Atiku Abubakar Wealth: How Atiku Abubakar Made His Money
How did a poor Kojoli boy become a national political figure with hundreds of thousands of Nigerians working for him? Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is one of the wealthiest politicians Nigeria has ever known in the Nigerian political industry. His lifelong presidential ambition, which began in 1992, has kept him in the public eye and earned him a reputation as a wealthy man.
Nigerians generally believe that politics is a get-rich-quick scheme for politicians because many of them clearly did not have traceable income sources prior to entering politics. With his sixth bid for Nigeria’s presidency set to be decided at the polls on February 25, 2023, it’s important to ask how Atiku accumulated his wealth.
How did a poor boy from Kojoli, a small village in Adamawa State’s Jada Local Government Council, become a national political figure employing hundreds of thousands of Nigerians?
Atiku’s alleged financial history dates back to the early 1960s when he was a 15-year-old secondary school student. After his father died, he found work at Ganye Native Authority as a clerk during the holidays to help support his family.
With his earnings, Atiku purchased a mud house for his mother in Ganye, Jada’s headquarters. It cost him about nine pounds sterling, he claims.
Atiku was recruited by the Federal Civil Service Commission in 1969 while studying for a Diploma in Law and assigned to the Idi-Iroko border station in Ogun State.
His primary responsibility as a customs officer was to collect duties on imported and exported goods, as well as to arrest and prosecute smugglers. However, he claims that instead of simply seizing goods and extorting money from their owners, he made money for the government.
The Source of Atiku Abubakar Wealth
He also started a transportation company with four pickup vans purchased on a hire-purchase agreement from SCOA Nigeria Plc. Female traders were transported from Ajase, a town in the Republic of Benin, to Lagos using four vehicles.
Atiku began investing in real estate in 1974. At the time, the customs officer, who earned around N500 per month, applied for and was granted a Federal Staff Housing loan.
“The loan, which amounted to N31,000, was the equivalent of my salary for five years. I was granted a plot of land by the Gongola State Government at Yola Government Reserved Area (GRA),” Atiku said in an interview.
He used the loan to build his first home, a bungalow, which he rented out. He used the rent to purchase another plot and construct a second house.
“I continued to plow back the rent into the building of new houses and within a few years, I had built eight houses in choice areas of Yola. I also built a new house for my mother and rebuilt the old mud house,” he said.
His property investments were so profitable that he acquired more plots of land and built more houses in Yola, Kaduna, and Abuja within six years.
Later, in order to strengthen his building business, he founded Prodeco Engineering, a construction company that also provided civil and infrastructure engineering solutions.
In the 1980s, Atiku transitioned from property investment to the oil and gas industry, which he regards as his most profitable venture.
Following his transfer from Ibadan to Apapa in 1982, Atiku met Gabriel Volpi, an Italian businessman, and they co-founded an oil and gas logistics company.
They established the Nigeria Container Services (NICOTES), which initially operated from a container office at Apapa Ports. As the company expanded, it was relocated to the Federal Lighter Terminal in Port Harcourt.
NICOTES grew into Integrated and Logistics Services (INTELS), a multibillion-naira enterprise that employs over 15,000 people in Nigeria and other African countries.
Atiku and his second wife, Ladi, founded ABTI Nursery and Primary School in Yola in 1992. Following this, they established ABTI Academy, an elite high school with boarding facilities modeled after British public schools.
The school was followed by the establishment of ABTI-American University in Yola, which is now known as the American University of Nigeria (AUN). Students are given an American-style university education at the school.
AUN is currently one of Nigeria’s most expensive private universities. Tuition fees at the institution range between N2 million and N3 million per session, depending on the course of study.
Atiku stated in a 2014 Facebook post that he started farming in 1981 and that his farms eventually overtook other corn producers in Gongola, which later became Adamawa State. There are rumors that the company failed to succeed and was eventually forced to close its doors in 1986.
Despite the fact that Atiku now ranks among the wealthiest politicians in Nigeria thanks to these sources of income, he is still the subject of corruption claims. Whatever the charge, the former vice-president of Nigeria can point to the aforementioned businesses as his sources of income.
ALSO READ: How Bola Tinubu made his money and How Peter Obi made his money.
Report Credit: Pulse Nigeria