The son of Abeokuta chief, Alani Bankole, he was a businessman before being elected to the House. A Muslim Egba, Bankole was born in Abeokuta in what is now Ogun State on 14 November 1969. His parents are Alani Bankole, a businessman, former National Vice-Chairman and acting Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Seriki Jagunmolu of Egbaland, and his wife, Atinuke Bankole, Ekerin Iyalode of Egbaland.
Newspaper Thisday identifies Bankole's education as such: Baptist Boys' High School, Abeokuta starting 1979; Albany College, London, England, starting 1985; University of Reading, Reading, England, starting 1989; University of Oxford's Officer Training College, Oxford, England, in 1991; and Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, in 2005.
Bankole obtained a Master of Public Administration degree from John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA in 2005. . In 2014, he became a Mason Fellow in Public Policy and Management at John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA.
Bankole states he never went to Sandhurst military academy but only took courses for military officers at Oxford University where he was in the Artillery Corps.
Bankole is a polo player, and is a member of the Lagos Polo Club, where his position is defence. He also enjoys football.
Bankole was the Director of Freight Agencies Nigeria Limited from 1995 until 1998, Executive Director of Operations of West African Aluminium Products Limited from 1998 until 2004, and Director of ASAP Limited from 2000 until 2003. He is also an economist.
In 2002, Bankole was elected to the House of Representatives on the People's Democratic Party (PDP) ticket to represent the Abeokuta South Federal Constituency of Ogun State. He was Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Finance while Aminu Bello Masari was Speaker, (Farouk Lawan was Chairman of the committee) and was also previously Chairman of the House Committee on Land Transport. Other committees he has sat on are the panels on Defence, Internal Affairs and Banking, and Currency.
Bankole was re-elected in April 2007. He considers his legislative interests to be those related to defence and finance.
In September 2007, a committee questioned Speaker Patricia Etteh about her spending of ₦628 million ($4.8m) on home renovation and automobiles. She denied wrongdoing, but many representatives were unhappy with her attempts to defend herself, blows were traded on the floor of the House, and Etteh had to be escorted from the chamber. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and many top PDP members continued to back her, but a large segment of the party, led by Lawan and including Bankole, called for her resignation. It was reported that Bankole, among multiple other contenders, hoped to succeed her as early as 5 October 2007.
After Etteh's resignation from the post on 30 October (along with her deputy, who was also caught up in the scandal), Integrity Group (anti-Etteh) member Terngu Tsegba became interim speaker.
On 1 November, he was elected to succeed Etteh. The election began at 10.30am. The House was short of the statutory 360 members because three (Moses Segun Oladimeji, Joe Anota and Aminu Shuaibu Safana) died. Two constituencies were yet to elect their representatives. 328 of the 355 members voted. Samson Osagie of Edo State nominated Bankole for the post of Speaker, and Lynda Ikpeazu of Anambra State seconded the proposal. His challenger was Osun State Representative George Jolaoye, whom he beat by 304 votes to 20 (and 4 abstentions). Etteh was among those who voted against Bankole. The new deputy speaker was Usman Bayero Nafada. Bankole was declared speaker at 1.30pm.
In his acceptance speech, entitled "We Stand Upon The Threshold of History", Bankole said "I am taking over the mantle of leadership at a very difficult time. But these are hard times, we need to build confidence again and assure the populace that we are still their representatives. I want an independent house that Nigerians will be proud of, this is my first task."
One week after his election, political opponents claimed that Bankole had not completed his National Youth Service Corps (N.Y.S.C) service, which is mandatory for all Nigerian university graduates under thirty years of age when they graduate, and called for his resignation over the issue. Bankole provided his N.Y.S.C discharge certificate, ending the rumour. On 22 June 2010 Bankole suspended 11 members of parliament indefinitely for disorderliness and fighting in the house.
During his tenure, the House of Representatives as a result of performance of its oversight function ensured that Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA's) returned unspent budgeted funds amounting to about 450 billion naira to the government treasury in 2007 while about 350 billion naira was again recovered in 2008. In total, the House of Representatives ensured the return of about 1 trillion naira unspent funds by MDA's as part of the annual budgetary process under Bankole's speakership. These were unprecedented in the history of oversight in Nigeria’s legislature. Up until then, MDA's did not return unspent funds. Also, the House of Representatives discovered that about 5 trillion naira generated revenue were never remitted by MDA's for the past 5 years before investigation.
Under Bankole, the 64 billion naira contract for the second runway for the Nnamdi Azikwe Airport in Abuja was investigated and found to be grossly inflated. The contract was thus terminated by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Under him, the House of Representatives accepted 328 motions, approved 282 resolutions and passed 136 bills. These bills include the Freedom of Information(FOI) Act and Fiscal Responsibility Act which ensured that all revenue-generating agencies of government present their budgets for scrutiny every year. The agencies, which include the CBN, NNPC and Customs spent trillions of naira yearly without appropriation by the National Assembly.
In 2011, Bankole was tried by Nigeria's anti-corruption agency and was cleared of all charges.
The trail involved an allegation that Mr Bankole secured a 10bn naira ($65m; £40m) loan, which was then shared out among senior figures in parliament as a pay rise in a country where more than 60% of the population live below the poverty. Mr Bankole has acknowledged that the loan exists but says he did not gain personally.
The judge although clearing Mr Bankole stated the salary increase was "immoral, wrong and condemnable" but no crime was committed even though a debt was being undertaken at the repayment expense of a poor nation for the benefit of a few. No law at that time existed against such actions to selfishly benefit the lawmakers, so no crime was technically committed.