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Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar

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Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar


Atiku Abubakar, the nation's vice president and Turaki Adamawa, is a genial person. Almost cherubic, he could easily pass for a dove in the general hurly-burly of Nigerian politics. But those who are close to the ex-customs boss say he could be decisive, if not ruthless. Was that not the essential trait of late General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua, a famed organiser, strategist and political mentor of Atiku Abubakar? If information from those who claim to know the VP is any guide, then he has, also, come a long way — far from being the political dilettante that he appears to be in the opinion of some. While his admirers say he is a skilful political player, one to watch very closely, his critics, clearly uncomfortable with his moves, see him as a plain diabolical schemer, though an upstart politician. Perhaps, it is for these reasons and many more that Abubakar's name gets mentioned in some political happenings, especially as they affect the geo-political North and the rest of the nation.

One constant talk about the Vice President is that he is targeting, just at the right time, the nation's number one position, the Presidency. At the height of the discussions, after a rally tagged "Reception 2000" organised in his honour in Kaduna late last year, Abubakar was constrained to deny having any presidential ambition. That was in November. Two months earlier, precisely in September, he had said in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, that "I take instructions from the President." During this interview, the editors told him that watchers of his political manoeuvres were of the view that he is playing skilful, if not high-wire, politics and that with the way he gets things done, he had an eye on the ultimate office. Hear his reply: "I don't know what you mean. You see, as Vice President, I don't have a job. It is what the President gives me to do that I do." But before the encounter, a senior minister had described Abubakar as an `Executive Vice President.' Still, he would not agree that he is one. He did not even address it during the interview.

So, why does he manage to get mired in this kind of controversy, that he is perhaps the most powerful second-in-command that the nation has had in recent times? After all, Alex Ekwueme was vice president to Shehu Shagari, the nation's first elected executive president, and the former, a prominent architect, did not have to do this kind of explanations that Abubakar is having to do.

The VP's style may have a lot to do with it. By one account, Abubakar sponsored seven of the 10 new ministers that joined the Obasanjo Federal Executive Council in the cabinet shake-up of late last year. That is not all. A prominent politician from the Middle Belt said the Vice President, whom the President has also reportedly left to appoint people to some parastatals and boards, has been cleverly deploying his cronies and loyalists to these positions in readiness for the final push for the plum job. Some governors are said to be among those already pledging loyalty and support for him, especially because the candidates of some of these governors have been adopted by the VP and given juicy appointments at the federal level. Today, a group of equally young, ambitious northerners, especially from Adamawa, Yobe, Borno and Taraba states, are said to constitute the core of the followers of Atiku Abubakar in the North. Believed to be led by Dr. Usman Bugaje, they want to realise their political ambition through closeness to the Vice President. But he is not having it too easy, according to some sources, getting the entire North to see him as the symbol of their hopes and aspirations.

His style and moves are suspect in some sections of the North, especially the North-west. Atiku Abubakar is from the North-east and what may be compounding the matter for Obasanjo's second-in-command is the agelong but subtle rivalry between the North-west and the North-east. For the first time in the history of the entire Northern Region, as it used to be known, a player from the east has emerged as the foremost public office holder at a time that a southern president is in charge. When Obasanjo was a military head of state, his deputy, Shehu Musa Yar'Adua, was from Katsina, in the North-west. The North-west challenge is posing a peculiar problem to the Turaki of Adamawa, even though he would not admit it. He would only say, to a question along that line, that "I am not out to lead the North, anyway." Rhetorically, he had also asked, "is it really possible to have one leader in the North?"

Up till now, there are those who say because he was not selected or nominated by the North-west for Obasanjo, he could not possibly be representing the interest of the North, a clear euphemism for the narrow Hausa-Fulani interest, since Abubakar is a Fulani but from the `wrong' part of the region, in the view of the northern supremacists.

But that is not all about Vice President Abubakar that irks some of his critics and keen observers of his political moves. As far as acquisition of chieftaincy titles go, even an aide of the VP could not remember how many he has garnered all across the country these last two years. "In fact, the pressure has been such that if we had not been cleverly avoiding going to some areas, the titles would have been more," said the aide. Not a few have interpreted this as part of the scheme to become president some day. His foray into the heart of Egbaland, Abeokuta, Ogun State, early this year, said one chief of the ancient town, is believed to be toward the presidential race. It is believed to have been put together by Chief Titi Ajanaku, an adviser to President Obasanjo, and a member of the People's Democratic Movement, PDM, an amorphous but influential organisation now led by Abubakar within the ruling People's Democratic Party, PDP.





Atiku Abubakar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Atiku Abubakar

11th Vice President of Nigeria
In office
May 29, 1999 – May 29, 2007
President Olusegun Obasanjo
Preceded by Mike Akhigbe
Succeeded by Goodluck Jonathan
Personal details
Born November 25, 1946 (age 64)
Adamawa State, Nigeria
Political party People's Democratic Party (1998-2006, 2009-present)
Action Congress (2006-2009)
Seal of the Vice-President of Nigeria

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, alias Turakin Adamawa, GCON (born 25 November 1946) was the Vice-President of Nigeria[1] from 1999 to 2007. He is a Muslim native of Adamawa State, and was an influential member of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) until 2006 when he switched affiliation to the Action Congress party. The former Vice President made a controversial return to the PDP in 2009.


Abubakar came up the ranks of the ruling PDP primarily, due to the pivotal role he played in its formation. He was also an ardent opponent of General Sani Abacha, the late dictator. Atiku's source of wealth has caused some curiosity among Nigerians but that also goes for many other wealthy Nigerians. He has said in a new biography yet to be published that he made his money, "through wise investments, hard work and sheer luck of being at the right place at the right time".

Atiku attended Jada Primary School, 1954–1960, Adamawa Provinsional School, Yola, 1961 to 1965, with Advance Level studies in Economics, British Economic History, Government and Hausa Language, School of hygiene Kano, 1966–1967, graduating with Royal Society of Health Diploma, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, 1967, graduating with Diploma in Law, in 1969

Atiku joined the Customs and Excise department in 1969, serving in Seme, Kano, Maiduguri, Kaduna, Ibadan and Lagos. He rose to the rank of Deputy Director (second in command nationwide). Since then, he has attended courses in Leadership Management, Drug Enforcement and Control in Finland, Egypt and United States of America.


Abubakar went into private business after his retirement, with interests in oil Services, agriculture, food and beverages, print media, insurance, pharmaceuticals, and education. His reported philanthropic activities have included building of schools and mosques across the country, sponsorship of local and foreign treatment of citizens with aggravated medical problems, as well as local/oversea scholarships to disadvantaged Nigerian students.

Vice Presidency

Since becoming Vice President in 1999, he has presided over the National Council on Privatization during which hundreds of loss-making and poorly managed public enterprises were sold off in a manner that has prompted more question than answers. There have been wild allegations that Atiku engaged in unwholesome practices during the privatization of some of those previously State-owned parastatals. President Obasanjo's son, Gbenga, alluded to this allegation in an interview with an internet-based journal, Elendu Reports, where he insinuated that Atiku "sold Pentascope to himself".[2] These allegations yet again remain unproven, though many political analysts see him, rather sympathetically, as a man who is more prone to cook-ups than conspiracy.

The role played by Atiku in a 'state of emergency' invoked on Plateau State also gives credence to his support for fairness to people of other faiths.

In 2006, Atiku was involved in a face-off with his direct superior, President Olusegun Obasanjo, due to the latter's eventual failed attempts to amend certain provisions of the constitution in order to take another shot at the presidency (for the third consecutive time). It is unclear whether Atiku's opposition to President Obasanjo's inordinate ambition was altruistic or selfish. Nonetheless, Atiku had never hidden his interest in the coveted post. The debate and acrimony generate by the failed constitutional amendment momentarily caused a rift in the People's Democratic Party.[3] It also appears to have irreparably damaged both men's political and personal relationship, of which, Mr Abubakar, from all indications, is feeling the brunt of it. Despite the furor, the Nigerian National Assembly eventually voted against any amendments allowing Obasanjo to run for another term.

Personal life


Abubakar's first and most senior wife, Hajia Titi Abubakar, is believed to be an Ilesha-born former Roman Catholic, hailing ancestrally from the Togolese Republic; together they have four children and five grandchildren. He has three other wives: Rukayat (a princess of the royal house of the Lamido of Adamawa, an influential local monarch in whose court her husband serves as Turaki; Fatima, a lawyer based in Lagos (of Nigerian Kanuri and Cameroonian extraction) and Jamila (formerly Jennifer Iwenjiora, an Ibo woman from Onitsha who once served as a television newscaster). All together, he has 27 children.


In August, 2005 Abubakar surfaced in a report by the BBC World Service,[4] as the intended recipient of a bribe as part of a scheme involving United States Congressman Bill Jefferson to promote Nigeria's adoption of internet technology from the American firm iGate, Inc. According to the FBI, Jefferson allegedly told an informant that he would need to give Abubakar $500,000 "as a motivating factor" for business contracts, but there is no evidence that Abubakar received[5] nor sought[citation needed] such a bribe, which makes some skeptics think that Atiku may be a target of a witch-hunt.[citation needed] Jefferson had allegedly collected $100,000 from a business partner to give to Atiku, but $90,000 of the marked money was later found in the Congressman's house wrapped in foil and neatly tucked away in a freezer.[5] In August 2009, the court clarified that the former vice-president did not receive any bribe from Bill Jefferson. Atiku said he had consistently maintained that he had no improper relation with Bill Jefferson. Mr. Atiku also insisted that "it is now clear that the plot was hatched at the highest level of the Nigerian government then, in collusion with foreign agencies. The plot was not just to stop me from running for the Presidency; it was aimed at denying the Nigerian people the right to choose their own leader".

Presidential run

On 25 November 2006 Abubakar announced that he would run for President; he did not announce immediately which party he would represent, although he inaugurated a presidential campaign committee.[6]

On 20 December 2006, he was chosen as the presidential candidate of the Action Congress (AC).[7]

On 15 March 2007, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the final list of 24 aspirants for the 21 April presidential election. Abubakar's name was conspicuously missing even though he is seen by many as the only 'credible' opposition candidate to the powerful ruling PDP party in the election.

In a statement released by INEC, it states that Abubakar's name was missing because he is on a list of officials indicted for corruption by a panel set up by the ruling government. The creation of this list is seen by many as a tool to weed out opponents of the PDP who may have a strong showing in the forthcoming polls. This school of thought is supported because officials like Andy Uba, a former presidential adviser to Obasanjo, is being allowed to contest in the polls despite a history of well publisised fraudulent activities, i.e. fake educational certificates and money laundering charges in the USA. INEC disqualified Abubakar even though there is a court judgement which states that INEC doesn't have the power to disqualify candidates. INEC appealed this court decision and this move cast doubts on the neutrality of INEC as an umpire in the 2007 elections.

Abubakar headed to the courts on 16 March to get his disqualification overturned despite a statement from the INEC chairman which says it will be impossible for him to contest even if he gets a judgement in his favour as it will be logistically impossible to reprint ballot papers and distribute them round the country before the April polls.

According to reports on 26 March on a Nigerian newspaper run website, Professor Iwu, the chairman of INEC may be prepared to adhere to a court ruling in the case of Abubakar but with the caveat that it has to be a ruling by the supreme court. His words “Yes, he (Abubakar) will run if the Supreme Court says so. This is where the logistics issue actually comes in. We must have our own fallback preparation. I am not the type that makes plan without having plan A, B, and C. If the Supreme Court decides that, we will obey the Supreme Court.” [1]

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled on 16 April that INEC has no power to disqualify candidates. The ruling allowed Abubakar to contest the election, although there were concerns that it might not be possible to provide ballots with Abubakar's name by 21 April, the date of the election.[8] On 17 April, a spokesman for INEC said that Abubakar would be on the ballot.[9]

According to official results, Abubakar took third place, behind PDP candidate Umaru Yar'Adua and ANPP candidate Muhammadu Buhari, with about 7% of the vote (about 2.6 million votes).[10] He rejected the election and said that it should be cancelled and held again, describing it as Nigeria's "worst election ever".[11]

He said that he would not attend Yar'Adua's inauguration on 29 May due to his view that the election was not credible, saying that he did not want to "dignify such a hollow ritual with my presence".[12]

Atiku returned to the People's Democratic Party, a party he was a founding member. Since his return, the former Vice President has declared his intention to run for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. On 22 November, the Ciroma Committee selected Atiku as the Northern Consensus Candidate over former Military President Ibrahim Babangida, former National Security Adviser Aliyu Gusau and Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State.




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