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Atiku Abubakar (Biography)

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Atiku Abubakar, Waziri Adamawa, The largest employer in Adamawa, Proprietor of the American University in Adamawa, Largest shareholder of INTELS Nigeria, former Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and more… This is not praise, it is the summary of achievements of just one man.

Welcome to Logbaby’s biography of Atiku Abubakar, a story of diversity and political tenacity…

Atiku Abubakar


Name: Atiku Abubakar

Titles or nickname: GCON (Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger), Waziri Adamawa

Date of birth: November 25, 1946

Physique: 5’11 (Best Guess)

State of Origin: Adamawa State (Community: Jada Town, Jada LGA)



Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, GCON, Waziri Adamawa, is a Nigerian Businessman and Politician who started life as a civil servant in the Nigerian Customs service.

He would later serve as Deputy Director of Customs (Equivalent of Deputy Comptroller today) before retiring.

His list of achievements includes a win of the Governorship of his state, although he would not serve since he opted to take the offer to become Vice-President to Olusegun Obasanjo.

He is also a renowed entrepreneur with ventures in Education, Shipping, Oil and Gas and Agriculture. And is recognized as the 2nd largest employer in his home state of Adamawa, beaten only by the state government.







Born November 25th 1946, to Garda Abubakar a Fulani trader from Jada and mother Aisha Kanda also Fulani from Yola in present day Adamawa State, which was then Gongola State. His early life was spent in Kojoli village, about 30 kilometers from his hometown of Jada. His father was a trader who sold jewelry, caps, needles, potash, kola nut and others items on a donkey which he would take from place to place.

According to Atiku his childhood was filled with love and his father adored him.

At an early age his parents divorced and in 1957 at just 11, his father died from drowning. It is at this point that responsibilities and a need to make his father proud pushed him to excel.

It is not clear how his childhood was since his mother remarried and no clear knowledge exists as the economics of his step father or the living arrangements, but by age 15 Atiku Abubakar has started to take his place as the man of the house.

He found a job as a clerk at the Local Authority and his boss happened to be the famous Adamu Ciroma. Here he was able to save enough to buy a house for his mother

According to Atiku, “From my holiday job earnings, I bought a house for my mother in Ganye, the headquarters of the local government council. The thatched mud bungalow had two rooms plus a kitchen and bathroom. It cost me about nine Pounds Sterling. My mother was very happy and proud of me. I had saved her from homelessness after her older brother sold the family house in Jada without her knowledge.”


Atiku’s father who was a Fulani trader wanted him to become either an Islamic Scholar or a Cattle Herder but an arrest by the provisional authority made him allow him western education.

Atiku tells the story as this;

“My father, Garba Atiku Abdulkadir, was fond of me. He wanted me to become an Islamic scholar, herdsman, farmer and trader – just like him. He was a deeply religious man who was suspicious of Western education which he believed could corrupt the impressionable minds of young people.

“My father did not want me to go to school. He tried to hide me from the prying eyes of Native Authority officials who had embarked on compulsory mass literacy campaign in the region. My father soon discovered that he could not resist the wind of change that was blowing through the area at the time.”

“For trying to stop me from going to school, my father was arrested, charged to an Alkali court and fined 10 Shillings, He refused to pay the fine. He said he had no money.

“He spent a few days in jail until my maternal grandmother, who made local soap for sale in the community, raised the money to pay the fine and father was released to her.

“But my father was not a happy man. He was sad and angry that his only child had been taken away from him to be exposed to a strange world. He saw Western education as a threat to their cherished values and way of life.”

This not withstanding at age 8 Atiku was enrolled into Jada Primary School.

He would later go on to Adamawa Provincial Secondary School in Yola in 1960 and graduated in 1965 with 3 grades in the West African School Certificate Examination (WAEC).

From here he proceeded to the Nigeria Police College in Kaduna and left the college to work in the Regional Ministry of Finance as a Tax Official.

In 1966 he attended the School of Hygiene in Kano for a 1 year diploma and in 1967 undertook a diploma in Law at the Ahmadu Bello University.

Upon graduation he joined the Nigerian Customs Service in 1969 and would serve for 20 years, retiring in 1989.



Atiku Abubakar in his days in the Nigerian Customs Service

He started with petty jobs in the local authority but while studying law he met recruiters for the Civil Service of Nigeria and from there was employed in the Nigerian Customs right after the diploma program in 1969.

He started as a clerk at the Idi Iroko Border Station of the Customs Service, his duties included collecting duties on imports, supporting goods screening and prosecuting smugglers.

He has served at Ikeja Airport, Apapa Port, and rose to the rank of a Superintendent of customs in Ibadan. At Ibadan he was known as Murtala Mohammed because of his strickness.

He claims to have served with a clean record at customs, retiring with only his business investments and not corrupt collections.

In 1989, he resigned from the civil service and entered the world of business and politics full time.



Atiku started formal politics in the 1980’s, supporting Alhaji Bamanga Turkur who was running for the governorship of Gongola State. He participated both as a donor and campaigner.

He would later meet Late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua (not to be confused with Umaru Musa Yar’Adua). Yar’Adua drew Atiku to political meeting at his house in Lagos at a time when Nigeria was under military rule. In 1989 when General Ibrahim Babangida initiated a transition to democracy, Atiku ran and was elected National Vice-President of the People’s Front of Nigeria.

He also won a seat in the 1989 Consituent Assembly. When the government refused the registeration of the People’s Front he migrated to the Social Democratic Party, which was one of only 2 political parties accepted by the military government.

Atiku’s political career is marred by inter-party migration, as he has been a member of the Social Democratic Party, People’s Democratic Party, All Progressives Congress, A, at one time or another and is now back in the PDP as a presidential contender.

In April 1989 Atiku retired from the Customs Service and contested the Governorship of then Gongola State.

In 1993, he contested for the Presidencial Primaries of the SDP, coming 3rd to Moshood Abiola and Babagana Kingibe.

In 1998 success came as he was elected Governor of Adamawa State, but before inauguration he was offered a run as Vice-President by Presidential Candidate Olusegun Obasanjo, the rest is history as they would go on to win the election under the flag of the PDP.

He is a leading member of the PDP, having been a key player since the inception of the party in 1998.

He was also a founding member of the APC, which he helped to form when he could not find footing in the administration of Goodluck Jonathan, and could not fulfill his desire to run for the Presidency since the incumbent was in his party.

Cross carpeting

He left the PDP February, 2 2014 to the APC and left the APC Novemeber 24, 2017, returning to the PDP on December, 3, 2017.

He has contested in the Primary or General Election for every presidential race since 2007 and it the current flagbearer for the PDP. All things being equal he appears to be in a 2 horse race for the presidency, contests only the incumbent as the other figure do not seem to have traction.

He contested the primaries of the PDP against notable names beating out the lead contender Governor of Sokoto State Aminu Tambuwal and runner up Senate President Bukola Saraki.



Since retiring in 1989, Atiku has proven himself as a true businessman.

Politics may appear to be his first love but a careful research shows that he is more than a career politician. In fact his business interests mirror and in some cases outshine his political roles.

It all started with a N31,000 loan from the Federal Staff Housing Scheme in 1974, which he used to build first house in Yola on land allocated by the Gongola State Government, from there he continued to invest in real estate till this day.

Heliconia Park Estate Trans Amadi
Picture: Arial view of Heliconia Park Estate a prestigious residential estate on 101ac, in Port Harcourt, with 262 apartments, developed by Atiku.

However the real money came from a chance investment. While working as a Customs Officer he met a man named Gabriel Volpi an Italian from Genoa who worked for MED Africa as a director. According to him;

 “Volpi suggested we go into oil and gas logistics. He knew Nigeria’s future was in oil and gas. We registered the Nigeria Container Services (NICOTES), operating from a container office at Apapa Ports. I was not involved in the running of the company.

“NICOTES relocated later to the Federal Lighter Terminal in Port Harcourt when the business began to grow.  The company, now known as INTELS (Integrated and Logistics Services), has grown into a multi-billion Naira business providing over 15,000 jobs in Nigeria and other African countries, and paying hefty dividends to its shareholders.”

Intels is his most lucrative venture and is mildly valued by LIVEN Capital above $3billion, although details are not readily available due to the private nature of the firm.

Beyond Intel he is also the owner of 2,500 hectares or more of farm lands in Adamawa, an Animal feed factory, more than 1,000 appartment across the country, Adama Beverages Limited, and more notably American University of Nigeria (AUN).

He is renowned as the 2nd largest employer in his home state outside of the state government, and claims a staff count of 50,000 in Adamawa alone.



Atiku is married to 4 wife’s exclusive of a previous divorce that would make it 5 marriages in total. The result is 26 children.

His 1st and most famous wife is Titilayo, with Titi as she is popularly known he has 4 children, namely Fatima (his 1st child born Oct.26.2972),  Adamu,  Halima and Aminu.

He married his second wife Ladi Yakubu in January 1979 and Ladi has 6 children, namely: Abba, Atiku, Maryam, Rukayatu, Ummi-Hauwa and Zainab.

In 1983 he took his 3rd wife, Princess Rukaiyatu, the daughter of the Late Lamido of Adamawa, they have 7 children namely: Abdulsalam, Aisha, Aliyu (after his father), Asmau, Laila and Mustafa.

His 4th wife Fatima Shettima came in 1986 and has 5 children, including a set of male twins Ahmed and Shehu, with siblings Aisha, Amina, Zainab and Hafsat. It is Fatima that he divorced.

His last wife is Jennifer Iwenjora, now Jamila Atiku Abubakar. Fatima has 3 children, Abdulmalik, Faisal (the youngest) and Zara.

Atiku attained the title of Turaki Adamawa which was conferred by Alhaji Aliyu Mustafa, the title traditionally reserved for the King’s favourite Prince, now giving to an outsider. That title was passed on to his son Aliyu as he alighted to his new title of Waziri Adamawa in June 2017.

Both of his parents are late, with his father having died of drowning when he was 11 and his mother passing to a heart attack in 1984.



Atiku has been trailed by a retinue of corruption allegations, including sections dedicated to him in the book My Watch by his former partner and former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo.

During his 2007 bid for the presidency, the government tried to bar him from contesting due to corruption allegation but he took his case to the Supreme Court and won a rulling that for INEC to accept and register his candidacy, he would go on to run under the AD, loosing to President Goodluck Jonathan and the runner up Mohammadu Buhari.

He was also rumoured to have been banned from travel to the U.S due to corruption allegations. And had to sell a mansion he had in the Unitied States due to a lack of use.

Atiku's former mansion in Maryland, USA
Picture: Atiku's former mansion in Maryland, USA

He is a also trailed with connections to the Halliburton Scandal.

He is a notorious cross carpeter and is instrumental to the loss of the 2015 election by the PDP. In August 2013, INEC the Peoples Democratic Movement, at the time it was rumoured that Atiku was a founding member by he claimed that founded by his "associates", in due course as the primary season arrived, and with his party’s contender the incumbent, Atiku bent on ambition, dumbed the PDP with other Key members including seating governors, making a mess of the national convention.



He is currently the leading opposition contender for the presidency of Nigeria in this year’s General Elections, fighting to unseat President Mohammadu Buhari.

He has chosen Peter Obi as his running mate, a fellow Billionaire and Astutue businessman with an untarnished political record. The 2 have a clear shot at the presidency, at least more so than others.



His estimated network according to our partners at LIVEN Capital is $3.2billion.


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Updated 1 Month ago

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