|Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, alias Turakin Adamawa, GCON (born 25 November 1946) was the Vice-President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007. He is a Muslimnative 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.
Atiku has a reputation for his philanthropic activities, which include building hundreds of schools and mosques all over the country; sponsorship of local and foreign treatment of prominent and ordinary citizens with medical problems beyond their means; awarding local and overseas scholarships to hundreds of Nigerians; as well as employing thousands of Nigerians through his businesses.
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 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. 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.
American University of Nigeria
American University of Nigeria (AUN) is the first American university to be established in South Saharan Africa. Originally ABTI American University of Nigeria(AAUN), AUN opened its doors to its first students in 2005. It was founded by the former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, it is located in north-eastern Nigeria in Yola, the state capital of Adamawa state, the vice president’s home town. Having benefited from the U.S. system of instruction as a young man, Abubakar sought to make this style of education — emphasizing critical thinking, small classes, student participation, problem-solving, a US-style general education program, and an American-trained faculty — available to all qualified young people of Nigeria and, increasingly, to the rest of the world.
While celebrating its 50 years anniversary, the National Peace Corps Association in the United States honored Atiku. In the presentation of award, the Peace Corps described Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as one individual who contributed to the development of higher education on the continent of Africa. “No private businessman in Africa has worked harder for democracy or contributed more to the progress of higher education than Atiku Abubakar,” the Peace Corps said.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is also a recipient of the Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award.
In 1969 Atiku would meet his first wife, then 19 year old Titilayo Albert at Idi Iroko border post, where he was posted after joining the Department of Customs and Excise. They married in 1971. On 26 October 1972, Titi gave birth to her first child, named Fatima. On 11 April 1974, she gave birth to their first son and second child, named Adamu and Aminu. On 27 January 1979, Atiku took a second wife, Ladi, in Kano, to which he had come after stints at Lagos airport and seaport and Ibadan. Saadatu Ladi Yakubu was the daughter of a Police Officer from Gombe, then attending advance teachers college, Gumel. "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 brothers, my sisters, my friends, and my advisers and they complement one another." Together they have six kids: Abba, Atiku, Zainab, Ummi-Hauwa, Mary am and Rukayatu. They separated later (creating a vacancy for Atiku to marry a fourth wife, the maximum allowed a Muslim). Atiku was offered the title of the Turaki of Adamawa by Adamawa's traditional king, Alhaji Aliyu Mustafa, in 1979. The title had previously been reserved for the favourite prince in the palace, as the holder is in charge of the monarch's domestic affairs. Atiku then married his third wife, Fatima, she is from Maiduguri. She bore Bilkisu, Meena, Shehu, Ahmed, Mohammed, Atiku Jr., Hafsat, Aisha, and Zainab for her husband. Fatima studied to be a lawyer in law school. He also got married to the daughter of the king, or Lamido, himself. The formal turbanning and investiture to his chiefly office took place on the 19th of November, 1982, in a lavish ceremony in Yola. It was followed by marriage to Princess Ruqayyat, although the formal solemnization was to wait till 1993 when she finished school and set up home in her father's kingdom. She would later take a degree from the University of Maiduguri, and bear Aisha, Hadiza, Aliyu, Asmau, Mustapha, Laila and Abdulsalaam for her husband.
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. On 20 December 2006, he was chosen as the presidential candidate of the Action Congress (AC) 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 CourtThe 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. On 17 April, a spokesman for INEC said that Abubakar would be on the ballot. 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). He rejected the election and said that it should be cancelled and held again, describing it as Nigeria's "worst election ever" 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".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.
Atiku contested for the Presidential ticket of his party alongside President Jonathan and Sarah Jubril. He was defeated by Jonathan in what many described as "strategically rigged" primaries.
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