Atiku Abubakar GCON (born 25 November 1946) is a Nigerian politician and business tycoon. He served as the 11th vice-president of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 under the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo. He is a member of People's Democratic Party.
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, 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 November 25, 1946 to a Fulani trader and farmer Garba Abubakar, and his second wife, Aisha Kande, in Jada village of Adamawa State. Atiku Abubakar became the only child of his parents when his only sister died at infancy. Atiku’s father and mother divorced before his father died in 1957 and his mother remarried.
Eventually, his mother died in 1984 of heart attack. Atiku Abubakar could not start school when he ought to because his father was opposed to him obtaining western education. When his not going to school was noticed, his father was arrested and jailed until he paid a fine. Consequently, Atiku Abubakar got registered into Jada Primary School at the age of eight.
After his primary school, Atiku was admitted into Adamawa Provincial Secondary School Yola in the year 1960. He later finished his secondary school in 1965 after he made grade three in the West African School Certificate Examination. Atiku Abubakar then proceeded to Nigerian Police College, Kaduna. He left the college for a position as tax officer in the Regional Ministry of Finance. Later he got 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 got 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
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 University Institute 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
Abubakar has four wives and is the father of 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.
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 Shehu Musa Yar'Adua, who had been second-in-command of the military government that ruled Nigeria 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. In 1989 Abubakar was elected a National Vice-Chairman of the Peoples Front of Nigeria, the political association led by Yar'Adua, to participate in the transition programme initiated by Head of State Ibrahim Babangida. The Peoples Front of Nigeria included politicians such as Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, Babalola Borishade, Bola Tinubu, Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Sabo Bakin Zuwo.
Abubakar was sworn in as Vice-President of Nigeria on 29 May 1999. He presided over the National Council on Privatization, overseeing the sale of hundreds of loss-making and poorly managed public enterprises.
In 1999 he, alongside South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma, launched the South Africa Nigeria Binational Commission.
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 (for the third consecutive time).
In a November 2013 interview Abubakar is quoted as saying, regarding Obasanjo's alleged attempts to justify his third term bid: "[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.
In 1982 Abubakar was awarded the chieftaincy of the Turaki of Adamawa by 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 2011, while celebrating the 50th anniversary of the US Peace Corps in 2011, the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) – an independent 501 (c) (3) 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.
At the presentation of the award, the National Peace Corps Association described 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 NPCA said.
In June 2017, Abubakar was awarded the chieftaincy title of the Waziri of Adamawa, and his previous title of Turaki was transferred to his son Aliyu.