Biography

Atiku Abubakar GCON (born November 25, 1946) is a Nigerian politician and businessman who served as Vice President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 during Olusegun Obasanjo‘s presidency.

He was elected Governor of Adamawa State in 1990, 1997, and 1998 before becoming Olusegun Obasanjo‘s running mate in the 1999 presidential election and re-elected in 2003.

Since entering politics in 1993, Atiku Abubakar has run unsuccessfully for President of Nigeria five times: in 1993, 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019. He ran in the Social Democratic Party presidential primaries in 1993 but lost to Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe.

In the 2007 presidential election, he ran as an Action Congress presidential candidate, finishing third behind Umaru Musa Yar’Adua of the PDP and Muhammadu Buhari of the ANPP. During the 2011 presidential election, he ran in the People’s Democratic Party presidential primaries but lost to incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.

Before the 2015 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar joined the All Progressives Congress and ran in the presidential primaries, losing to Muhammadu Buhari. He rejoined the Peoples Democratic Party in 2017 and ran as the party’s presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election, losing to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.

Former Vice President of Nigeria

Atiku Abubakar
Atiku Abubakar: History • Bio • Photo
Wiki Facts & About Data
Real Name: Atiku Abubakar GCON
Stage Name: Atiku Abubakar
Born: 25 November 1946 (age 75 years old)
Place of Birth: Jada
State Of Origin: Adamawa State
Nationality: Nigerian
Height: N/A
Parents: Aisha Kande, Garba Abubakar
Siblings: N/A
Wife • Spouse: Fatima Abubakar (m. 1986), Princess Ruqayyat (m. 1983), Amina Titi Atiku-Abubakar (m. 1971), Jamila Atiku-Abubakar
Girlfriend • Partner: N/A
Children: Fatima Abubakar, Adamu Abubakar, Asmau Abubakar, Aliyu Abubakar, Shehu Abubakar, Hadiza Abubakar, Laila Abubakar, Aminu Abubakar, Ahmed Abubakar, Hafsat Abubakar, Meena Abubakar, Zainab Abubakar, Bilkisu Abubakar, Aisha Abubakar, Abba Abubakar, Rukayatu Abubakar, Abdulsalaam Abubakar, Mustapha Abubakar, Ummi-Hauwa Abubakar, Atiku Abubakar, Mohammed Abubakar, Mary am Abubakar
Occupation: Politician • Businessman
Net Worth: US$1.8 billion

Early Life

Atiku Abubakar was born on November 25, 1946, in Jada. The British Cameroons then administered this village – the territory later joined the Federation of Nigeria in the 1961 British Cameroons referendum. Garba Abubakar, his father, was a Hausa trader and farmer, and Aisha Kande was his mother.

He was named after his paternal grandfather, Atiku Abdulkadir, who was born in Wurno, Sokoto State, and moved to Kojoli village in Jada, Adamawa State, and his maternal grandfather, Inuwa Dutse, who moved to Jada, Adamawa State from Dutse, Jigawa State. He became his parents’ only child after his only sister died in infancy.

His father drowned while crossing a river to Toungo, a neighboring village to Jada, in 1957.

Education

His father opposed Western education and attempted to keep Atiku Abubakar out of the traditional school system. When the government discovered that Atiku Abubakar was not attending mandatory school, his father was imprisoned for a few days until Aisha Kande‘s mother paid the fine.

Atiku Abubakar started school at the Jada Primary School in Adamawa when he was eight years old. After finishing primary school in 1960, he was admitted to Adamawa Provincial Secondary School in the same year as 59 other students. He graduated from secondary school in 1965 after receiving a grade three in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination.

Atiku Abubakar attended the Nigeria Police College in Kaduna after finishing secondary school. He left the College after failing to present an O-Level Mathematics result. He worked briefly as a Tax Officer in the Regional Ministry of Finance, from which he gained admission to the Kano School of Hygiene in 1966.

He received his diploma in 1967 after serving as Interim Student Union President at the school. On a regional government scholarship, he enrolled in the Ahmadu Bello University Institute of Administration in 1967 to pursue a Law Diploma. The Nigeria Customs Service employed him during the Nigerian Civil War after graduating in 1969.

Atiku Abubakar completed and passed his Master’s degree in International Relations at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, United Kingdom, in 2021.

Career (Political and Business)

Atiku Abubakar worked for the Nigeria Customs Service for twenty years, rising to the position of Deputy Director, the Service’s second-highest position at the time; he retired in April 1989 and went into full-time business and politics.

During his early days as a Customs Officer, he got his start in the real estate business. He applied for and received a 31,000 naira loan in 1974 to build his first house in Yola, which he rented out.

He applied for and received a 31,000 naira loan in 1974 to build his first house in Yola, which he rented out. He bought another plot and built a second house with the rent money. He continued in this manner, amassing a sizable portfolio.

Atiku Abubakar ventured into agriculture in 1981, purchasing 2,500 hectares of land near Yola to establish a maize and cotton farm. The company ran into financial difficulties and closed in 1986. “In the 1980s, my first foray into agriculture failed,” he wrote in an April 2014 blog.

He then began trading, purchasing, and selling rice, flour, and sugar truckloads.

Atiku Abubakar‘s most significant business move occurred while working as a Customs Officer at Apapa Ports. Gabrielle Volpi, an Italian businessman in Nigeria, invited him to establish Nigeria Container Services (NICOTES), a logistics company based in the ports. NICOTES would later become Intels Nigeria Limited, providing Atiku Abubakar with enormous wealth.

Atiku Abubakar is a co-founder of Intels Nigeria Limited, an oil service company operating in Nigeria and abroad. His other business interests are centered in Yola and Adamawa. They include the Adama Beverages Limited, a beverage manufacturing plant in Yola, an animal feed factory, and the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Sub-Saharan Africa’s first American-style private university. In April 1989, he retired and went into full-time business and politics.

Conflict of interest allegations has followed him since his involvement in business while a civil servant with a supervisory authority. Atiku Abubakar, for his part, has defended the decision, claiming that his involvement was limited to the ownership of shares (as permitted by government rules) and that he was not involved in the decision.

His company, NICOTES, was later rebranded as INTELS and played a prominent role in allegations of money laundering leveled against Atiku Abubakar by the US government during his vice presidency.

He ran in the Social Democratic Party presidential primaries in 1993 but lost to Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe. He ran for Governor of Adamawa State twice, first in 1990 and then again in 1998, and was elected both times before becoming Olusegun Obasanjo‘s running mate in the 1999 presidential election and being re-elected in 2003.

In the 2007 presidential election, he was an Action Congress presidential candidate. He ran in the People’s Democratic Party’s presidential primaries for the 2011 presidential election but lost to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

Before the 2015 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar joined the All Progressives Congress and ran in the presidential primaries, losing to Muhammadu Buhari. He rejoined the Peoples Democratic Party in 2017 and ran as the party’s presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election, losing to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.

Atiku Abubakar made his first foray into politics in the early 1980s, when he worked behind the scenes on the governorship campaign of Bamanga Tukur, the managing director of the Nigeria Ports Authority at the time. He canvassed for votes on Bamanga Tukur‘s behalf and contributed to the campaign.

Toward the end of his Customs career, he met General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, the Supreme Headquarters’ second-in-command between 1976 and 1979. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua drew Atiku Abubakar into the political meetings regularly taking place in Yar’Adua‘s Lagos home, giving rise to the Peoples Front of Nigeria (PFN).

Politicians such as Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Baba Gana Kingibe, Bola Tinubu, Sabo Bakin Zuwo, Rabiu Kwankwaso, and Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila were members of the PFN.

In the run-up to the Third Nigerian Republic in 1989, Atiku Abubakar was elected National Vice-Chairman of the Peoples Front of Nigeria. He was elected to represent his constituency in the 1989 Constituent Assembly, which was formed to draft a new Nigerian constitution.

The military government eventually denied the People’s Front registration (none of the groups that applied were registered), and the PFN merged with the government-created Social Democratic Party (SDP).

On September 1, 1990, Atiku Abubakar declared his candidacy for governor of Gongola State. The Federal Government divided Gongola State into Adamawa and Taraba States a year later, before the elections could take place. He was absorbed into the new Adamawa State. He won the SDP Primaries in November 1991 but was soon disqualified from running in the elections by the government.

Atiku Abubakar ran in the SDP presidential primaries in 1933. Moshood Abiola received 3,617 votes after the first ballot of Jo’s primaries, while Baba Gana Kingibe received 3,255 votes.

However, after Shehu Yar’Adua asked Atiku Abubakar to withdraw from the campaign, Abiola promised to make him his running mate, and Atiku Abubakar agreed. SDP governors later put pressure on Abiola to choose Kinigbe as his running mate in the June 12 presidential election.

After the June 12 transition and during the General Sani Abacha transition, Atiku Abubakar expressed interest in running for the Gubnetorial seat of Adamawa State under the United Nigeria Congress Party. The transition program ended with General Abacha’s death.

In 1998, Atiku Abubakar joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and later secured the nomination for Governor of Adamawa State, winning the December 1998 governorship elections. Still, 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 won the 1999 presidential election ushering in the Fourth Nigerian Republic.

Atiku Abubakar was sworn in as Nigeria’s Vice President on May 29, 1999. His first term was defined primarily by his role as Chairman of the National Economic Council and head of the National Council on Privatization. He oversaw the sale of hundreds of loss-making and poorly managed public enterprises alongside Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai.

A tumultuous relationship with President Olusegun Obasanjo marred Atiku Abubakar‘s second term as vice president. In 2006, he was embroiled in a public feud with his boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo, ostensibly over the latter’s attempt to amend certain constitution provisions to run for president again (Third Term Agenda).

The failed constitutional amendment controversy caused a schism in the People’s Democratic Party for a brief period. The National Assembly eventually vetoed the amendments allowing Olusegun Obasanjo to run for a second term.

In preparation for the 2007 elections, Atiku Abubakar split with his boss, Olusegun Obasanjo, and switched from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

Atiku Abubakar rejoined the People’s Democratic Party after the 2007 elections. He declared his intention to run for President in October 2010.

On November 22, a Committee of Northern Elders chose him as the Northern Consensus Candidate, defeating former Military President Ibrahim Babangida, former National Security Adviser Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, and Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki.

In January 2011, Atiku Abubakar ran for his party’s presidential ticket alongside President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Sarah Jibril but lost the primary with 805 votes to President Jonathan‘s 2736.

A delegation from the Northern Youth Leaders Forum visited Olusegun Obasanjo at his home in Abeokuta on March 30, 2014, and pleaded with him to “forgive your former vice-president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of whatever political sin or offense he might have committed against you.” In response, Obasanjo is quoted as saying, “As a leader and a father, I bear no grudge against anyone, and if I do, I have forgiven them all.”

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) registered two new political parties in August 2013. The Peoples Democratic Movement was one of them. According to local media reports, Atiku Abubakar founded the party as a backup plan if he could not fulfill his rumored presidential ambitions on the ballot.

Atiku Abubakar has run unsuccessfully for President of Nigeria six times since 1993, 1993, 1998, 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019. He ran in the Social Democratic Party presidential primaries in 1993 but lost to Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe.

In 1998, he expressed interest in running for president of the United Nigeria Congress Party but was defeated by General Sani Abacha, who forced all five political parties to endorse him.

In the 2007 presidential election, he ran as an Action Congress presidential candidate, finishing third behind Umaru Yar’Adua of the PDP and Muhammadu Buhari of the ANPP. During the 2011 presidential election, he ran in the People’s Democratic Party presidential primaries but lost to incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.

On November 25, 2006, Atiku Abubakar announced his intention to run for president. On December 20, 2006, he was chosen as the Action Congress’ presidential candidate (AC). The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the final list of 24 presidential candidates on March 14, 2007. Atiku Abubakar‘s name was not on the ballot.

INEC stated in a statement that Atiku Abubakar‘s name was missing because he was on a list of people indicted for corruption by a government-appointed panel. On March 16, Atiku Abubakar went to court to have his disqualification overturned.

On April 16, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that INEC had no authority to disqualify candidates. The ruling allowed Atiku Abubakar to run in the election, though there were concerns that ballots bearing Atiku Abubakar‘s name would not be available by the election date of April 21. On April 17, an INEC spokesman confirmed that Atiku Abubakar would be on the ballot.

According to official results, Abubakar finished third, trailing PDP candidate Umaru Yar’Adua and ANPP candidate Muhammadu Buhari, with about 7% of the vote (2.6 million votes).

On February 2, 2014, Atiku Abubakar left the Peoples Democratic Party and joined the All Progressives Congress to run for president in the 2015 election. Muhammadu Buhari received 3,430 votes, Rabiu Kwankwaso received 974 votes, Atiku Abubakar received 954 votes, Rochas Okorocha received 400 votes, and Sam Nda-Isaiah received ten votes in the APC presidential primaries held in Lagos.

In 2018, Atiku Abubakar launched his presidential campaign and won the PDP’s presidential nomination in the Port Harcourt presidential primaries on October 7, 2018. He defeated all other candidates and received 1,532 votes, 839 more than the runner-up, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal.

Atiku Abubakar continued his campaign rally in Kogi State, promising to complete the state’s abandoned projects. On January 30, he took part in a town hall meeting dubbed #NGTheCandidate. In the meeting, he also declared that he would grant amnesty to looters and promised to privatize 90% of NNPC, Nigeria’s main source of revenue.

Atiku Abubakar visited Katsina and the Emir of Daura on February 7, 2019. On February 27, 2019, he was defeated by incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari by over 3 million votes. They filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, calling the election the “worst in Nigeria’s democratic history.”

Conflict of interest allegations has followed him since his involvement in business while a civil servant with a supervisory authority. Atiku Abubakar, for his part, has defended the decision, claiming that his involvement was limited to the ownership of shares (as permitted by government rules) and that he was not involved in the day-to-day operations of the business.

His company, NICOTES, was later rebranded as INTELS and played a prominent role in allegations of money laundering leveled against Atiku Abubakar by the US government during his vice presidency.

Along with William Jefferson and one of Atiku Abubakar‘s wives, Jamila Atiku-Abubakar, Atiku Abubakar was implicated in an international bribery scandal. Following pundits’ claims that Atiku Abubakar was unable to visit the United States, the US government stated in January 2017 stating that it would require the politician’s consent before disclosing the true state of his immigration status to the US.

Atiku Abubakar has stated publicly that the real reason is that his visa is still being processed.

However, Atiku Abubakar, along with Bukola Saraki, recently visited the United States on January 17, 2019, with the assistance of Brian Ballard.

In 2017, Atiku Abubakar launched the True Federalism campaign. He has been giving speeches all over the country to motivate and inspire Nigerians.

He recently declared this at an event where he was honored with the Hall of Grace Magazine’s Hero of Democracy award.

“Political decentralization will also contribute to the deepening and strengthening our democracy by encouraging greater accountability.” When governments spend their tax money rather than rent collected from an impersonal source, citizens are more likely to demand accountability.”

“True Federalism will encourage states to compete for investments and skilled workers rather than simply waiting for monthly revenue allocation from Abuja,” he added.

Many of his speeches have sparked widespread support for the concept of True Federalism, which entails granting states control over their resources, particularly in Nigeria’s South-South and South-East.

Personal Life

Atiku Abubakar has been married four times and has twenty-eight children. He elaborates: “I wanted to add to the Abubakar clan. As a child, I was extremely lonely. I had no brothers or sisters. I didn’t want my kids to feel as lonely as I did. This is why I married multiple wives. My wives are my sisters, friends, and advisers, and they balance each other out.”

He secretly married Titilayo Albert in Lagos in 1971 because her family was initially opposed to the union. Fatima, Adamu, Halima, and Aminu are among his children from her. He married Ladi Yakubu as his second wife in 1979. He has six children with Ladi Yakubu: Maryam, Abba, Atiku, Ummi-Hauwa, Zainab, and Rukaiyatu. Atiku Abubakar later divorced Ladi Yakubu, allowing him to marry Jennifer Iwenjiora Douglas as his fourth wife (the maximum allowed by Islam).

In 1983, he married his third wife, Princess Rukaiyatu, daughter of Adamawa’s Lamido, Aliyu Mustafa. Her children are Aisha, Hadiza, Aliyu (named after her late father), Asmau, Mustafa, Laila, and Abdulsalam. Fatima Shettima, his fourth wife, married him in 1986.

Because her family was initially opposed to the union, he secretly married Titilayo Albert in Lagos in 1971. Fatima, Adamu, Halima, and Aminu are some of his children from her.

Atiku Abubakar‘s children are Fatima Abubakar, Adamu Abubakar, Asmau Abubakar, Aliyu Abubakar, Shehu Abubakar, Hadiza Abubakar, Laila Abubakar, Aminu Abubakar, Ahmed Abubakar, Hafsat Abubakar, Meena Abubakar, Zainab Abubakar, Bilkisu Abubakar, Aisha Abubakar, Abba Abubakar, Rukayatu Abubakar, Abdulsalaam Abubakar, Mustapha Abubakar, Ummi-Hauwa Abubakar, Atiku Abubakar, Mohammed Abubakar, and Mary am Abubakar.

Net Worth

Atiku Abubakar has a net worth of US$1.8 billion and numerous valuable assets. He owns a US$4.1 million Embraer Phenom 100 personal luxury plane and a US$2.95 million chateau near Potomac, Maryland, USA.

Atiku Abubakar drives a Range Rover, a Mercedes S550, a Lexus 570, a Toyota Land Cruiser, and other high-end vehicles.

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