2019: 4 Things No One Ever Told You About Atiku
Nigeria’s former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was on Sunday picked by the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party as its presidential flag-bearer come 2019.
Atiku has been in the political sphere since the early 1980s, when he worked behind-the-scenes on the governorship campaign of Bamanga Tukur.
So, Atiku is no stranger to the Nigerian public.
He isn’t a dark horse. Pretty everything there is to know about him is out there in the public domain.
But here are 4 things you probably never knew about the man who will be squaring it off with President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
1. He Is A Septuagenarian: Like President Muhammadu Buhari, Atiku is in his 70s. The former Vice President was born on November 25, 1946 to a Fulani trader and farmer Garba Abubakar, and his second wife, Aisha Kande, in Jada village of Adamawa State.
That pegs his age at 72, making him only 3 years younger than Buhari.
2. Atiku Is An Only Child: Atiku Abubakar became the only child of his parents when his only sister died at infancy. Atiku’s father and mother divorced before his father died in 1957 and his mother remarried. Eventually, his mother died in 1984 of heart attack.
3. Atiku Married 5 Wives And Has At Least 24 Children: Atiku is truly family man with a large heart.
Here is what he once said about marrying more than one wife and having many children: "I wanted to expand the Abubakar family. I felt extremely lonely as a child.
"I had no brother and no sister. I did not want my children to be as lonely as I was. Therefore, I married more than one wife. My wives are my sisters, my friends, and my advisers and they complement one another."
His wives included: Titilayo Albert, the first wife he married in 1971 when he was a customs officer at Idi-Iroko. Titi gave him 4 children including Fatima, Adamu, Halima and Aminu.
He married his second wife, Ladi Yakubu in January 1979 and had six children with her: Abba, Atiku, Zainab, Ummi-Hauwa, Maryam and Rukayatu.
In 1983 he married his third wife, Princess Rukaiyatu, daughter of the late Lamido of Adamawa. She gave birth to Aisha, Hadiza, Aliyu (named after her late father), Asmau, Mustafa, Laila and Abdulsalam.
His fourth wife, Fatima Shettima, followed in 1986. Fatima gave birth to her first child Amina (Meena), Mohammed and two sets of twins Ahmed and Shehu, Zainab and Aisha then her last daughter Hafsat.
Atiku later divorced Ladi, allowing him to marry, as his fourth wife (the maximum permitted him as a Muslim), Jennifer.
4. Atiku Is Arguably Nigeria’s Largest Private Employer: Put simply, after government, Atiku’s businesses employ the highest number of people in Nigeria.
This spot is also being contested by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.
Atiku has investments in media, shipping, education, and other sectors, and is said to employ over 50,000 people.
“Since the mid-80s, my private investments have generated thousands of jobs for Nigeria – currently standing +50,000 jobs #LetsTalkJobs” Atiku said in a tweet recently.
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