2019: Do You Want To Know How Atiku Built His Empire?
Atiku is the name on almost everyone’s lips in Nigeria at the moment, after he clinched the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP ticket on Sunday.
He would now square off with President Muhammadu Buhari who has secured the mandate of the APC for a second term.
But the man of the moment is Atiku Abubabakar, a man many arguably consider an equivalent of America’s Donald Trump.
Besides being an astute politician, Atiku started out as a civil servant before venturing into business.
But one thing that stands out is that Atiku has succeeded in business as much as he has succeeded in politics.
He is a billionaire with several companies in his portfolio, notably NITELS, American University of Nigeria, Property Development Company, etc.
But how did he do it?
Atiku first started out in the real estate sector during his early days as a Customs Officer at the age of 28.
It was in 1974, that the young Atiku applied for and received a 31,000-naira loan to build his first house in Yola, which he put up for rent.
From proceeds of the rent, he purchased another plot and built a second house. He continued this way, building a sizeable portfolio of property in Yola.
In 1981, 35-year-old moved into agriculture, acquiring 2,500 hectares of land near Yola to start a maize and cotton farm.
The business fell on hard times and closed in 1986.
"My first foray into agriculture, in the 1980s, ended in failure," he wrote in an April 2014 blog.
He then ventured into trading, buying and selling truckloads of rice, flour and sugar.
His most important business move came while he was a Customs Officer at the Apapa Ports.
It all started after an Italian businessman in Nigeria, Gabrielle Volpi invited him to set up Nigeria Container Services (NICOTES), a logistics company operating within the Ports.
Read More: 2019: 4 Major Reasons Atiku Won PDP Primary
NICOTES would go on to provide immense wealth to Atiku. Conflict of interest accusations have since trailed him because of people believed he used influence as a senior civil servant to run the company.
On his part, Abubakar has defended the decision saying his involvement was limited to the ownership of shares (which government rules permitted), and that he was not involved in day-to-day running of the business.
NICOTES would later be re-branded INTELS and go on to feature prominently in accusations of money laundering leveled against Atiku by the U.S. government during his Vice Presidency.
Abubakar's business empire also includes a beverage manufacturing plant in Yola, as well as an animal feed factory and is said to employ an estimated 50,000 plus Nigerians across all his businesses.
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