Trying to force one’s own profession and life goals on one’s children is still rather popular in Africa. Atiku Abubakar, a well-known politician, and entrepreneur, was nearly a victim of a similar event.
He was the only child of his father, who was also the only child of his grandparents, Atiku Abubakar was born on November 25, 1946, in Jada, Adamawa State, Nigeria. It is clear from his words that he was raised in a loving environment.
“My parents spoilt me rotten when I was a kid in Kojoli. Their efforts to provide for me and guarantee that I grew up in an environment of love and spirituality were not always successful, but they did their best. It was my father’s belief that I was an exceptional individual, destined for greatness.
His ancestors farmed and raised cattle in the same area as him. Father and son were donkey traders who traveled the world selling anything from diamonds to needles to potash on their donkeys.
That was all Atiku Abubakar had to say about his mother.
It was decided that my father would marry a young girl from the adjacent town of Jada, whose parents had immigrated from Dutse, which is now the capital of Jigawa State. Aisha Kande, my mother, was born in Jada.
When his father never wanted him to attend school, the power struggle began at an early age, and it only got worse from there. In Atiku Abubakar’s telling, his father was apprehensive of Western education and would not fund his son’s education. When his father understood he was unable to stop him, he fought on.
“My father, Garba Atiku Abdulkadir, was a big fan of me,” he said. He wanted me to follow in his footsteps and become an Islamic scholar, herdsman, farmer, and dealer like him. When it came to education, he held a profound theological conviction that Western education may lead to the enslavement of young minds.
“My father was opposed to my attending school. When Native Authority authorities came looking for me, he did all he could to keep me out of sight. Soon after, my father realized that he couldn’t fight the current of change that was sweeping through the neighborhood.”
His father’s change of heart was not an easy process. He was detained because he was attempting to obstruct Atiku’s education.
He refused to pay the fee after being arrested and prosecuted in an Alkali court for attempting to prevent me from attending school. He said that he had no cash.
When my maternal grandmother, who manufactured soap to sell in the village, acquired the money to pay the fine, he was released to her after just a few days in jail.
“My father, on the other hand, was not a content man. It hurt and angered him that his own kid had been taken away from him and placed in an unfamiliar environment. In his view, “Western education was a danger to their treasured beliefs and way of life,” ”
After the death of his father, Atiku Abubakar’s promising future took a turn for the worst. The care of his mother fell on him. In light of this, he was inspired to achieve greatness in his career and personal life.
For the sake of making my father pleased, I vowed to work hard and stay focused, and I was confident that someone was looking over me.” ‘I wish Father had lived long enough to witness the benefits of a Western education.’ – I didn’t want to disappoint him.
His First Money
Atiku Abubakar, who is 15 years old, will work during the holidays to help support himself and his mother.
Adamu Ciroma was his supervisor at the Local Authority, where he worked as a clerk.
When Atiku saved money from his vacation employment to buy a house for his mother at such a young age, it shows he had a good handle on money management.
“I bought a house for my mother in Ganye, the seat of the local government council, using the money I earned from seasonal jobs.” In addition to the two bedrooms, the mud and thatch home contained a kitchen and a bathroom. About nine pounds of British currency. My mum was overjoyed and ecstatic to see me succeed. My brother had sold the family home in Jada without telling her, and she was on the verge of becoming homeless.
The Federal Civil Service Commission was recruiting students for the Diploma in Law program at the institution in June 1969. It was via his file that they became acquainted, and as a result, he began working for the Department of Customs and Excise.
It was as though an unstoppable hand guided him to his fate, according to his account of his induction into the customs. It was as if “the unseen hand that has always molded my life” had once again guided him towards his destiny, he explained.
Import and export duties were among his first responsibilities, as were the arrest and prosecution of anyone suspected of trafficking in prohibited commodities at the Idi Iroko border post.
It was from Ikeja Airport and Apapa Port that he rose to the rank of Superintendent of Customs before moving on to Ibadan.
While working at the customs, he was revealed to be a major supporter of the former head of state General Murtala Muhammed, who had been slain earlier this year.
General Muhammed was a role model for me, and I sought to instill such ideals and attitudes in our workplace. As a Customs officer in Ibadan, I was dubbed “Murtala Muhammed Junior” by my superiors because they felt I acted like him. The late-comers were barred out of their desks even though I was second-in-command in Ibadan.”
In Customs, Atiku would board the Excel.
When asked about his stint at Customs, he answered the following:
As a government revenue source, I regarded Customs as more than a deterrent. Instead of stealing from people and extorting money from them, I generated money for the government by selling their commodities. Many individuals have attempted to persuade me but to no avail.
Business and entrepreneurship
Atiku Abubakar has declared that he developed a love for business at a young age. He, therefore, applied in 1974 for an N31,000 mortgage loan. He used the money to build his first home, which he then rented out.
“I applied for a Federal Staff Housing Loan in 1974 and was approved. It took me five years to pay back the 31,000 Naira loan, which equaled my earnings for that time period. A piece of land in Yola, the capital of the Gongola State, was given to me by the government (GRA).
In order to begin construction on my first home, I hired a foreman. The home was built on schedule and according to my specifications thanks to my personal involvement. I was able to find a tenant right away and rented it out. I was able to buy a second plot of land because to the rent I was able to collect on the house.”
From the rent he received from his first house, he went on to build his second house, and so on, and so forth.
It was there that I constructed a second home and rented it out. My mother’s old mud house in Ganye, which I acquired for her as a 15-year-old student, was rebuilt and a new house was built for her in Yola within a few years. I also built eight new houses in Yola’s most desirable locations.
“Investing in real estate may pay off handsomely. Depending on the region, it is both secure and lucrative. Kaduna, for example, was a wonderful spot to invest in property before Abuja’s rise. My first house in Kaduna was built using the money I borrowed from other people’s homes. In total, I purchased six additional plots and built six more houses, which I then rented out to individuals and organizations.”
In his own terms, the oil industry has been his most successful endeavor. In Apapa, he met an Italian customs officer with whom he struck up a conversation and ultimately agreed to go into the oil business together. INTELS is one of Nigeria’s largest corporations and was once known as NICOTES.
One of my most successful and lucrative ventures was a small oil services firm I founded in the early 1980s with an Italian businessman. During my time at Apapa Ports in 1982, I encountered Gabriel Volpi, a former employee of mine. Volpi, who was born in Genoa, Italy, was a director of MED Africa, a maritime firm.
Involvement in oil and gas logistics was recommended by Volpi.” In his mind, oil and gas held the key to Nigeria’s future. We established the Nigeria Container Services (NICOTES), which is based in Apapa Ports and provides container services throughout Nigeria. I was not a part of the company’s management.
“As the company grew, NICOTES moved to the Federal Lighter Terminal in Port Harcourt. More than 15,000 people in Nigeria and other African nations are employed by INTELS (Integrated and Logistics Services), which has evolved into a multi-billion Naira corporation that pays generous dividends to its owners.