Bola Tinubu Biography, Education, Personal Life, Drug Trafficking, Controversies & Net Worth

Early life and education

According to sworn affidavits, Tinubu was born on 29 March 1952. His mother Abibatu Mogaji, was a trader that later became the Iyaloja of Lagos State. He attended St. John’s Primary School, Aroloya, Lagos and Children’s Home School in Ibadan. Tinubu then went to the United States in 1975, where he studied first at Richard J. Daley College in Chicago and then at Chicago State University. He graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.

Disputes over his age, educational qualifications, and name emerged throughout his political career due to conflicting documents and statements from Tinubu himself. While there are unsubstantiated rumors that Tinubu was born with a different name to a different family in modern-day Osun State, the main controversy was sparked by discrepancies and falsehoods in certificates Tinubu submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission. Documents submitted ahead of running for governor in 1999 falsely stated that Tinubu attended Government College, Ibadan for secondary school and Chicago State University records had his birth year as 1954 not 1952; in response, Tinubu claimed Tokunbo Afikuyomi accidentally falsified the 1999 submission and the university had simply made an error. The controversy was reignited in 2022 when documentation submitted by Tinubu to INEC for the presidential election was released, revealing that he did not state the primary or secondary school he attended in contradiction with previous sworn forms and public statements


Early career and ties to drug trafficking

Tinubu worked for the American companies Arthur Andersen, Deloitte, Haskins, & Sells, and GTE Services Corporation. After returning to Nigeria in 1983, Bola Tinubu joined Mobil Oil Nigeria, and later became an executive of the company.

During his time in the United States, Tinubu was noted for his suspiciously high income before being investigated by federal authorities; eventually his assets were frozen in 1993 as a result of a court case asserting that the American government had “probable cause” to believe Tinubu’s American bank accounts held the proceeds of heroin dealing. He would settle with the government and forfeit about $460,000 later that year. Court documents and later reporting on the case revealed that Tinubu had served as a bagman for two Chicago heroin dealers in the early 1990s.


Personal Life

Tinubu is a devout follower of Islam. Oluremi Tinubu, the current senator for the Lagos Central senatorial district, is his wife. Adewale Tinubu, his nephew, is the CEO of Oando. Abibatu Mogaji, Tinubu’s mother, died on June 15, 2014, at the age of 96. Jide Tinubu, his son, had a heart attack in London on October 31, 2017, and was later confirmed deceased.


Early political career

His political career began in 1992, when he joined the Social Democratic Party where he was a member of the Peoples Front faction led by Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and made up of other politicians such as Umaru Yar’Adua, Atiku Abubakar, Baba Gana Kingibe, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila, Magaji Abdullahi, Dapo Sarumi and Yomi Edu. He was elected to the Senate, representing the Lagos West constituency in the short-lived Nigerian Third Republic.

After the results of the 12 June 1993 presidential elections were annulled, Tinubu became a founding member of the pro-democracy National Democratic Coalition, a group which mobilized support for the restoration of democracy and recognition of Moshood Abiola as winner of the 12 June election. Following the seizure of power as military head of state of General Sani Abacha, he went into exile in 1994 and returned to the country in 1998 after the death of the military dictator, which ushered in the transition to the Fourth Nigerian Republic.

In the run-up to the 1999 elections, Bola Tinubu was a protégé of Alliance for Democracy (AD) leaders Abraham Adesanya and Ayo Adebanjo. He went on to win the AD primaries for the Lagos State governorship elections in defeating Funsho Williams and Wahab Dosunmu, a former Minister of Works and Housing. In January 1999, he stood for the position of Governor of Lagos State on the AD ticket and was elected governor.


Governor of Lagos State

When he assumed office in May 1999, Tinubu promised 10,000 housing units for the poor with little achieved. During the eight-year period of his being in office, he made large investments in education in the state and also reduced the number of schools in the state by returning many schools to the already settled former owners. He also initiated new road construction, required to meet the needs of the fast-growing population of the state.

Tinubu, alongside a new deputy governor, Femi Pedro, won re-election into office as governor in April 2003. All other states in the South West fell to the People’s Democratic Party in those elections. He was involved in a struggle with the Olusegun Obasanjo-controlled federal government over whether Lagos State had the right to create new Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) to meet the needs of its large population. The controversy led to the federal government seizing funds meant for local councils in the state. During the latter part of his term in office, he was engaged in continuous clashes with PDP powers such as Adeseye Ogunlewe, a former Lagos State senator who had become minister of works, and Bode George, the southwest chairman of the PDP.

Relations between Tinubu and deputy governor Femi Pedro became increasingly tense after Pedro declared his intention to run for the gubernatorial elections. Pedro competed to become the AC candidate for governor in the 2007 elections, but withdrew his name on the eve of the party nomination. He defected to the Labour Party while still keeping his position as deputy governor. Tinubu’s tenure as Lagos State Governor ended on 29 May 2007, when his successor Babatunde Fashola of the Action Congress took office.



Tinubu’s career has been marred by accusations of corruption and doubts about the truth of his personal past for a long time. The Federal Government hauled Tinubu before the Code of Conduct Bureau for trial in April 2007, after the elections but before Babatunde Fashola assumed power, for the alleged illegal operation of 16 distinct offshore accounts. Tinubu was cleared of charges of conspiracy, money laundering, abuse of office, and official corruption in relation to the sale of V-mobile network shares in 2004 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in January 2009.

There were claims in March 2009 that a conspiracy to assassinate Tinubu had been discovered. Mike Okiro, the Inspector General of Police, has been tasked by the Alliance for Democracy to undertake a thorough inquiry. However, there were claims in September 2009 that the British Metropolitan Police were looking into a transaction in which the Lagos State government invested in Econet (now Airtel). Tinubu claimed that the deal was plain and advantageous for the state, with no middlemen involved.

Also, Tinubu has been dubbed the “Godfather of Lagos” for wielding his political clout in the state to sway regional and national issues. The Lion of Bourdillion, a 2015 documentary film showcasing Tinubu’s political and financial grasp on Lagos state, exposed his role in tugging the strings of the state. Tinubu sued the producers, AIT, for N150 billion in libel, and the documentary was canceled on March 6, 2015.



In 2006, Tinubu worked on convincing the erstwhile Vice President of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar to become the flagbearer of his party, the Action Congress. Atiku who was a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) then had fallen out with his principal at that time Olusegun Obasanjo over his ambition to succeed the former as president. Tinubu offered Atiku the chance to cross carpet to his party, offering him the slot of his party’s presidential candidacy with the condition that he, Tinubu must be Atiku’s running mate. Atiku declined the proposition and instead chose a running mate from the South East in the person of Ben Obi. And although Atiku still went ahead to contest the election on Tinubu’s platform in the forthcoming elections, the PDP still won in a landslide with Tinubu barking up the wrong tree.

In 2009, following the landslide victory of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the April 2007 elections, Tinubu became involved in negotiations to bring together the fragmented opposition parties into a “mega-party” capable of challenging the then ruling PDP. In February 2013, Tinubu was among several politicians who created a “mega opposition” party with the merger of Nigeria’s three biggest opposition parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the new PDP (nPDP), a faction of the then ruling People’s Democratic Party – into the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In 2014, Tinubu supported former military head of state General Muhammadu Buhari, leader of the CPC faction of the APC – who commanded widespread following in Northern Nigeria, and had previously contested in the 2003, 2007, and 2011 presidential elections as the CPC presidential candidate. Tinubu initially wanted to become Buhari’s vice presidential candidate but later conceded for Yemi Osibanjo, his ally and former commissioner of justice. In 2015, Buhari rode the APC to victory, ending the sixteen year rule of the PDP, and marking the first time in the history of Nigeria that an incumbent president lost to an opposition candidate.

Tinubu has gone on to play an important role in the Buhari administration, supporting government policies and holding onto the internal party reins, in lieu of his long-held rumored presidential aspiration. In 2019, he supported Buhari’s re-election campaign defeating the PDP candidate Atiku Abubakar. In 2020, following an internal party crisis which led to the removal of Tinubu ally and party chairman Adams Oshiomole, it is believed the move was to scuttle Tinubu’s presidential prospects ahead of 2023.


2023 Presidential Ambition

Tinubu announced his vie to run for the President of Nigeria to President Buhari on the 10th of January, 2022. He later won the primary election held in June 2022, in which prominent politicians such as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Rotimi Amaechi, Rochas Okorocha, among others, contested. Thereafter, he became the All Progressive Party flag bearer, in preparation for the 2023 general presidential election.


Chieftaincy titles

Tinubu holds both the chieftaincies of the Asiwaju of Lagos and the Jagaban of Borgu kingdom in Niger State, Nigeria.


Net Worth

According to the analysis made by different sources online, it can be concluded that Tinubu is one of the richest politicians in Nigeria. He has an estimated net worth of $32.7 billion. Some of his properties that could be attributed to being his sources of income include the following.

  • Oriental Hotel
  • Falomo Shopping Complex
  • First Nation Airline
  • Lekki Concession Company
  • Apapa Amusement Park
  • Maiyegun Land Project
  • The Nation Newspaper
  • Renaissance Hotel
  • Tejuoso Market (Joint ownership)
  • Ikeja Shopping Mall
  • TV Continental
  • Converted Lagos Poly land for TVC
  • Owned NNPC Office building in Lagos
  • Radio Continental
  • Owned School of Nursing building in Lagos
  • Tax Collector of Lagos State (owns Alpha Beta, a company Prof. Osinbajo is a
  • director)
  • Oando Oil (Receives over $500 million dollars annually from government petroleum subsidy)


Written by PH

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