25th November, 2021
Former vice-president Atiku Abubakar clocks 75 today, without the usual goodwill message from President Muhammadu Buhari.
It was not clear whether the presidential snub was a mere omission or deliberate.
Atiku, despite the political difference with Buhari attended the wedding of Buhari’s first son, Yusuf in Bichi, Kano last August.
The last person Buhari celebrated was his chief of staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, who marked 77 years on Wednesday.
And today, Buhari also hailed Prince Arthur Eze, the billionaire businessman from Anambra, who clocks 73.
It is still possible that Buhari’s aides will rush out a statement before the end of the day as 75th birthday is a milestone for any mortal.
But doubts about political correction abound because Buhari usually sends birthday wishes ahead of the celebration.
Atiku was born in Jada, Adamawa state 25 November 1946.
He is now a big businessman involved in multi-businesses, including the media.
After primary and secondary education in Adamawa, Atiku studied a short while at the Nigeria Police College in Kaduna. He left the College when he was unable to present an O-Level Mathematics result.
He then worked briefly as a Tax Officer in the Regional Ministry of Finance, from where he gained admission to the School of Hygiene in Kano in 1966.
He graduated with a Diploma in 1967. The same year, he enrolled for a Law Diploma at the Ahmadu Bello University Institute of Administration, on a scholarship from the regional government.
After graduation in 1969, during the Nigerian Civil War, he was employed by the Nigeria Customs Service.
He retired from the Customs in 1989 and plunged into politics and full time business.
In 1999, Atiku was elected Governor of Adamawa state, but he was picked as President Olusegun Obasanjo’s running mate and became vice-president.
But he had a rocky experience with Obasanjo.
Before 1999, Atiku had also sought to become Nigeria’s President in 1993. But he was beaten to the third place in the nomination race within the Social Democratic Party by MKO Abiola and Babagana Kingibe.
His other attempts at gaining the Number one spot has also ended in failure.
He was a presidential candidate of the Action Congress in the 2007 presidential election. He ran third to Umaru Yar’Adua of the PDP and Muhammadu Buhari of the ANPP.
He contested the presidential primaries of the People’s Democratic Party during the 2011 presidential election and lost out to President Goodluck Jonathan.
In 2014, he joined the All Progressives Congress ahead of the 2015 presidential election and contested the presidential primaries and lost to Muhammadu Buhari.
In 2017, he returned to the Peoples Democratic Party and was the party’s presidential candidate during the 2019 presidential election.
He again lost President Muhammadu Buhari.
Atiku has his eyes on the 2023 election, when he will be 77.