for myself, I would have chosen marketing. I came in with A grades, and I had nothing less than A+ in accounting and statistics.”

The controversies that have trailed the age and identity of the former governor of Lagos state are not accidental, though. It has left people asking: where is Tinubu originally from, is Tinubu from Osun state, how old is Bola Tinubu, who is Bola Tinubu, the history of Tinubu, etc.

Unconfirmed rumours have it that Bola Tinubu was born with a different name (Yekini Amoda?) to another family (Ogunlere?) in modern-day Osun state. Another controversy was sparked by discrepancies in certificates he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before contesting the governorship position of Lagos state in 1999.

The documents showed he attended Government College, Ibadan, and Chicago State University. His birth year was listed as 1954, not 1952. Bola Tinubu’s response then was that Tokunbo Afikuyomi, who filled and submitted the forms on his behalf, made an error.

Twenty-three years later, the controversy was reignited when documentation submitted by Bola Tinubu to INEC for the presidential election got into the public domain. He left the columns for his primary and secondary schools blank in the forms. It contradicted previous sworn forms and public statements.


Bola Tinubu’s pre-political career

After graduating from the university, Bola Tinubu worked for firms like Arthur Andersen, Deloitte, Haskins, and the GTE Services Corporation. On his return to Nigeria in 1983, he joined Mobil Oil. He rose to become an executive of the company.

Before coming to Nigeria, he was investigated by the US federal authorities, who suspected that his bank accounts housed the proceeds from drug dealings. After a court case, his assets were frozen, and he had to give up about $460,000 to the government.

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Bola Tinubu’s Political Career

Bola Tinubu became a partisan politician in 1992 when he joined the Social Democratic Party, SDP. As a party member, he was in the Peoples Front faction led by Shehu Musa Yar’Adua.

Other prominent members were Umaru Yar’Adua, Atiku Abubakar, Baba Gana Kingibe, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila, Magaji Abdullahi, Dapo Sarumi, and Yomi Edu.

Bola Tinubu was elected to the Senate, representing the Lagos West constituency in the short-lived Nigerian Third Republic. Here’s his political career timeline.

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Bola Tinubu’s Political Career Timeline

1993 – became a founding member of the pro-democracy National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), a group mobilized to restore democracy and recognize Moshood Abiola as the winner of the June 12, 1993, election

1994 – went into exile during the tyrannical rule of General Sani Abacha

1998 – returned to Nigeria after the death of the military dictator, as the Fourth Nigerian Republic was about to be birthed

1998 – won the Alliance for Democracy (AD) primaries for the Lagos State governorship elections. He defeated Wahab Dosunmu, a former Minister of Works and Housing, and Funsho Williams

January 1999 – was elected governor of Lagos state after a wide margin victory over the PDP’s Dapo Sarumi and the All Peoples Party’s Nosirudeen Kekere-Ekun

May 29th, 1999 – assumed office

April 2003 – won re-election into office alongside a new deputy, Femi Pedro, this time with a reduced margin over the PDP’s Funsho Williams

2006 – made Atiku Abubakar the presidential flag bearer of his party, the Action Congress

April 2007 – the Federal Government brought him before the Code of Conduct Tribunal for trial over the alleged illegal operation of 16 separate foreign accounts

May 29th, 2007 – tenure as governor ended as his successor Babatunde Fashola of the Action Congress took office

2009 – following the landslide victory of the PDP in the April 2007 elections, he became involved in negotiations to bring together the fragmented opposition parties into a mega-party capable of challenging the ruling party

January 2009 – the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission cleared him of charges of conspiracy, money laundering, official corruption in the sales of V-mobile network shares in 2004, and abuse of office

March 2009 – there were reports that a plot had been hatched to assassinate him. His party, AD, called on the Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro, to conduct a thorough investigation

July 2009 – called for implementing electoral reforms spelled out in the Uwais report to ensure that the 2011 elections would be likened to the one conducted in 1993, which was termed ‘free and fair.’

December 2009 – there were reports he fell out with his successor, Fashola, over his re-election bid in 2011

February 2013 – played a pivotal role in creating the mega opposition party with the merger of the Congress for Progressive Change, the Action Congress of Nigeria, the All Nigeria Peoples Party, a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), and the new PDP (nPDP), a faction of the PDP into the All Progressives Congress (APC).

2014 – supported Muhammadu Buhari, leader of the CPC faction of the APC, to clinch the party’s presidential ticket

March 2015 – backed Buhari, who had previously contested in the 2003, 2007, and 2011 presidential elections, to victory ending the 16-year rule of the PDP. It marked the first time in the history of Nigeria that an incumbent president lost to an opposition candidate

2019 – supported Buhari’s re-election campaign, which defeated the PDP candidate Atiku Abubakar

2020 – his ally and APC chairperson Adams Oshiomhole was removed from office

January 10th, 2022 – announced his intention to run for the president of Nigeria to Buhari

June 8th, 2022 – won the presidential primary of the APC, scoring 1,271. He defeated vice president Yemi Osinbajo and Rotimi Amaechi, who scored 235 and 316, respectively.

Bola Tinubu’s Wife


Bola Tinubu, a Muslim, is married to Oluremi Tinubu, a Christian. She’s the current senator of the Lagos Central senatorial district. They got married in 1987.

“Until I met her, I didn’t even want to be married because I loved my freedom,” he said.

“I had also been disappointed along the line. My expectations dashed. I was going to be totally free before I met Remi. She was innocent, homely, and very quiet. I was surprised by her manners, and I was hooked.”

He has been hooked since then, but it was rumoured it wasn’t the first time he was hooked.

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Bola Tinubu’s First Wife

We know little about her or if they were married legally. She was reported to have died in 2018 after suffering cardiac arrest. She was, however, the mother of his first two children.

Bola Tinubu’s Children

The former governor of Lagos has six children. They are Olajide Tinubu, Folashade Tinubu-Ojo, Seyi Tinubu, Zainab Abisola Tinubu, Habibat Tinubu, and Olayinka Tinubu. One died tragically.

Bola Tinubu’s Personal Tragedy

On October 31st, 2017, his first son Olajide Tinubu died at 43. He suffered a heart attack while in London and was later confirmed dead. Olajide read Law at the University of Liverpool, England. He had a Master’s degree in Maritime Law from the University of London. Jide Tunubu was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1999.

Bola Tinubu’s Chieftaincy Titles

He holds several chieftaincy titles across the country, but the most prominent ones are the Asiwaju of Lagos and the Jagaban of Borgu kingdom in Niger state.

Bola Tinubu’s Controversies

A coin has a head and a tail. Bola Tinubu’s flip side is controversies. Two volumes of books can be written about his many altercations. But we don’t have the luxury of time and space. We present some of them here in brief.

Political godfatherism


The Godfather will be apt for the title of Bola Tinubu’s biography. The Godfather has always determined who continues his reign as the governor of Lagos. He ensured the emergence of Fashola, Akinwunmi Ambode, and Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

His political and financial grip on Lagos state has all been spoken of and written about. But a 2015 documentary titled The Lion of Bourdillon bared it all.

He filed a ₦150 billion libel suit against the producers, AIT, who had to discontinue the documentary’s airing on March 6th, 2015. It was first aired on March 1st, 2015.

The legendary bullion vans  

Banks use bullion vans to move money from one location to another, but Bola Tinubu uses it to influence elections in Lagos state. During the 2019 election, a bullion van was seen entering his residence on Bourdillon Road in Ikoyi.

When quizzed, “I keep money anywhere, I want” was all he had to say about it.

However, he had a lot to say about the controversies about his age, origin, and education.

In 2021, Wikipedia locked the page of Bola Tinubu over what it described as “persistent vandalism” because several accounts edited his age several times. It once read 1942 but now reflects 1952.

In a recent interview at the Chatham House in the United Kingdom, Bola Tinubu cleared the issues.

“I am Tinubu and Tinubu proper,” he said.

“At the time of birth, I was dated March 29, 1952, in the family record. I didn’t think that day I had determined or decided to be president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or even go into politics. I have had good exposure in life.

“My record is consistent in the school — in the university question, they (opposition) confessed that they wasted their money and time. The record is there. The transcript is there showing March 1952.

“I’m not claiming another father. I am Tinubu and Tinubu proper. If they want DNA, they could as well require one. One of them has been accused of not being a Nigerian citizen; I didn’t touch that area.

“Equally, it remains the same – Deloitte, Chicago State University, where I graduated, have attested to that. Now, I can announce that I have received my original placement degree certificate from them.

“Deloitte trained me at an accounting firm. Mobil Oil has attested to my record. I got to the pinnacle of my career. In the private sector, who among them can brag about that?

“Yes, you want to wrestle with the pig. You have got to live with the dirt. That is what I am doing. I got into politics knowing fully well that it is muddy water.”


Bola Tinubu’s Net worth

Bola Tinubu’s net worth is not as muddy as he’s clearly among the richest politicians in Nigeria. His estimated net worth is $32.7 billion. When the question was asked, he was elusive. He’s a politician, you know!

“If you are talking in monetary terms, it is a lie. But I want them to continue to believe that I am rich. The fact is that I cannot prepare for my death. I want to live long, and I believe in people, and I believe in sharing,” he said.

“So, whatever you ascribe to me in terms of wealth is your own imagination. I will not do two cheques – one to the Central Bank of Heaven and the other one to the Central Bank of Hell – cashable when I am dead. The money will remain here.”

Bola Tinubu’s Cars 

One cannot correctly know the number of cars this lover of rice and Amala, and Ewedu soup has. But some of them are Armoured Land Rover Range Rover, Prado Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, BMW, Ford, and Lexus.

Bola Tinubu’s Private Jet

Bola Tinubu

He reportedly has a private Bombardier Global 6000 Express jet. It dug a $75 million hole in his pocket.

Bola Tinubu’s Houses

He has several houses, at home and abroad, but the most famous is his expansive mansion on Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

SEE: Atiku Abubakar Net Worth, Biography and Political History

Bola Tinubu’s Legacy…

…in his own words.

“My best legacy is the financial engineering of Lagos State, especially to bring financial autonomy to Lagos State and eliminate wastage and mismanagement. That was just one aspect of it,” he said.

“My greatest legacy is Governor Babatunde Fashola. I identified and endorsed him. That was when my corporate background as a recruiter and talent seeker for Deloitte came to play.

“Part of the training when you go on operational audit is that the first thing you evaluate are the personnel, and the questionnaire given to them and how they answer it. You look at the ability of individuals to really take and develop others.

“There is nothing unique to any leadership. Everybody can come up with different ideas. You can take different routes and arrive at the same answer. No matter how much steel and metal you put together, the greatest achievement and legacy is the ability to develop other leaders who can succeed you.

“Otherwise, your legacy will be in shambles. It was a very challenging period for me. I thank God I stuck to my guns.”



Since 1992, he has dabbled into politics, and until today, he’s vying to be the president of Nigeria. Bola Tinubu has been plagued by questions about the veracity of his personal history, corruption accusations, physical strength, and mental capacity.

And despite providing the ammunition for the recent attacks through his frequent gaffes, he has weathered the storm.

Can he get to the finish line and breast the tape? His well-wishers pray so. His adversaries pray not.  

This article is the last of the three front-line presidential aspirants in the upcoming election. Please check out the others here as Battabox does not endorse any political party or any candidates, neither are we sharing our political views with you, but we expect you to share yours in return in the comment section below.

Victor Akhidenor
Victor Akhidenor
I’m an award-winning journalist with over 10 years of experience in the industry. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in Media and Communication. I also have a certificate in Media Enterprise from Pan-Atlantic University as well as a D Diploma in football coaching. Aside from the media, I have work experience in insurance claims processing, marketing, credit analysis, and corporate communications in the banking sector. My hobbies are watching sports activities, reading and writing, carrying out research, traveling, and photography.