President Bola Tinubu has shared a little secret about his humble beginnings.

He recounts how he once worked as a taxi driver in the United States. One said day for him was the day he was slapped by a naval officer for unintentionally overcharging him.

President Bola Tinubu
President Bola Tinubu

The President’s experiences were published in a biography entitled ‘Tinubu: My life as gypsy cab driver in the US”.

This beautiful piece was written by seasoned journalist, Mike Awoyinfa, and featured on the back page of a national daily.


Tinubu (The Chicago Driver)

The story reveals that Tinubu worked as an unlicensed taxi driver in Chicago, picking passengers up from the airport and driving them to their destinations.

The President revealed that he took up this driving job as a means of financial support before he started school.


“We got an unregistered used car commonly called Gypsy, which we ran as a taxi.

“We operated at the airport where we picked passengers, and not anywhere else, like the hotel because it was forbidden for unlicensed cab drivers to do so.

“That was how we raised some money. Bolaji went to Tennessee, while I headed for Chicago.

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“I was supposed to have started schooling in April. I deferred it till September in order to have more money.

Journey To Chicago

“Immediately I got to Chicago, I went straight to Richard Daley College. It was very interesting.


“I was able to pay for my apartment and tuition fees at Chicago State University.

“I supplemented that by doing different menial jobs like door guard and security man”.

Speaking further about the incident, President Tinubu said the naval officer he picked up responded with a slap on his face because he overcharged him, as his destination was a nearby.

The Unforgettable Experience

“As a cab driver, one experience I will never forget was when I over-charged a naval officer who was returning to the country. It was not intentional,” Tinubu said.

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“Apparently, I didn’t know the direction. There was no GPRS in those days to locate directions. So, he gave me the direction to his house in a Virginia suburb.

“I gave him the price and the man responded with a slap to my face.

“He said; I should know the correct price to charge to the location he mentioned.

“He slapped me and gave me the money.”


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