The Men who'll change Nigeria in 2015

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Atiku Abubakar

Former Vice-President (1999-2007)

Date of Birth: 25/11/1946

Married to Titi Abubakar, four children and two grandchildren. Also married to Rukayat, Fatima and Jennifer.

Education: Jada Junior Primary School 1954-57; Jada Senior Boarding Primary School, 1958-60; Adamawa Provincial Secondary School, Yola, 1961-65; School of Hygiene, Kano, 1966; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, 1967-69; Cairo Police Academy, 1986.

Career: Tax Officer, Northern Nigeria Ministry of Finance, 1966; various positions, Federal Civil Service, 1966-89; Governor, Adwama State, 1999; Vice-President, 1999-2007.

Commentary: Abubakar worked as a customs officer for twenty years, rising to the rank of Deputy Director before leaving in 1989 for politics and business. He became a leading political figure, helping Umaru Musa Yar'Adua found the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and running for Vice-President in the 1999 election alongside Olusegun Obasanjo, who he had played a major part in recruiting. They won re-election in 2003.

Obasanjo and Abubakar had a spectacular disagreement after Abubakar resisted Obasanjo’s attempt to change the constitution to allow him a third term in office. Obasanjo exacted revenge on his former ally by having him investigated and then hounded out of the party he had helped found. He was in political wilderness; h e lost the 2007 presidential election, coming in third behind Yar’Adua and Muhammadu Buhari on the ticket of the Action Congress (AC). In February 2008 he lost his court challenge of the election. A failed attempt at rapprochement with Obasanjo and the PDP in January 2009 drove a wedge between Abubakar and the AC.

Abubakar had a brief resurgence, former military leader General Ibrahim Babangida, former Director of military intelligence Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, the Governor of Kwara State Bukola Saraka – agreed to join forces to support his bid for the presidential nomination. The PDP's political dominance means that the winner of the party's presidential nomination would be the favourite to win the national predidency in elections. However, Jonathan and his campaign team used all the advantages of presidential incumbency against his rival; the screening committee was made up of Jonathan loyalists and Atiku’s supporters protested in vain. Despite their promises, northern PDP heavyweights such as Ibrahim Babangida, Aliyu Mohammed Gusau and Abubakar Bukola Saraki failed to back Atiku. They are unhappy with Jonathan’s nomination but did not deem Atiku a credible rival.

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