Former vice president Abubakar Atiku clocks 70 years old today November 25, 2016 amid heavy controversies surrounding his personality and political affiliations.
Atiku, one-time Deputy Director of Nigeria Customs Service, is not new to controversies. Recently, he attacked President Muhammadu Buhari over the achievements of his administration and claimed he (Atiku) had better ideas on how to defeat the Boko Haram insurgents.
[caption id="attachment_1061171" align="alignnone" width="800"] Atiku Abubakar is trailed by controversies in his long political and busines career.[/caption]
In celebration of Atiku’s BIG day, NAIJ.com team has compiled four major controversies associated with Atiku during his tenure as vice president of Nigeria and beyond which have come to define the way Atiku is viewed by many Nigerians.
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1. Made ‘Great’ Obasanjo kneel down
During his time as deputy to former president Olusegun Obasanjo, Atiku is believed to have made the former military general and one-time head of state of Nigeria to kneel down before him.
According to the reports, Obasanjo had wanted to run for a second term and Atiku had wanted to be the next president. Atiku was so adamant that it took physical begging by Obasanjo for him to give in. Atiku has denied severally that Obasanjo prostrated or knelt down before him. However, he admitted that the ex-president begged him profusely at his (Atiku’s) home.
This incident is believed to be a critical watershed in the turn his political career has made since 13 years ago.
[caption id="attachment_1061037" align="alignnone" width="800"] Atiku and Obasanjo are still not friends after working together for eight years in the presidency[/caption]
2. Laundered millions of dollars
There were reports that Atiku reportedly operated a money laundering ring that transferred millions of dollars out of Nigeria through South Africa to the UK while travelling under a diplomatic passport. He was reportedly almost arrested on one of his journeys by Interpol. Atiku has also denied this saying that at no time was he ever accosted.
3.Wanted in the United States of America for fraud
It is said that Atiku is reportedly wanted in the United States of America for fraud. He was said to have connived with one American citizen to commit fraud. While the American has been jailed, Atiku has reportedly avoided stepping into the United States to avoid arrest and prosecution. Kaduna state governor El Rufai and Atiku’s former protégée-turned-enemy recently made this claim. But Atiku has also denied this, arguing that he has not been to the US because his family was no longer living there.
4. Continuous aim for the presidency of Nigeria
Atiku is also known for his controversial and somewhat forceful way of pursuing the desire to be Nigeria’s president. Recall that it was his desire to be president that started his fight with Obasanjo in 2003. In 2007, he also contested for presidency but came third after eventual winner late ex-president Umar Musa Yar’Adua and now president Muhammadu Buhari. He tried again in 2011, vying for PDP ticket against erstwhile president Goodluck Jonathan and lost in the primaries.
In 2015, he tried again but lost at the primaries to President Buhari.
Atiku first tried to be Nigeria’s president 24 years ago in 1992 when he ran in the Social Democratic Party (SDP’s) convention against late MKO Abiola. He stepped down for Abiola.