Atiku Abubakar GCON (born 25 November 1946) is a Nigerian politician and businessman who served as the Vice President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 during the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo. He ran as Governor of Adamawa State in 1990, 1997 and later, in 1998, being elected before becoming Olusegun Obasanjo’s running mate during the 1999 presidential election and re-elected in 2003.
Since his entry into politics in 1993, Atiku Abubakar has unsuccessfully contested five times for the Office of President of Nigeria in 1993, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019. In 1993, he contested the Social Democratic Party presidential primaries losing to Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe. He was a presidential candidate of the Action Congress in the 2007 presidential election coming in third to Umaru Yar’Adua of the PDP and Muhammadu Buhari of the ANPP. He contested the presidential primaries of the People’s Democratic Party during the 2011 presidential election losing out to incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.
In 2014, he joined the All Progressives Congress ahead of the 2015 presidential election and contested the presidential primaries losing to Muhammadu Buhari. In 2017, he returned to the Peoples Democratic Party and was the party presidential candidate during the 2019 presidential election, again losing to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.
Atiku Abubakar was born on 25 November 1946 in Jada, a village which was then under the administration of the British Cameroons – the territory later joined with the Federation of Nigeria in the 1961 British Cameroons referendum. His father, Garba Abubakar was a Fulani trader and farmer, and his mother was Aisha Kande. He was named after his paternal grandfather Atiku Abdulqadir who hails from Wurno, Sokoto State and migrated to Kojoli village at Jada, Adamawa State, his maternal grandfather called Inuwa Dutse migrated to Jada, Adamawa State from Dutse, Jigawa State he became the only child of his parents when his only sister died at infancy. In 1957, his father died by drowning while crossing a river to Toungo, a neighbouring village to Jada.
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, Adamawa. After completing his primary school education in 1960, he was admitted into Adamawa Provincial Secondary School in the same year, alongside 59 other students. He graduated from secondary school in 1965 after he made grade three in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination.
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, and 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 the regional government. After graduation in 1969, during the Nigerian Civil War, he was employed by the Nigeria Customs Service.
In 2021, Abubakar successfully completed and passed his Masters degree in International Relations at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom.