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Published On: Mon, Feb 17th, 2014

Oluremi Tinubu, a Governorship Material

Senator Oluremi Tinubu

By Ikechukwu Orji
According to Michael Catalini women are better leaders. “As a man I can say women have more common sense and don’t get caught up in the power play that stunts results. Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola, is of the view that when women are in leadership roles, brands get better and morale gets better.
To tell it like it is, I don’t really think leadership is about gender. It is about ideas and it is about ability. However, it is imperative to note that woman have more understanding of what the average family faces. They are more commutative and collaborative. They are more truthful and less likely to steal and cheat.
Oluremi Tinubu is one woman that symbolizes all that is good in womanhood. She has a special sensitivity to the needs of others, which includes an almost intuitive understanding of situations and people’s feelings. Her empathy makes it natural for her to feel the hurts of others. Her philosophy of life is charity. And
that is the very thing God want us to do in abundance.
“Charity should be a lifestyle. It is just simple and it gives so much joy doing that. I do better in charity work than in business. During the Sickle Cell launch, we were able
to raise about N51 million just in a night. I have discovered that this is what God wants me to do.”
This woman doesn’t wear pride on her face. She is not haughty and arrogant. Her private life is a pastel shade of calm. She introduces joy, colour, harmony and lightheartedness into human life. We don’t need a professor of politics to rule Lagos
State. We don’t need a seasoned politician to rule Lagos. We need someone with a heart full of compassion. The poor and needy have been neglected for so long in this country. I see her as someone whose policies will affect the poorest of the poor.
When asked recently if she has an ambition of running for the office of the Governor, she said it is not a place for the tender hearted. “Even to run for this office, it is the
press that started it. Truly and truly speaking, it is never my ambition to run for governor of Lagos state. Remember, my husband did it for eight years and I was not an outsider to it. It is not a place for the tender hearted. It is a lot of work to govern Lagos and I am not the type that doesn’t put hard work into whatever I do. I don’t think I have the strength to say I want to govern Lagos. There is still a lot of work to be done in Lagos.”
I sincerely think she is the one to do that hard work. Mrs. Tinubu should be urged to run. She will deliver the goods. I hope she doesn’t chicken out. Those who are underrating her are poor students of history. Humble and unassuming people are usually the most productive in the business of governance. James
Garfield once made a memorable remark about Abraham Lincoln.
“Strange phenomenon in the world’s history when a second rate Illinois lawyer is the instrument to utter words which shall form an epoch memorable in all future ages.” Nobody ever gave Lincoln a chance. But he had innate qualities which
very few eyes could see. This lady will spring surprises. She has an intuitive mind and prodigious capacity for work. She has a singular ability to transcend personal vendetta and bitterness.
It could be recalled that when she celebrated her 45th birthday, she urged her friends not to buy her gifts. She took a full page advertorials in major newspapers to plead with friends to support her in bringing hope to the Nigerian child. In an
advertorial on page 79 of the Guardian edition of September 20, 2005, entitled “Letter to Well-wishers”, Mrs. Tinubu appealed: “Dear friends and Well-wishers, to the glory of God, the Ever-Merciful, on September 21, this year, I will be 45 years old. It is an occasion for me to thank God for His protection, His blessings and for standing by me all through the past four and
a half decades. It is a practice for friends and well-wishers to use occasions like this to express their affection by sending birthday cards, gifts and putting congratulatory adverts in the newspapers. However, I urge you all to celebrate with me in a kinder and gentle way. I urge you to put whatever amount you intend to spend on those gifts, cards or congratulatory adverts
aside to reduce the death of children due to Sickle Cell Disorders.”
Some years ago, she showered love on Liberia children by building them an Elementary and Junior High Schools. By doing that she is helping about 500 children whose future were devastated by a bloody civil war to find succor and hope. The idea of building a school came naturally to her because she is a professional teacher and loves the classroom. This is perfect example of what it means to show love to one’s neighbour. Helping your neighbor does not have to be people from your household.” God did not tell us that they must be people of your own household. When I was sending clothes to Liberia, people asked why I am not sending them to the refugee camp in Nigeria. And I asked why don’t you give to the refugee camp? This is where I am led by God to serve and if God did not want me to do it we wouldn’t have commissioned the project. I strongly
believe that not that I have money stacked up somewhere.”
Senator Oluremi Tinubu is currently the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity. Recently, she awarded N13 million grant to traders in
her constituency. The grant is for small time traders in the 13 council areas
within the Lagos Central Senatorial Zone. Mrs. Tinubu revealed that 50 traders would be given a N20, 000 non-interest facility each to invest in their businesses. This programme tagged’ Petty Traders Empowerment Capital Scheme’ is a grant and not a loan.
According to her this scheme is imperative because petty traders are major contributors to the sustenance of the informal
sector and it is in line with promise of All Progressives Congress (APC) to improve the life of the people.
Mrs. Tinubu has too much of an alloy in her composition to handle the position. In a recent interview, she revealed that she is from a political family. “ I am from a political
family. There is no time that we are not ready to serve. We have been serving at the state and at the national levels for a long time. So we have been in the process trying to bring succor to the people and I don’t know how more ready you want me to be. For me, my husband has been a very visible and active player. If he hadn’t gotten the support from home and the understanding, I
don’t think he would have been able to go this far.” She truly exudes the hearty simplicity of nature. There is vim beneath her gentle exterior. Mrs. Tinubu is so convinced of the fact that she is a comrade. “I am a comrade. I said that this is the new face of labour. It is in the blood. I also came from the trenches. I never talk about June 12. Everybody would give themselves all the accolade and I will just look. I paid dearly.”
It is also about time we had a Christian governor in Lagos. A person who understands what love means. A person who loves the common man and feels their pain. This woman whose character
is marked by a happy mixture of amiability and courage can do the job. She disclosed that her primary concern in the senate is to give succor and hope to the young people. “This wasn’t the Nigeria that I grew up to love. I keep saying it that I was not from a very wealthy family, but we were comfortable.
We were the then middle class. We could aspire and we could dream to be whatever we want to be. I am here today because that dream kept me. But that is not what we have today. I look at the young people and my heart goes out to them. People ask me do labour people dress the way I do? But I say, this is the
new face of labour, and it is in my blood. If you fight for the common good of the people you don’t have to dress in towels and deceive them, but they know who is who. You can see the kind of rapport I have with the common man. My heart is saying who is going to give them Justice? Who is going to fight their cause?
Oluremi Tinubu is the first woman to follow her, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to the senate. She was the First Lady of Lagos State between 1999 and 2007.
During that period she used her New Era Foundation to impact on the lives of the people. She should be urged to run for the top job in Lagos State because she has clothed herself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Ikechukwu Orji is a Lagos based journalist

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