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The Story of my Life by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

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Below is a brief autobiography of the Peoples Democratic party presidential candidate for the 2019 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, as at 2014.

Childhood:

I was born on the 25th of November 1946 in Jada village, Adamawa State Like many of my generation, my father was opposed
to Western education and tried to keep me out of school. When the government discovered this, my father spent a few days in jail. I was then enrolled in
Jada primary school.

When I was only 11 years old, my father drowned and died while trying to cross a small river. The task of raising me then fell on my mother. At that age I resolved to work hard, remain focused and be
successful in life to make my her proud.
In 1960, I was admitted to Adamawa Provincial Secondary School in Yola.

Academically, I did well in English Language and Literature but I struggled with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. I spent most holidays working to earn extra money. In 1961, when I was 15 years old, my mother’s elder brother sold the family house in Jada without her knowledge and rendered us homeless. I spent that holiday working and from my earnings, I bought a house for my mother in Ganye.

I became an orphan when my mother suffered a heart attack and died in 1984.

Post Secondary School:
I graduated from secondary school in 1965. After that, I studied at the Nigeria Police College in Kaduna for a short while. I left when I was unable to present an O-Level Mathematics result. I worked briefly as a Tax Officer in the regional Ministry of Finance, from where I gained admission to the School of Hygiene in Kano in 1966.
I graduated with a Diploma in 1967, having served as Interim Student Union President at the School. In 1967 I enrolled for a Law Diploma at the Ahmadu Bello University Institute of Administration, on a scholarship from regional government. After graduation in 1969, I was employed by the Nigerian
Customs Service.

Family:
I met nineteen year old Titilayo Albert when I was serving at Idiroko, Lagos, and in December 1971 I married her secretly, because her family was initially opposed to the union. On 26 October 1972, Titi
delivered a baby girl and we named her Fatima. Titi later gave birth to Adamu, Halima and Aminu.

In January 1979 I married Ladi Yakubu as my second wife. I wanted to expand the Abubakar family. I had no siblings and I felt extremely lonely as a child. I did
not want my children to feel that way.

This is why I married more than one wife. My wives are my sisters, my friends, and my advisers and they complement one another. Ladi gave birth to Abba, Atiku, Zainab, Ummi-Hauwa, Maryam and Rukayatu.

In 1983 the late Lamido of Adamawa who had become like my father made me the Turaki of Adamawa. This position was usually reserved for one of the Emir’s favorite sons and was rarely given to non-royals like me. To ensure that I met the ‘blood tie’ requirement for the title, the Lamido gave me one of his daughters, Princess Rukaiyat, to marry.

She gave birth to Aisha, Hadiza, Aliyu, Asmau, Mustafa, Laila and Abdulsalam.
I married Fatima Shettima in 1986. She gave birth to Amina (Meena), Mohammed and two sets of twins Ahmed and Shehu, Zainab and Aisha and then Hafsat.

Jennifer Jamila Atiku-Abubakar is my last wife. She gave birth to Abdulmalik, Zara and my youngest child, Faisal.

Customs:
My Customs career commenced on 30 June 1969. My first posting was at Idi-Iroko, a border town between Nigeria and Benin Republic. My other assignments
included the Lagos Airport, Apapa Ports (1974), Ibadan Customs Command (1975), Kano Command (1976), Maiduguri (Area Comptroller, 1977), Kaduna (1980) and the Apapa Ports in 1982.

In April 1984, when I was the Murtala Muhammed Airport Area Administrator, my name was associated with a scandal that made headlines. As part of efforts
to cripple corrupt politicians who had stashes of stolen cash in their possession, the new military government had phased out the old naira currency and replaced it with new ones. Orders had been given to ensure that all luggage entering the country was properly screened to prevent smuggling of the old notes. The Emir of Gwangu and Ambassador
Dahiru Waziri had arrived from Saudi Arabia with many suitcases. As is customary, the suitcases were supposed to pass through Custom officers for check
but the Emir’s son, who was a Major in the Army and also ADC to Head of State Gen Buhari drove straight to the Tarmac with soldiers, off-loaded the suitcases
there, picked up his father and the Ambassador and drove away. The soldiers had threatened to shoot the Custom officers who had protested and tried to stop them. My officers reported in writing to me and I in turn reported the incidence to my boss, the Director of Customs. A few days later, one of the officers leaked the story to Guardian Newspapers and their correspondent called me to confirm if it was true. I did.

Soon after, Newspaper Headlines read,
“Passenger with 53 suitcases leaves airport unchecked”. This scandal embarrassed the government and they tried to make me deny it happened. I refused and they threatened to throw me
out of service. The Minister of Finance then, Soleye, who oversaw the Customs Service played a big role in ensuring I wasn’t dismissed. He had said it would
be unfair to punish me for being honest and standing by my officers.

In 1987 I was promoted to Deputy Director of Customs and Excise in charge of Enforcement and Drugs. In April 1989, when I was 43, I voluntarily retired from Customs after 20 years of meritorious
service.

Business:
I’ve always had a good nose for business. In my early years as a Customs officer, I received a 31,000 naira Housing Loan, built a bungalow in Yola, and rented it
out. With the rent I collected in advance, I bought a second plot and built another house. I continued building new houses with rent from completed ones and after a few years I had built 8 houses in choice
areas in Yola. When I was transferred to Kaduna, I continued this process and in a few years I had 5 houses there.

In 1981, I moved into agriculture. I became the largest maize farmer in the whole Gongola state..

Unfortunately, due to Government policies that increased the cost of production, the business fell on hard times and closed in 1986.

The most successful business I ever ventured into was with Gabrielle Volpi, an Italian businessman. He intimated me about how profitable Oil and Gas Logistics business could be and, trusting his abilities, I partnered with him to form NICOTES which started operating from a container office at Apapa ports.

When the business began to grow, we relocated to Onne, Rivers State. The company, now known as INTELS (Integrated and Logistics Services) is a multi-billion naira company that has a staff of over 15,000 people and pays huge dividends to its shareholders.

My other businesses include agriculture, feed making, plastics, printing, TV/radio media, and beverages.

Politics:
I met Shehu Musa Yar’Adua towards the end of my Customs career. He invited me to the political meetings that were happening regularly in his Lagos home; and that was how my foray into politics began.

In 1989 the political meetings became Peoples Front of Nigeria and I was elected as the National Vice- Chairman.

First Governorship Run (1990):
I won the Adamawa state SDP gubernatorial primaries in November 1991, but the FG later disqualified me from contesting the election.

First Presidential Run (1992):
When Shehu Yar’Adua was disqualified from contesting the 1992 presidential primary of the SDP, he pushed me forward as the focal point of SDP’s
ambitions. I came third in the convention primary. But because MKO Abiola, the winner, had won by only about 400 votes a run-off was due. I stepped down for Abiola, asking my supporters to cast their
votes for him, with an unwritten agreement that Abiola would announce me as his running mate. He eventually won the SDP ticket, but announced
Babagana Kingigbe as his running mate.

Second Governorship Run (1998):
I won the Adamawa State governorship elections in December 1998, but before I could be sworn in I was chosen by Olusegun Obasanjo, as his vice-presidential candidate. We won the 27 February 1999 Presidential Elections with 62.78 percent of the votes.

Vice Presidency (1999–2007):
I was sworn in as Vice-President of Nigeria on 29 May 1999. Coming in after decades of military rule, Nigeria was in a very bad shape all round. Priorities were decided. We started by stabilizing the polity. I was put in charge of the economy in the first tenure. I oversaw the sale of hundreds of loss-making and poorly managed public enterprises. We curbed
inflation, fixed our foreign debts and consolidated the banks. I supervised the telecoms reforms which brought us GSM. In my second tenure, due to issues like fighting the bid to amend the constitution that would allow the President run a third term, so many things went wrong. At a point, all my staffs were even withdrawn. But I have put all that behind me.

Second Presidential Run (2006–2007):
On 20 December 2006, I was chosen as the presidential candidate of the Action Congress. On 14 March 2007, INEC released the final list of 24 aspirants for the 21 April presidential election and
my name was missing from the ballot. INEC issued a statement stating that my name wasn’t there because I was on a list of persons indicted for corruption by a panel set up by the government. I headed to the courts on 16 March to have the disqualification overturned and on the 16th of April, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that INEC had no power to disqualify candidates. This was barely 5 days to the election, when most people had given up hope that I would be allowed to contest. In the end, as announced by INEC, I came third, behind Umaru. Yar’Adua and Muhammadu Buhari.

Third Presidential Run (2011):
On the 22nd of November 2010, a Committee of Northern Elders selected me as the Northern Consensus Candidate, over former Military President
Ibrahim Babangida, former National Security Adviser Aliyu Gusau and Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara
State. In January 2011, I contested for the Presidential ticket of the PDP alongside President Jonathan and Sarah Jubril. I came second.

All Progressives Congress:
On 2 February 2014, I joined the All Progressives Congress, and on this platform, I hope to run for Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

-AA

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ECOWAS Court Finds FG Guilty of Violating Rights of #EndSARS Protesters

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The Community Court of Justice, ECOWAS, has ruled that the Federal Republic of Nigeria violated the human rights of Obianuju Udeh and two others.

The court found Nigeria in breach of Articles 1, 4, 6, 9, 10, and 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, specifically on the right to life, security of person, freedom of expression, assembly and association, prohibition of torture, the duty of the state to investigate, and the right to effective remedy.

The applicants, Obianuju Udeh, Perpetual Kamsi and Dabiraoluwa Adeyinka, alleged that these violations occurred during the peaceful protests at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos State on October 20 and 21, 2020.

The presiding judge, Justice Koroma Sengu, who delivered the judgment, dismissed the allegation that the right to life as guaranteed under article 4 of the ACPHR is violated.

He, however, said that the Federal Government must pay each applicant N2 million as compensation for violations of their security of person, prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association, duty to investigate human rights violations, and right to effective remedy.

Additionally, he said the Federal Government must adhere to its obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, investigate and prosecute its agents responsible for these violations, and report to the court within six months on the measures taken to implement this judgment.

The applicants alleged that during the peaceful protests against the SARS unit of the Nigerian Police Force at Lekki Toll Gate on October 20 and 21, 2020, the respondent committed several human rights violations.

Triggered by the alleged killing of Daniel Chibuike, the protests aimed to address police harassment and brutality.

The first applicant’s claims include that the soldiers shot protesters, resulting in deaths and injuries, which she live-streamed, subsequently receiving threatening phone calls that forced her into hiding and eventual asylum.

The second applicant, responsible for protesters’ welfare, described how soldiers began shooting after a power cut, leading to her hospitalisation due to police tear gas.

The third applicant recounted narrowly escaping being shot, observing the refusal of ambulance entry by soldiers, and later witnessing inadequate hospital care for victims.

She argued that she and her colleagues took over the victims’ care and she faced ongoing threats and surveillance, believed to be by respondent’s agents.

The applicants sought declaratory relief and compensation from the court for these violations.

The respondent denied all claims made by the applicants, asserting that the protesters unlawfully assembled at the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020, under the guise of protesting against SARS.

The respondent also maintained that its agents followed strict rules of engagement and did not shoot or kill protesters.

It argued that the first applicant incited the crowd by playing music and using her Instagram page to stir disaffection against law enforcement, who were targeting escapee members of Boko Haram and bandits.

The respondent contended that the second applicant’s logistics and welfare support provision indicated her support for the violent protest.

It claimed that soldiers were present to restore peace until the police arrived, denying any harm inflicted on protesters and the refusal of ambulance access.

The respondent also denied that the third applicant’s presence was peaceful, asserting it was meant to escalate violence.

It argued that the Lagos State Government managed the treatment and care of the injured and submits that the applicants have not provided credible evidence to support their claims, or the reliefs sought.

In its judgment, the court found there was no violation of the right to life.

However, the court held that the respondent breached several articles of the ACPHR which occasioned fundamental breaches of human rights violation therein.

Furthermore, the court declared that the applicants were denied the right to an effective remedy.

The court ordered that the respondent make reparations to the applicants for the violation of their fundamental human rights.

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We’re Already Preparing 2025 Budget, Pro-Wike Lawmakers Are Gone – Fubara

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The Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, on Wednesday, said his administration has started the process of preparing the 2025 budget.

The governor also dismissed the threat by the Martin Amaewhule-led faction of the state House of Assembly that he should present the 2024 budget again, saying that having defected to the All Progressives Congress from the Peoples Democratic Party platform on which they got election, their seats remained vacant.

Fubara said this when he received on a solidarity visit, the leadership structure, critical stakeholders, opinion leaders, women and youths of Etche and Omuma Local Government Areas, led by Ogbakor Etche, the apex socio-cultural organisation of Etche Ethnic Nationality Worldwide, at the Government House, Port Harcourt.

In a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Nelson Chukwudi, and sent to newsmen, the governor described the recent ranting of the Amaewhule faction as noise-making from delusional folks.

He urged the “25 former lawmakers” to wake up from their slumber, adding that the ship of governance in the state was sailing smoothly.

The lawmakers loyal to the former governor and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, had been having issues with Fubara over the political control of the state.

After an unsuccessful attempt to oust the governor, resulting in the demolition of the Assembly quarters, the lawmakers announced their defection to the APC, a move the state PDP latched on to declare their seats vacant.

A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, the state capital, granted an interim injunction restraining the pro-Wike lawmakers from parading themselves as legislators in the state.

However, the Court of Appeal in Abuja, on July 4, affirmed Amaewhule and 24 other lawmakers as members of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Holding a session at the state Legislative Quarters on Monday, the court-reinstated lawmakers asked Fubara to re-present the 2024 budget to the Assembly and gave him a one-week ultimatum.

The government, in a swift move, approached the court to restrain the state Chief Judge and others from recognising the Amaewhule-led Assembly, while it also appealed the judgment of the Appeal Court at the Supreme Court.

Foreclosing the idea of presenting the 2024 budget again, Fubara said his administration had commenced preparing details of the 2025 Appropriation Bill, with priority placed on education, healthcare and agriculture.

“Let me assure you that agriculture is an area that we have promised the very special and peace-loving people of Rivers State that our 2025 budget, which we have already started preparing, will address.

“Don’t bother about those people that are delusional. They think we are still sleeping. Let me tell you people so that they can hear anywhere they are.

“I wanted to help them, sincerely because I know them. And I have said it before, these are people that I have helped. I paid their children’s school fees. I paid their house rent. So, I wanted to help them.

“We all knew what happened when they crossed (defected), and how did they cross? Because of our God, for them to make that mistake, they crossed. They are gone, and they are gone. Now, let me tell you: when I wanted to help them, I accepted to help them because we are all one. We disagree to agree as it is said,” he said.

He added, “They thought they were smart. What is holding them is the declaration of their seats vacant as done on December 13, 2023. We are not doing any budget to nullify that decision. It is what will send them to their villages.

“As I am talking to you, I have started preparing my budget for 2025, which I am going to present very soon. And, in that budget, my key areas will be education, healthcare and agriculture.”

Fubara said the three priority areas would ensure that even if more roads were constructed, emphasis would be placed on quality healthcare services for the people of the state.

“Our children need to go to quality schools. Even if they can’t go to private schools, let them go to the public ones that have standards. We need to go to good health facilities owned by the government and get standard healthcare services.

“Even if we cannot afford those private hospitals, when you go to the public ones, you can get the same services with qualified professionals. That is our thinking.

“And when we get to the issue of agriculture, it will address the issue of unemployment. When we start engaging our youths, they won’t have time to be involved in crime. So, our thinking is to secure and protect our state,” he added.

He reiterated that he was fighting nobody as insinuated, adding that being loyal did not mean losing one’s liberty, sense of discretion and doing what was right.

“I want to assure you of one thing: we are not fighting anybody. We appreciate what God has used people to also do in our lives. But, we are not going to rule (govern) this state on our bent knees. We will rule standing this way I am standing.

“If it is only being on our knees to rule that is the way that they will see us as being loyal, then, I will pack my few things that I have here, and go and relax in my house comfortably, because it will be a disaster, not just to me but to everyone in the state and even my generation.

“So, I will continue to stand tall and stand on the side of the truth. Let me thank the President General (of Ogbakor Etche) for bringing your people, the great people of Etche and Omuma together to come and pay us a solidarity visit,” he said.

Fubara urged the people of Etche Nation to sustain their support for his administration because its vision was clear and encompassing to advance the well-being of all Rivers people.

He promised to work with the Nigeria Police to resolve the issue of herdsmen attacks on farmlands and farmers in the area, including the issue of illegal dredging activities.

The Punch

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Yoruba Elders Council Rejects Agitation for Yoruba Nation

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The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) has voiced its opposition to idea of carving out Yoruba Nation from Nigeria.

The group, through a statement on Sunday, said it would rather commit to true federalism in Nigeria.

The statement read: “We have perused the document on the position of YSDM on the state of the Nation and their views for the Yoruba race to be separated from Nigeria. The Yoruba Council of Elders remains firm in its position that the entity called and known as Nigeria should remain as one Nigeria.

“Accordingly, the YCE has pooled-in all shades of thoughts, which show that majority of the Yoruba race feel cheated by the present lop-sided arrangement of the federating powers but they are solidly against going away from the Nigerian arrangement. They would rather go back to the agreement of our founding fathers when the Region administration was autonomous.

“YCE, therefore, stands firmly on the position of the founding fathers, who maintained togetherness but operated independently and contributed their quota to foster administration at the centre. To this extent, we would rather have a restructured Nigeria which will allow states to function independently as part of a whole.

“YCE wants Nigeria to remain one but, like the American arrangement, stay and function administratively devoid of interference by the centre. Let it be known that the strength of the unity lies in the socio-cultural inheritance of each section of the country and these can be deployed through education and efficiency of management. Our great country must rise again and we all will be in it together,” it added.

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