Atiku Abubakar is a Fulani Nigerian politician and businessman. He served as the Vice President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 during the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo.
|Date of Birth/Place of Birth||25 November 1946
Jada, British Cameroon (now Jada, Adamawa State, Nigeria)
|Occupations||Politician and Buisnessman|
|Political Recognition||In office as Vice-President
29 May 1999 – 29 May 2007
|Current Political Party||People Democratic Party (PDP) (1998–2006; 2007–2014; 2017–present)|
Ladi Yakubu – (m. 1971)
Princess Rukaiyatu Mustafa – (m. 1979, divorced)
Fatima Shettima – (m. 1983)
Jennifer Iwenjiora Douglas – (m. 1986)
Atiku Abubakar has 28 children
|Net Worth||$1.8 Billion|
Who Is Atiku Abubakar?
Atiku Abubakar is a Nigerian politician and businessman who served as the vice president of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 during the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo.He ran as governor of Adamawa State in 1990, 1996 and later, in 1998, being elected before becoming Olusegun Obasanjo’s running mate during the 1999 presidential election and re-elected in 2003.
Early Life and Educational Journey of Atiku Abubakar
Atiku Abubakar was born on 25 November 1946 in Jada, a village which was then under the administration of the British Cameroons – the territory later joined with the Federation of Nigeria in the 1961 British Cameroons referendum. His father, Garba Abubakar was a Fulani trader and farmer, and his mother was Aisha Kande. He was named after his paternal grandfather Atiku Abdulqadir who hails from Wurno, Sokoto State and migrated to Kojoli village at Jada, Adamawa State, his maternal grandfather called Inuwa Dutse migrated to Jada, Adamawa State from Dutse, Jigawa State he became the only child of his parents when his only sister died at infancy. In 1957, his father died by drowning while crossing a river to Toungo, a neighbouring village to Jada.
His father was opposed to the idea of Western education and tried to keep Atiku Abubakar out of the traditional school system. When the government discovered that Abubakar was not attending mandatory schooling, his father spent a few days in jail until Aisha Kande’s mother paid the fine. At the age of eight, Abubakar enrolled in the Jada Primary School, Adamawa. After completing his primary school education in 1960, he was admitted into Adamawa Provincial Secondary School in the same year, alongside 59 other students. He graduated from secondary school in 1965 after he made grade three in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination.
Following secondary school, Abubakar studied a short while at the Nigeria Police College in Kaduna. He left the College when he was unable to present an O-Level Mathematics result, and worked briefly as a Tax Officer in the Regional Ministry of Finance, from where he gained admission to the School of Hygiene in Kano in 1966. He graduated with a Diploma in 1967, having served as Interim Student Union President at the school. In 1967 he enrolled for a Law Diploma at the Ahmadu Bello University Institute of Administration, on a scholarship from the regional government. After graduation in 1969, during the Nigerian Civil War, he was employed by the Nigeria Customs Service. In 2021, Abubakar successfully completed and passed his Master’s degree in International Relations at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Atiku’s Marriages, Divorce and Personal Life
Abubakar has four wives and twenty-eight children. Atiku explains: “I wanted to expand the Abubakar family. I felt extremely lonely as a child. I had no brother and no sister. I did not want my children to be as lonely as I was. This is why I married more than one wife. My wives are my sisters, my friends, and my advisers and they complement one another.”
In 1971, he secretly married Titilayo Albert, in Lagos, because her family was initially opposed to the union. His children from her include, Fatima, Adamu, Halima and Aminu. In 1979, he married Ladi Yakubu as his second wife. He has six children with Ladi: Abba, Atiku, Zainab, Ummi-Hauwa, Maryam and Rukaiyatu. Abubakar later divorced Ladi, allowing him to marry, as his fourth wife (the maximum permitted him as a Muslim), Jennifer Iwenjiora Douglas. In 1983, he married his third wife, Princess Rukaiyatu, daughter of the Lamido of Adamawa, Aliyu Mustafa. The children from her are, Aisha, Hadiza, Aliyu (named after her late father), Asmau, Mustafa, Laila and Abdulsalam. In 1986, he married his fourth wife, Fatima Shettima. Her children include, Amina (Meena), Mohammed and the twins Ahmed / Shehu, the twins Zainab / Aisha, and Hafsat.
On Tuesday, 1 February 2022, Jennifer Douglas confirmed her divorce to Abubakar in a statement. According to her, their union broke down due to disagreements over her continued stay in the United Kingdom, amongst other long-standing issues.
Career Paths of Atiku Abubakar
Abubakar worked in the Nigeria Customs Service for twenty years, rising to become the Deputy Director, as the second highest position in the Service was then known; he retired in April 1989 and took up full-time business and politics. He started out in the real estate business during his early days as a Customs Officer.
In 1974, he applied for and received a 31,000-naira loan to build his first house in Yola, which he put up for rent. From proceeds of the rent, he purchased another plot and built a second house. He continued this way, building a sizeable portfolio of property in Yola, Nigeria. In 1981, he moved into agriculture, acquiring 2,500 hectares of land near Yola to start a maize and cotton farm. The business fell on hard times and closed in 1986. “My first foray into agriculture, in the 1980s, ended in failure,” he wrote in an April 2014 blog. He then ventured into trading, buying and selling truckloads of rice, flour and sugar.
Abubakar’s most important business move came while he was 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. NICOTES would later go on to become Intels Nigeria Limited and provide immense wealth to Abubakar. Abubakar is a co-founder of Intels Nigeria Limited, an oil servicing business with extensive operations in Nigeria and abroad. Atiku’s other business interests are centred within Yola, Adamawa; and include the Adama Beverages Limited, a beverage manufacturing plant in Yola, an animal feed factory, and the American University of Nigeria (AUN), the first American-style private university to be established in Sub-Saharan Africa. He retired in April 1989 and took up full-time business and politics.
Involvement in business
Conflict of interest accusations has since trailed him on account of his involvement in business while a civil servant, who exercised supervisory authority. On his part, Abubakar has defended the decision, saying his involvement was limited to the ownership of shares (which government rules permitted), and that he was not involved in the day-to-day running of the business. His company NICOTES would later be rebranded into INTELS and would later go on to feature prominently in accusations of money laundering levelled against n Abubakar by the U.S. government during his vice presidency.
Abubakar’s first foray into politics was in the early 1980s, when he worked behind-the-scenes on the governorship campaign of Bamanga Tukur, who at that time was managing director of the Nigeria Ports Authority. He canvassed for votes on behalf of Tukur, and also donated to the campaign.
Towards the end of his Customs career, he met General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, who had been second-in-command Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters between 1976 and 1979. Abubakar was drawn by Yar’Adua into the political meetings that were now happening regularly in Yar’Adua’s Lagos home, which gave rise to the People’s Front of Nigeria. The People’s Front included politicians such as Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Baba Gana Kingibe, Bola Tinubu, Sabo Bakin Zuwo, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila and Abubakar Koko.
In 1989, Abubakar was elected the National Vice-Chairman of the Peoples Front of Nigeria in the build-up to the Third Nigerian Republic. Abubakar won a seat to represent his constituency at the 1989 Constituent Assembly, set up to decide a new constitution for Nigeria. The People’s Front was eventually denied registration by the military government (none of the groups that applied was registered) and merged with the government-created Social Democratic Party (SDP).
On 1 September 1990, Abubakar announced his Gongola State gubernatorial bid. A year later, before the elections could hold, Gongola State was broken up into two – Adamawa and Taraba States – by the Federal Government. Abubakar fell into the new Adamawa State. After the contest he won the SDP Primaries in November 1991 but was soon disqualified by the government from contesting the elections.
In 1993, Abubakar contested the SDP presidential primaries. The results after the first ballot of the primaries held in Jos was: Moshood Abiola with 3,617 votes, Baba Gana Kingibe with 3,255 votes and Abubakar with 2,066 votes. Abubakar and Kingibe considered joining forces combining 5,231 votes to challenge Abiola. However, after Shehu Yar’Adua asked Atiku Abubakar to withdraw from the campaign, with Abiola promising to make him his running mate. Abiola was later pressured by SDP governors to select Kinigbe as his Vice-presidential running mate, in the June 12 presidential election.
After the 12 June and during the General Sani Abacha transition, Abubakar he showed interest to contest for the Gubnetorial seat of Adamawa State under the United Nigeria Congress Party, the transition program came to an end with the death of General Abacha. In 1998, Abubakar joined the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and later secured nomination for Governor of Adamawa State, winning the December 1998 governorship elections, but before he could be sworn in, he accepted a position as the running mate to the PDP presidential candidate, former military head of state General Olusegun Obasanjo who went on to win the 1999 presidential election ushering in the Fourth Nigerian Republic.
Atiku Abubakar has unsuccessfully contested five times for the Office of President of Nigeria in 1993, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019. In 1993, he contested the Social Democratic Party presidential primaries losing to Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe. He was a presidential candidate of the Action Congress in the 2007 presidential election coming in third to Umaru Yar’Adua of the PDP and Muhammadu Buhari of the ANPP. He contested the presidential primaries of the People’s Democratic Party during the 2011 presidential election losing out to incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. In 2014, he joined the All Progressives Congress ahead of the 2015 presidential election and contested the presidential primaries losing to Muhammadu Buhari. In 2017, he returned to the Peoples Democratic Party and was the party presidential candidate during the 2019 presidential election, again losing to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.
In May 2022, he was chosen as the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate for the 2023 general election after he defeated Nyesom Wike who is the current Governor of Rivers State in the primaries.
On 29 May 1999, Abubakar was sworn in as Vice President of Nigeria. His first term was mainly characterized by his role as Chairman of the National Economic Council and head of the National Council on Privatization, overseeing the sale of hundreds of loss-making and poorly managed public enterprises alongside Nasir El Rufai.
Abubakar’s second term as vice president was marked by a stormy relationship with President Obasanjo. In 2006, Abubakar was involved in a bitter public battle with his boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo, ostensibly arising from the latter’s bid to amend certain provisions of the constitution to take another shot at the presidency (Third Term Agenda).
The controversy generated by the failed constitutional amendment momentarily caused a rift in the People’s Democratic Party. The National Assembly eventually vetoed the amendments allowing Obasanjo to run for another term. In 2006, Abubakar fell out with his boss Olusegun Obasanjo and left from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in preparation for the 2007 elections.
In a November 2013 interview, regarding Obasanjo’s alleged attempts to justify his third term bid, Abubakar is quoted as saying: “[He] informed me that ‘I left power twenty years ago, I left Mubarak in office, I left Mugabe in office, I left Eyadema in office, I left Umar Bongo, and even Paul Biya and I came back and they are still in power; and I just did eight years and you are asking me to go; why?’ And I responded to him by telling him that Nigeria is not Libya, not Egypt, not Cameroun, and not Togo; I said you must leave; even if it means both of us lose out, but you cannot stay.” On 30 March 2014, Nigerian media reported that a delegation from the Northern Youth Leaders Forum visited Obasanjo at his home in Abeokuta and pleaded with him to “forgive your former vice-president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of whatever political sin or offence he might have committed against you.” In response, Obasanjo is quoted as saying that “as a leader and father, I bear no grudge against anybody and if there is, I have forgiven them all.”
Controversies Linked to Atiku Abubakar
Atiku was implicated in an international bribery scandal along with William Jefferson and one of Atiku’s wives, Jennifer Atiku Abubakar. Following rumours by pundits that Atiku was unable to visit the United States of America, in January 2017, the U.S. government released a statement saying it would need the consent of the politician before it can disclose the true state of his immigration status to the United States. Abubakar has publicly claimed that the true reason is that his visa is still being processed. However, in recent times, Atiku in company with Bukola Saraki visited the United States on 17 January 2019 with the aid of Brian Ballard. It was also reported that one of his wives, Jennifer Atiku Abubakar divorced him due to his call for her to sell their properties in the United States of America and relocate to Nigeria. She divorced him and also sought the custody of their kids.
Another controversy in which Atiku was mentioned, was the accusation from the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo. He affirmed that Atiku is very corrupt due to his handlings when he was in charge of the sales of the country’s national assets and also the chairman of the National Economic Council.
Titles and Honours of Atiku Abubakar
In 1982, Abubakar was given the chieftaincy title of the Turaki of Adamawa by his future father-in-law, Adamawa’s traditional ruler Alhaji Aliyu Mustafa. The title had previously been reserved for the monarch’s favourite prince in the palace, as the holder is in charge of the monarch’s domestic affairs. In June 2017, Abubakar was given the chieftaincy title of the Waziri of Adamawa, and his previous title of Turaki was transferred to his son Aliyu.
In 2011, while celebrating the 50th anniversary of the US Peace Corps, the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) – an independent nonprofit organisation, separate from the Peace Corps, that serves as an alumni association for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers – honoured Abubakar with the Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award. In 2012, Abubakar donated $750,000 to the National Peace Corps Association in the United States, “to fund a new initiative featuring global leaders who will discuss Peace Corps’s impact.” It was the largest ever individual donation in the Association’s history.
Atiku Abubakar Net Worth
Atiku Abubakar is estimated to be worth around $1.8 Billion. His sources of wealth are diverse investments spread through real estate, industry, and other investments. On the side he also has his annual ex-Vice-President allowance.
Social Media Handles
Twitter: @atiku Instagram: aatiku
Atiku Abubakar is a Nigerian politician and businessman who served as the Vice President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 under the leadership of Olusegun Obasanjo. He contested as Governor of Adamawa State in 1990, 1997 and later, in 1998, being elected before becoming Olusegun Obasanjo’s running mate during the 1999 presidential election and re-elected in 2003. Atiku Abubakar has vied for the position of the President of Nigeria five unsuccessful times: in 1993, 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019 and he is currently the flag bearer for the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 general election.