Why I wrote a book about my life—Atiku Abubakar

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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.
The 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 ahead.
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 future.
I hope our young people will find the story of My Life 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 Abubakar. 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 Kande, 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 time.
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
Sometimes, 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 Abubakar)

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