Bola Tinubu Wealth: How Bola Tinubu Made His Money
Possibly the wealthiest presidential candidate in the upcoming election is Tinubu, but how did he become so rich? Nigerians firmly believe that learning the true wealth of their politicians is more complicated than it is for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle.
Nigerian politicians frequently keep their earnings records a secret, in contrast to many developed democracies where politicians, particularly those who have held elective positions, can boast of a traceable financial history. In the rare cases where they are able to offer an explanation, the claims are typically marred by contradictions and fragmented narratives, adding to the confusion.
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC), is one of Nigeria’s most significant political figures in history.
Tinubu has cut the image of an affluent politician who sits on wealth greater than expected of a public office holder ever since his entry into Nigerian politics in 1992 as a senator representing Lagos West Senatorial District.
Through his tenure as governor of Lagos State and beyond, this public image has consistently put him under close scrutiny, which only serves to confirm Nigerians’ long-held suspicion that politicians’ bank accounts suddenly get fatter when they take positions of power.
The undeniable fact, however, is that Tinubu was obscenely wealthy — or so he wants everyone to believe — long before he decided to enter politics, even though that perception is still up for debate.
But the origins of Bola Tinubu wealth are because his alleged wealth continues to intrigue Nigerians. So, how did Bola Tinubu make his money, in his own words?
After earning his degree from Chicago State University, Tinubu worked in the United States for Arthur Andersen, Haskins & Sells, and GTE, but it was while he was working for Deloitte that he made his most significant financial achievement.
“At Deloitte and Touche, I chose to travel more than 80% of my working years there. And that is because if staff chose to travel, he would make more money because he would get travel allowances,” Tinubu said during his 64th birthday celebration in 2016.
After he returned from an assignment where he assisted the National Oil and Aramco in Saudi Arabia in setting up an accounting and auditing system for a joint venture, he claimed his account had been credited in the millions.
“The bonus was $850,000, before taxes. My salaries were also being paid into the bank and I was not touching them. At the time, my salary deposits in the bank had risen to about $1.8 million,” Tinubu claimed.
Numerous accounts, supported by the renowned playwright Prof. Wole Soyinka, claim that Tinubu amassed a sizeable fortune by bringing rice and chemicals to the nation.
Soyinka recalled how the former governor was able to raise money by selling rice to support the pro-democracy struggle while they were being forced into exile by the Sani Abacha military government in the 1990s. Soyinka was speaking at the 5th Bola Tinubu Colloquium, an annual event to commemorate Tinubu’s birthday.
In a 2022 interview, Bayo Onanuga, Tinubu’s campaign spokesman, backed up this assertion.
In addition, Tinubu has asserted that a wide range of investments forms the foundation of his enormous wealth.
He cited the real estate he inherited from an unnamed person as the source of his wealth in a BBC interview he gave toward the end of 2022.
He said, “I inherited great real estate; I turned the values around.”
Onanuga also mentioned that the previous governor owned a number of gas stations.
Joe Igbokwe, a chieftain of the APC in Lagos suggested that the Jagaban also invested in Apple Corporation as far back as 1980. Igbokwe, who argued that Tinubu was already a dollar millionaire 10 years before he became governor, said “Any Nigerian who was smart enough to invest a mere N1.8 million in Apple Corporation shares in 1980 will be worth more than N10 trillion today.”
While Tinubu has asserted his ownership of all the aforementioned assets directly or through intermediaries, there are a number of other properties and investments that have been connected to him but that he has neither claimed nor denied.
For instance, the editorial slant of the national daily makes clear the long-held assumption that he owns Vintage Press Limited, the business that produces The Nation Newspaper. The same can be said for Radio Continental and Television Continental (TVC), two broadcasting outlets that work to advance and protect Tinubu’s interests and, by extension, those of his political party.
The former governor of Lagos has also been credited with owning commercial buildings, including the Ikeja Shopping Mall, NNPC office building, Falomo Shopping Centre, and joint ownership of Tejuosho Market, in addition to his alleged investments in the media sector.
Additionally, Tinubu is charged with taking over state-owned properties. The Lagos State Polytechnic once owned the land where TVC is now located (LASPOTECH). The same holds true for the allegedly purchased Mayegun Land Project and the former Lagos School of Nursing building in Igando.
The list of Tinubu’s purported unclaimed businesses is endless, but a few of them have continued to spark debate. One of them is the Lekki Concession Company (LCC), a Special Purpose Vehicle established specifically to carry out the Eti-Osa Lekki Toll Road Concession Project and which has remained connected to the APC presidential candidate.
The tax-generating company Alpha Beta Consulting, which critics claim he primarily used to divert funds from the Lagos State treasury to his personal accounts, is the most contentious venture associated with the former governor that he hasn’t claimed.