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The Man Atiku Abubakar And The Culture Of Selfless Service



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The former vice president and the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 presidential election, His Excellency , Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, turned 77 years recently. As it is often said, it is not how long but how well. Atiku Abubakar, while still alive, hale and hearty and kicking, has already bequeathed legacies that would outlive and engraft his name in the bowels of timeless history. His 77 years can be described as an eventful era dedicated to selfless services and dogged pursuit of public good and causes.


The Waziri Adamawa, who was born in Jada, lost his father early in life. But he refused to allow the event of that loss to mar his life. He positioned himself and acquired education before proceeding to join the service of Nigeria Customs and Excise in 1969. Humble and endued with a charismatic personality, Atiku Abubakar was highly favored in the service as he applied himself to hard work with complete subordination to his bosses. He grew in the service to ascend one of the highest rungs in the para military force. He resigned from customs service in the early nineties to seek a broader platform to continue his avowed commitment of impacting positively on lives.

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Atiku Abubakar joined the PDM, a political party founded by late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua which became the platform for the struggle for military disengagement from political governance and the return of the country to Democratic rule.


That struggle came at a pyrrhic cost claiming the life of Yar’Adua and a plethora of other democracy advocates, some of whom had to go into exile. Atiku Abubakar survived the dictatorial onslaught of the military jackboot of that period and in 1999 emerged as Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in what can arguably be described as reward for perseverance, determination and undiluted loyalty.

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But everything that has happened to Atiku Abubakar looks like a script prepared by providence. The propensity of his generosity seems to add to his growing and unhindered success stories. When he left Adamawa Provincial Secondary School to Kano School of Hygiene, he at the same time read for A Levels which admitted him into the famous Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria where he earned a diploma in Law in 1969. It was during the period that his interest in leadership and public service began to take root and fester as he was elected Assistant Secretary General and Speaker of the Students’ Union Government of ABU. This undoubtedly enriched his young political mind and prepared him for the many political ventures and battles he has fought. And like a windmill under the delicate guidance of providence, Atiku Abubakar has moved from glory to glory, building a network of friends of net worth.


The largely shared view that he is a pawn in the hands of providence is visible in his private life. The former vice-president upon retirement went into private business before launching into an active political career. His businesses have recorded outstanding successes. The various businesses have also employed a myriad of people, reducing unemployment in our country. And so when those in power see his looming political credentials and set out to cripple his businesses, the God of providence fights for him, and restoration comes like day after night. His businesses have been growing from strength to strength, leveraging him to continue with his unbridled work of philanthropy.


Waziri Adamawa’s philanthropy is boldly imprinted in many facets of life. He is a man endowed with a strong community spirit. He has helped communities build schools, mosques, and churches across the nation. Education, which is an instrument of liberation, boasts countless support from the former vice-president. He founded the prestigious American University of Nigeria, Yola, and recently ceded ownership to the community. He has awarded countless scholarships to several Nigerians and Africans to enable them to obtain good and quality education. He has also invested in the health sector to enable people to tackle medical challenges. The former vice-president has not overlooked medical needs like the eradication of polio and other fatalities like HIV/AIDS. They have all arrested hia compassionate attention, leading to his provision of means to ameliorate them.


Atiku Abubakar contested to be governor of Admawa State in 1999. He won the election and was awaiting swearing in when fate beckoned . He was invited to the center and joined to ticket in an election for president. It was a risky venture equated to a gambling with a bird that was already at hand. Being a man with a big vision, Atiku Abubakar took the risk and became vice president of Nigeria for eight years. The rest is history.


His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is an enigma many do not know. When I joined him to Jada, Yola Gayen, to witness his birthday on November 25, many things happened that burnished and reinforced my views of him. What I witnessed was startling and revealing. And I dare to ask the question, why have Nigerians lit a lamp and put it under the bushel? May God open our eyes to the oddity of this action.


Prince Ekene Onwuka is a public affairs analyst.

Writes from Abuja.


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