Atiku Abubakar biography – family, education, career, politics

By Mr_Focus Chikamso

The History of Atiku Abubakar

atiku abubakar
Atiku Abubakar

Background and Education

Atiku Abubakar (GCON), a Nigerian politician and a business tycoon. The only surviving child of a Fulani farmer and trader, Garba Abubakar and his second wife, Aisha Kande. He was born on November 25, 1946 in Jada Village of Gongola state (presently Adawama), Nigeria. He had a sister who died at infancy. Atiku’s Father divorced his wife before he died in 1957. His mother got remarried and also died 27 years later (1984) of heart attack. As a core anti – western education, Atiku’s Father opposed him from going to school until he was arrested and he consequently paid a fine for it. At eight, Atiku got registered in Jada primary School, and later in Adamawa Provincial Secondary School Yola, in 1960. He did well in English language and Literature. Moreover, he had tough times with Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. In 1965, he graduated with a grade three WASSCE/GCE certificate and proceeded to Kaduna Nigerian Police College. He left the school when he couldn’t present an O’level Maths result. He shortly worked as an officer of tax in the regional ministry of finance. In 1966, he was admitted into the school of Hygiene in Kano and graduated with a Diploma in 1967. Prior to his services as the Interim Student Union president, in the same 1967, he was enrolled for a law diploma at the Ahmadu Bello University Institute of Administration, on a scholarship by the regional government and graduated in 1969. Atiku was employed by the Nigerian Custom service that same year during the Nigerian Civil war.

Marriage and Family

Atiku, being a Muslim, has four wives and twenty six (26) children. In 1971, he met nineteen year old Titilayo Albert in Idi-Iroko and secretly married her because her father was against the marriage, in Lagos in 1971. Titi gave Atiku four children: Fatima, Adamu, Halima and Aminu. He said that he wishes to expand the Abubakar’s family as he felt lonely being the only child. Hence, he wouldn’t want his children to be lonely as he was. Consequently, he went ahead and married Ladi Yakubu and had six children with her: Abba, Atiku, Zainab, Ummi-Hauwa, Maryam and Rukaiyatu. He didn’t give up as he married his third wife in 1983, Princess Rukaiyatu, daughter of the late Lamido of Adamawa, Aliyu Musdafa. She gave him seven children: Aisha, Hadiza, Aliyu (whom she named after her late father), Asmau, Mustafa, Laila and Abdulsalam. Yet In 1986, he married his fourth wife, Fatima Shettima. They had seven children together also: Amina (Meena), Mohammed, Ahmed and Shehu (twins), Zainab and Aisha (twins) and then Hafsat, their last daughter. But later on, Atiku divorced Ladi Yakubu, his second wife and replaced her with Jenifer Iwenjora (Jamila Atiku Abubakar) with whom he had three children.

Atiku Abubakar Business Career

For twenty years, Abubakar worked in the Nigerian Custom service, becoming the deputy director, the second highest position in the service. He started a real estate business during his early days as a customs officer when he applied for and received a loan of thirty one thousand naira to build his first house in Yola and then put it up for rent. From the income (rents), he purchased another plot and built a second house. He continued this way and had huge landed properties in Yola. Whereas he had 2,500 hectares of land around Adamawa to start a maize and cotton farm, his agriculture business failed in 1986 because of hard times. He then ventured into trading, buying and selling truckloads of rice, flour and sugar, this gave him a heavy boost. As a Customs Officer at the Apapa Ports, Gabrielle Volpi, an Italian businessman in Nigeria, invited him to set up Nigeria Container Services (NICOTES), a logistics company operating within the ports. This was Abubakar’s most important business move. NICOTES was later turned into INTELS, with him holding parts of the shares in the business and with which he acquired wealth. He added a beverage manufacturing plant as well as an animal feed factory to his investments in Yola. What a business minded man.

Atiku Abubakar Political Career

In early 1980s, Abubakar stepped into politics when he was involved in the governorship campaign and vote canvassing for Bamanga Tukur, who was managing and directing the affairs of the Nigeria Ports Authority as of that time. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, second in command of the military government (1976 -1979) was the one who drew Abubakar into politics. Atiku Abubakar was elected a national deputy leader of the Peoples Front of Nigeria (PFN) in 1989 with Yar’Adua the national leader. In 1989, Atiku contested and won a seat to represent his constituency at the constituent assembly, for the decision of a new Nigeria’s constitution.

In I990, Gongola State was broken up into two, Adamawa and Taraba States and Atiku Abubakar fell into the new Adamawa State. He announced his intentions to run for Adamawa state gubernatorial bid and won the SDP primaries but couldn’t qualify to contesting the main elections. His second gubernatorial run was In 1998 with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He won the elections, but before he could be sworn in, Olusegun Obasanjo (PDP), former head of state chose him as running mate for the presidential election. As history would have it, Obasanjo/Abubakar won the 27th February 1999 presidential election. In May the same year, Atiku was sworn in with Obasanjo as the vice president and president of Nigeria respectively.

Sadly, he was involved in a public battle with Obasanjo, which was as a result of Atiku being against the third term bid of Olusegun Obasanjo. Atiku had the ambition of taking over from Obasanjo. Later in 2006, he declared his interest to run for the presidential election with Action Congress (AC). When the presidential elections where declared, Abubakar took third place, behind PDP candidate, Umaru Yar’Adua and ANPP candidate, Muhammadu Buhari. He rejected the election results and called for the cancelation of the election. Nevertheless,  Yar’Adua, the PDP candidate was sworn in.

Not giving up in his presidential ambition,  in January 2011, Atiku Abubakar contested against Goodluck Jonathan and Sarah Jubril for the Presidential ticket of his party (PDP). With his Eight hundred and Five votes, he lost to Jonathan’s two thousand, seven hundred and thirty six votes. Later, Atiku and his associates formed People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) in 2013 as a back up plan if he couldn’t make his presidential ambitions with PDP. In 2014, It was announced that Atiku and his former president, Obasanjo has reconciled. With the intention of contesting for the Nigerian presidency in 2015, Atiku left PDP for All Progressive Congress, but came back again on Dec. 3rd 2017 stating that he is back home, as the issues which made him leave had been resolved.

Atiku’s fourth presidential run was declared in 2018 for the 2019 general election, he won the PDP nomination alongside other eleven contestants, with one thousand, five hundred and thirty two votes whilst he chose Mr. Peter Obi as his running mate.

Honours and Awards

i.    Abubakar was awarded the chieftaincy of the Turaki of Adamawa by Adamawa’s traditional ruler, Alhaji Aliyu Mustafa in 1982.

ii.  While celebrating his 50th anniversary of the US Peace Corps in 2011, the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) honoured Abubakar with the Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award.

iii. In June 2017, Abubakar was awarded the chieftaincy title of the Waziri of Adamawa, and his previous title of Turaki was transferred to his son, Aliyu.

Charitable works

i.  Atiku donated seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars to the National Peace Corps Association in the United States in 2012..

ii. Abubakar issued scholarship to fifteen of the Chibok schoolgirls who were freed from Boko Haram kidnapping in a bid to minimize the educational decadence in north eastern part of Nigeria.

Social Media

In 2013, Atiku Abubakar launched a blog and since 2011 elections, with his handle – @atiku, he has been active on Twitter. He was the second Nigerian politician to be verified, after former Lagos state Governor – Tunde Fashola in August 2013. He had more than three hundred and ninety thousand followers as of 2015 and he currently has four hundred and fifty thousand Facebook fans. He urges Nigerians not to take Social Media for granted.

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