Notable Alumni: Atiku Abubakar
Atiku Abubakar GCON (born 25 November 1946) is a Nigerian politician, businessman, philanthropist and Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party at the 2019 Nigerian general election. He served as the 11th vice-president of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 under the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo.
In 1998 he was elected Governor of Adamawa State. While still Governor-Elect, he was selected by then presidential candidate Olusegun Obasanjo as his running mate. The duo went on to win elections in February 1999, and Abubakar was sworn-in as Nigeria’s second democratically elected vice president on 29 May 1999. Abubakar’s second term as Vice President was marked by a stormy relationship with President Obasanjo. His bid to succeed Obasanjo did not receive the latter’s support, and it took a judgment of the Supreme Court to allow Abubakar contest after he was initially disqualified by the Independent National Electoral Commission on the grounds that he had been indicted for financial misconduct by an investigating panel set up at Obasanjo’s behest. The Supreme Court ordered the electoral commission to restore Abubakar’s name onto the presidential ballot. Abubakar ran on the platform of the Action Congress, having quit the PDP on account of his issues with President Obasanjo. Abubakar lost the election, placing third after Umaru Yar’Adua and Muhammadu Buhari of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).
Abubakar is a co-founder of Intels Nigeria Limited, an oil servicing business with extensive operations in Nigeria and abroad. He is also the founder of Adama Beverages Limited, and the American University of Nigeria (AUN), both in Yola, Adamawa.
Atiku Abubakar was born on 25 November 1946 to a Fulani trader and farmer Garba Abubakar, and his second wife, Aisha Kande, in Jada village of Adamawa State. He was named after his paternal grandfather Atiku Abdulqadir and 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.
After completed 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 School Certificate Examination. Abubakar then proceeded to attend Nigerian Police College, Kaduna. He left the college for a position as a tax official in the Regional Ministry of Finance. Later he received admission to study at the School of Hygiene, Kano in 1966. In 1967, he graduated with a diploma. That same year, Atiku Abubakar was admitted for a Law Diploma at Ahmadu Bello University on a scholarship. He graduated in 1969 and was employed by Nigeria Customs Service that same year.
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.
In 1960, he was admitted to Adamawa Provincial Secondary School in Yola where he did well in English Language and Literature, struggled with Physics and Chemistry and Mathematics. He graduated with a Grade Three WASSCE/GCE Certificate in 1965.
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. He 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 UniversityInstitute of Administration, on a scholarship from regional government. After graduation in 1969, during the Nigerian Civil War, he was employed by the Nigeria Customs Service.
Marriages and family
Abubakar has four wives and is the father to 28 children.
While at Idi-Iroko, Abubakar met nineteen-year-old Titilayo Albert, who he secretly married in December 1971, in Lagos, because her family was initially opposed to the union. On 26 October 1972, Titilayo delivered a baby girl they named Fatima. She later gave birth to Adamu, Halima and Aminu.
In January 1979, he married Ladi Yakubu as his second wife. “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,” Abubakar has said. He has six children with Ladi: Abba, Atiku, Zainab, Ummi-Hauwa, Maryam and Rukaiyatu.
In 1983 he married his third wife, Princess Rukaiyatu, daughter of the late Lamido of Adamawa, Aliyu Musdafa. She gave birth to Aisha, Hadiza, Aliyu (named after her late father), Asmau, Mustafa, Laila and Abdulsalam. His fourth wife, Fatima Shettima, followed in 1986. Fatima gave birth to her first child Amina (Meena), Mohammed and two sets of twins Ahmed and Shehu, Zainab and Aisha then her last daughter Hafsat.
Abubakar later divorced Ladi, allowing him to marry, as his fourth wife (the maximum permitted him as a Muslim), Jennifer Iwenjiora Douglas.
Abubakar 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.
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 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 ran for the office of governor in the Gongola State (now Adamawa and Taraba States) in 1991, and for the Presidency in 1993, placing third after MKO Abiola and Babagana Kingibe in the Social Democratic Party (SDP) primaries.
Read More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atiku_Abubakar