Why I wrote a book about my life—Atiku Abubakar

Atiku Abubakar with ex-Kogi  State Governor Ibrahim Idris & ex-Lagos State Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu

The story of
MY LIFE is told in greater details in
the biography titled “Atiku: The story of Atiku Abubakar” by Adinoyi Ojo Onukaba (African Legacy
Press, Abuja, 2006) MY LIFE is based largely on series of interviews I granted
the biographer.
interview covered the major events and milestones in my life and they have been
distilled here and woven together as a personal narrative of struggles and
triumphs with a hint about the vast unconquered territory that still lies
I want
readers to take note of two points. One, my modest achievements in life didn’t
come to me on a platter of gold. I had to struggle against uncommon odds to get
to where I am today. Two, personal successes in life are meaningless in a
country where the vast majority of our people still struggle daily to meet
their basic needs.
There is,
therefore, an urgent need to create a Nigeria
of shared exertion and prosperity, a Nigeria
where the majority of our people are fulfilled, happy and hopeful about the
I hope our
young people will find the story of My
inspiring. It is not the circumstances of our birth that truly count;
it is what we make of life itself. As for me, I will continue to dedicate the
rest of my life to making Nigeria a
strong, united, democratic and prosperous country.

…And more about me!

The Man: Atiku Abubakar

My name is Atiku
. I was born on November 25, 1946 in Jada, Adamawa State, Nigeria. I was named after my paternal
grandfather, Atiku Abdulkadir. It was
the practice among the Fulani people
to name their first sons after their paternal grandfathers. My grandfather, Atiku, came originally from Wurno in Sokoto State. There, he met and befriended Ardo Usman, a Fulani nobleman from what is now known as Adamawa State. My grandfather decided to
accompany his new friend back to his hometown of Adamawa.

Up: Atiku Abubakar as a young boy. Down: Atiku with late Mum, Hajiya Aisha Kande

They settled
in Kojoli, a small village in Jada Local Government Council of Adamawa State. My grandfather farmed,
kept live stocks and raised his family. He married a local girl in Kojoli and gave birth to my father, Garba Atiku Abdulkadir. He was their
only child. My father was an itinerant trader who travelled from one market to
another selling imitation jewelry, caps, needles, potash, kola nuts and other nick-knacks which he
ferried around on the back of his donkey. He also kept some livestock and
cultivated guinea corn, maize and groundnuts.

Front of the Book of the Life of Atiku Abubakar

When it was
time for him to marry, my father chose a young girl from nearby Jada town whose parents had migrated
from Dutse, now the capital of Jigawa State. My mother Aisha
, was born in Jada. Her
father was also an itinerant trader who was known in Jada as Adamu Dutse, using his town as his last name—a common practice
in Northern Nigeria. My father was
not rich, but he was able to build his own house and took care of his immediate
family. He was well-known in Kojoli
and the surrounding villages and towns as a tall, well built man who was
generous to a fault. People remembered him as someone who could part with his
last possession.
Both my
father and paternal grandfather were learned men. They gave free Islamic classes to adults and young
people in Kojoli during their spare

The Former Vice President of  Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar

As a young boy growing up in Kojoli,
my parents doted on me. They did their best to provide for me and to ensure
that I grew up in a wholesome environment of love and spirituality. My father
saw me as a rare gift, a child of destiny. He always prayed to Allah to protect me, guide me and to
make me successful in life. I honestly believe that I owe my modest achievement
in life to him. There is power in prayer, no doubt about it. My parents tried
unsuccessfully to have more children. My father even took another wife but she
too did not have a child.

Up: Atike at a rally in the 90s. Down: Atiku at a rally in recent time

I was said
to have been a quite, sensitive boy while growing up. I assisted my father on
the farm and with the live stock. When I was old enough, I would take the cows
and sheep to the fields to graze and bring them back home at sunset. I also
fetched firewood for cooking and for night-time illumination. Kojoli, like most Nigerian villages
then, had no electricity or running water.

Back of the Book of Atiku Abubakar

it was my duty to feed the animals with hay or give them water to drink or
potash to lick. I enjoyed these chores and considered them real fun. I learned
to ride horses and donkeys which my father used to transport goods to the
various markets.
I spent my
free time playing soccer on improvised fields with neighborhood boys.
Sometimes, we made bows and arrows with which we shot down birds. My parents
were devout Muslims. Every night
after dinner, we had Koranic studies
around the bonfire. My father or any other learned person in the village would
teach us. My parents—just like other parents in Kojoli tried to build a strong spiritual foundation for their young
ones through these nightly Koranic
lessons. People say that I look like my father, but that he was even more
generous than me. I took my mother’s dark complexion. I am also quiet and
reserved like her.
(Read our next post titled
“why My Dad hated Western Education” tomorrow in the story of the life of Atiku