By Elvis Iruh
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Alhaji Abubakar Atiku
Alhaji Abubakar Atiku was born on the 25th of November 1946 to an itinerant Fulani trader in Jeda village of Adamawa state. Abubakar Atiku was one of the founding members of the people's Democratic Party. He did a diploma in law from the Ahmadu Bello University and graduated in 1969. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is happily married with Children. He is a humble, kind hearted family man who does not forget his friends, people and Country.
On June 30th 1969, He enrolled in the Nigerian School of Customs and training. After graduating from the College He served on various capacities before He rose to the rank of Area Controller in 1982. In 1987 He was promoted director of Customs and exercise in charge of enforcement and drugs, one of the six deputies to the head of the Nigerian Customs. He resigned from the Nigerian Customs in 1989, when in 1988 he had failed to in his bid to be appointed as the general of the Nigerian Customs.
After his retirement from the Customs, he went into business becoming one of the most successful business men in the country who gained a lot of respect in his own State, Nigeria and internationally.
In politics, the experience and his role in the political development of Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. He has been behind the success of many politicians in the country since the 1980s. He was appointed as the Vice Chairman of the people's front of Nigeria a political association that was led by the late Alhaji Musa Yar'Adua in 1989. In 1990, he contested as the Governor of Adamawa State under the platform of the Social Democratic Party though he was disqualified by the government of the day. In 1992, he contested the SDP primaries with the late MKO Abiola, but later stepped down when Abiola announced him as the running mate.
In 2006, when the battle for the presidency began, he moved to the Action Group of Nigeria. In 2007, when INEC released the names for the presidential candidates, his name was completely missing and in March 2007 he went to court to challenge the decision of INEC.
However after a series of negotiations in 2007 elections; he returned to the People's Democratic Party and he re-announced that he was going to run the 2010 presidential election. The Northern leaders persuaded him to give up the idea even though he went further to participate in the primaries.
Alhaji Abubakar Atiku in 2005 built the first American styled University in Sub-Saharan Africa and named it the American University of Nigeria. He has donated generously to many organizations in the world including the American Peace Corps, a new initiative that features global leaders to discuss Peace Corps. He has received many local and international awards. In 1992, he was conferred with the title of Turaki of Adamawa.
In view of the above, he is widely considered as a huge symbol of democracy in Nigeria because of his public opinion to attempts to change the constitution a few years ago by President Obasanjo to enable him stand for a third term. These attempts put him in the good books of many Nigerians though some Nigerians were short sighted to think he was interested to take over Obasanjo's job. The fight against him is the question many Nigerians are still asking? No matter what we may think about him; he is a democrat who thinks about the interest of Nigerians first in all his decisions.
He sees Nigeria as a country that have done well for him in life and the time is ripe for him to pay back in good terms. His decision to join APC therefore is because it is a party for change, committed to the improvement to the lives of the people and the development of Nigeria as one indivisible country. If democracy is about competition and fundamental human rights; Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has the right to belong to any political association and the right to vote and be voted for in any elective post. Some of the negative political calculations against him might also turn out to affect the entire Northern East Region in 2015 presidential election. The case of Mr. Bamanga Tukar is still fresh in our minds; a political decision that has been made to neutralize Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, but at the end what was the result? He has survived many battles from government and has won all of them.
His movement to APC should be seen purely on constitutional grounds and not personal. His interest lies on a people's oriented political party. His interest is to build the opposition where there will be zero tolerance for everyone including himself and he will be allowed to express himself both politically and economically without undue interference from government. Though according to him, it does not matter who may be given the chance to become the presidential candidate of the All People's Congress in 2015, but he is a very smart , experience and tested politician who has the capacity to win support when it matters most.
He said that he had tried all human efforts to ensure that PDP always follow the rule of law and have the interest of people first and individual member's heart before any other thing. All these efforts were rendered futile due to the mentality of things as they are on the ideology of PDP.
He left PDP and came back when he thought things were going to change but when he saw no changes in PDP's and their readiness to follow the rule of law, Atiku then decided to back out once again, and join the progressive party in the country (APC), of which he had longed to be not for any personal ambition but only to rescue Nigerians from the misrule of PDP.
Alhaji Abubakar Atiku has the genuine credentials to foster the unity of Nigeria as a whole.