Atiku Abubakar was the vice president of Nigeria during the democratic reign of Olusegun Obasanjo between May 1999 and May 2007. His vice presidency brought him popularity but before and after, he has been one of the frontline politicians in Nigeria.
Atiku Abubakar was born on November 25, 1946 in Gongola state (now Adamawa state) to a Fulani farmer father and a trader mother. His father was against western education but he got to study because of the mandatory schooling law that was in place then. His father died when he was 11 and his mum, much later, when he was 38. He was the only child, and after marrying his second wife, he said he needed to expand his family as he didn’t want his children to suffer the same fate of loneliness he did as a child.
Atiku started out in the real estate business during his early days as a Customs Officer. In 1974 he applied for and received a N31,000 loan to build his first house in Yola, which he put up for rent. From proceeds of the rent he purchased another plot, and built a second house. He continued this way, building a sizeable portfolio of property in Yola. In 1981 he moved into agriculture, acquiring 2,500 hectares of land near Yola to start a maize and cotton farm. The business fell on hard times and closed in 1986.
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He then ventured into trading, buying and selling truckloads of rice, flour and sugar. He had a good business relationship with the Dangote Group and later on, the man himself; Aliko Dangote. His most important business move came while he was a Customs Officer at the Apapa Ports. Gabrielle Volpi, an Italian businessman in Nigeria, invited him to set up Nigeria Container Services (NICOTES), a logistics company operating within the Ports.
NICOTES would go on to provide immense wealth to Atiku. NICOTES was later rebranded as INTELS, and went on to feature prominently in accusations of money laundering levelled against Atiku by the US government during his Vice Presidency. Atiku’s business empire also includes Adama beverage manufacturing plant in Yola, as well as an animal feed factory.
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Atiku, in 2005 foundeded his American University of Nigeria (AUN), which is the first American-style University to be established in Sub-Saharan Africa. It was founded in Yola, the capital of Adamawa. AUN has received special recognition from Google.
Overall, the husband of four and father of twelve is Reportedly Worth $1.4 Billion.