About Bola Tinubu Colloquium

The idea of holding a colloquium yearly in honour of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was first conceived in 1999 by close friends and associates of Asiwaju who thought it important that the rich debates and intellectual discussions that often marked cabinet and other meetings with Asiwaju be translated to a platform which would expand the conversations and lead to tangible outcomes.

The first Bola Tinubu Colloquium was held on March 29, 2009. The theme ‘Every Vote Must Count’ was inspired by the country’s preparation for the 2011 general elections against the backdrop of lessons learnt from the conduct and outcomes of the 2007 elections. The discussants were Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, Chief Niyi Akintola, SAN, Chief Charles Edosonwan SAN, Mr. Kola Awodein, SAN and Mr. Tunji Bello. The lead discussant, Mr. David Kangah of the Ghana Electoral Commission submitted that Nigeria must strive to inculcate a culture of democratic practice in its people as well as safeguard the electoral process with adequate legal and institutional framework with proper checks and balances that will prevent manipulation by ruling parties.
A major outcome of the first colloquium was the inauguration of the Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reform (CODER).
The second colloquium was held on March 29, 2010 to celebrate Asiwaju’s 58th birthday with the theme – ‘This House Must Stand! Pulling Nigeria Back from the Brink’. Renowned economist and innovator Dr. Hernando de Soto spoke on extralegality as it affects world economies and human rights. Discussants included Mrs. Maryam Uwais MFR, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, Mr. Babatunde Ahonsi and Ms. Ijeoma Nwogwugwu.
The third colloquium addressed the pertinent question – ‘Nigeria-Why isn’t it Working, How Will It Work’? The panelists, Mr. Opeyemi Agbaje, Mr. Leke Alder and Mr. Femi Falana made presentations on the state of the economy in comparison with like countries to measure growth. According to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the ideas expressed at that colloquium gave valuable insights which were reflected in his recently published book – FINANCIALISM: WATER FROM AN EMPTY WELL- How the financial system drains the economy co-authored by Asiwaju and Mr. Brian Browne.
The fourth colloquium held on March 28, 2012 was in celebration of Asiwaju’s sixtieth birthday . The theme ‘Looking Back, Thinking Ahead’ was in response to the need to review the successes and failures of the Asiwaju administration and its successor towards articulating the lessons learnt in drafting a direction for the future. The panelists were all members of the Tinubu administration at one point or the other – Mr. Yemi Cardoso, Mr. Wale Edun, Dr. Leke Pitan, Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN, and Governors Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN. Also, at the fourth colloquium, the book ‘Asiwaju : Leadership in Troubled Times’ was formally presented to the public. The book edited by Sam Omatseye, Tunji Bello and Segun Ayobolu is a collection of essays authored by Asiwaju’s cabinet members during his tenure as governor between 1999 and 2007 . In his foreword to the book Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, mni, CFR, Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs stated that “ the book we must also admit, is being presented at a critical period in the history of our beloved country. The security challenges, especially in the Northern states, are becoming worrisome. Poverty in the midst of plenty has become the lot of the majority of our people”


Hon. Justice Uwais, GCON, in his preface noted that Tinubu’s testing of the judiciary with constitutional cases that invoked the powers of the Supreme Court helped in expounding our nascent democracy and enriched our constitutional jurisprudence
Another significant outcome of the fourth Annual Bola Tinubu Colloquium was the launch of the Bola Tinubu Institute for Politics and Government, a non-governmental think tank that focuses on issues of politics and governance in Africa with a distinct emphasis on Nigeria. The Centre conducts research into challenges that affect the capacity of governments to deliver universal basic access to social services as well as to provide solutions to the complex challenges and issues plaguing the African continent.
The Centre also provides fresh intellectual ideas in electoral practices, pro-poor government policies, regional integration, and fiscal federalism in the coming decade, education, and health and social service strategies for Nigeria’s ballooning population.
The fifth colloquium’s theme is ‘Beyond Mergers: A National Movement for Change, A New Generation Speaks’. The theme is in response to the recent merger of major opposition parties in Nigeria to form the All Progressive Congress, (APC) a party which it is hoped, will provide a real alternative to the ruling party. The optimism for the future that this development has engendered has also somewhat excited the thought that perhaps this might be an opportunity for a more broad-based movement for National transformation. The fifth colloquium seeks to create a platform for encouraging that possibility.


Held on the 29th of March, 2014, the sixth Bola Tinubu colloquium was tagged “The Summit of The Common Man”. The colloquium held at the Eko Hotel and Suites with dignitaries and political weights in attendance to celebrate his 62nd birthday. This edition was different as the common man was the center of the symposium as he has been neglected for too long. According to the organizers, “there are 20.3 million unemployed youth. 75% of Nigerians have no access to primary healthcare. 10.8 million Children of primary school age are out of school, 24.4 million Nigerians would be homeless by 2015 and 55,000 women die annually”. These numbers are alarming and something needs to be done to reduce it to the barest minimum.
Historical clips of Bola Tinubu signaled the beginning of the program. It was followed by the national anthem and the opening prayer. The chairman of the event was The Most Reverend Ephraim Ademowo. He described Asiwaju as an uncommon man. He said Tinubu is a “Consummate and tested politician, a master strategist and a libertarian per excellence. He is kind to a fault”. The speakers at the event went beyond the dignitaries and invited guests but had the common man telling the stories of their plights to the audience. Speaking on their plight were Mallam Nasir Bala, Mr. Ron Mbatogu, Chief Eric Dooh, Mrs. Elizabeth Unah, Mallam Musa Ali, Adamu Baba, Mallam Yusuf Audu and Sopriye Victor.
The seventh colloquium was a two in one event. It was both a symposium and a book launch. The program which took place on March 25th, 2015 held in Eko Hotel and Suites. The theme of the seventh edition was “Change: How Will It work”. Taking opportunity of the program being days away from the general elections, the agenda of the party along with the manifesto of things to be done once in power was reiterated. The book launched was a book written by the celebrant titled “Common Sense Revolution”. It was unveiled by the governor of Osun state, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and other top personalities from the party.
Present at the event were political leaders, dignitaries and captains of industry to celebrate the national leader of the APC. The discourse shed a light on how the APC government would run the affairs of the country when elected into power. A new approach to solving the problems in the problems in key sectors like power, education, social security and housing were discussed. Governor Babatunde Fashola, the governor of Lagos state described Bola Tinubu as a great man and a lover of mortals. He reeled out the achievements the national leader had made in Lagos state when he was the governor. He spoke on power generation in Lagos; its history. He spoke on how Bola Tinubu was the one who stated the state government/private sector initiative that delivered the first Independent Power Project (IPP). He made sure that Lagos state generated electricity privately. He stated that the power generated was not for private use and that was why there was ensuring power outage “Commercial distribution is not possible under the Power Reform and that is why the power is not extended into homes”. He stated that the problem with transmission of electricity was the thinness of the transmission cable. “We do not have power, not because it is difficult to generate. We have darkness because of incompetent people governing us. So as you go to vote on Saturday, remember that leaders are not elected to pray, but to be humane, compassionate and effective, all of which General Buhari embodies” he said.
The 8th Bola Tinubu Colloquium with the theme: ‘Agriculture’ was held in Abuja in 2016. President Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and his wife Dolapo, Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, Kaduna state governor Nasir El-Rufai, APC National leader, John Odigie-Oyegun and other top dignitaries attended the event. President Mohammadu Buhari has reiterated the determination of his administration to prioritize agriculture.
Buhari, while declaring open the 8th Bola Tinubu colloquium which held at the International Conference Center (ICC) said the cooperation of all Nigerians would however be required to make agriculture the country’s economic mainstay considering the shrinking crude oil price.
He said that his administration would prioritize agriculture to ensure that the country is sufficient in the production of rice, wheat among other crops, “We must produce what we eat, ” the President said. To achieve that, he said investors would be encouraged towards speeding up agricultural production. He also assured that his government will not renege on the school meal programme, adding that school children should not be made to search for food when they are supposed to be in school learning. In his presentation, the governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Bagudu noted that government interventions have not been able to address challenges facing agriculture in the country. He said of over three million hectares of farmland, less than five percent had been used. He urged the Federal government to encourage the production of wheat while adding that the country can still do better with its current insufficient rice production. Dr Eleni Garbre Madhin of Tanzanian spoke on what Nigeria can do to develop its commodity exchange market.
The ninth colloquium theme was “Make It In Nigeria: Make What We Use, Use What We Make.”  The, policy makers, innovators, IT professionals, fashion designers and musicians spoke at the event. They included the Chief of Air Staff of the Nigerian Airforce, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar; Honourable Minister for Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; Honourable Minister for Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah; CEO of Innoson Motors, Chief Innocent Chukwuma. Others were Co-Founder of Wilson’s Juice Company, Seun Abolaji; CEO at Chocolate City, Jude Abaga; and the founder of an agric-tech value chain company, Nasir Yammama.
The tenth Colloquium tagged “INVESTING IN PEOPLE”, brought together stakeholders including policy makers, academics, members of Civil Society Organisations and ‘The People’ to tell their own unique Nigerian story of what it means for the government to act as a social investor in the lives and the future of its people.