Former Nigerian vice-president Atiku Abubakar will join the club of Septuagenarians tomorrow.
The former customs officer who became a politician in the 1990s, will turn 70 on Friday, 25 November.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who will be 74 years old in December, has led the way in welcoming Atiku to the club.
In a letter he signed, President Buhari said he was delighted to welcome Alhaji Abubakar “to the 70s club,” and prayed that Allah would grant him “many more years of good health and service to Nigeria.”
The President added: “Over the years, I have admired your courage and doggedness in defending your interests and your generosity in promoting education. The American University in Yola is one of your noble legacies, and my hope and wish is that it will endure.”
President Buhari said both himself and the former Vice President should be grateful to Allah, who has granted them grace to be in the 70s club.
Atiku was born in Jada, Adamawa state in 1946.
He worked in the Nigeria Customs Service for twenty years, rising to become the Deputy Director, as the second highest position in the Service was then known.
He retired in April 1989 and took up full-time business and politics. He ran for the office of Governor in the Gongola State (now Adamawa and Taraba States) in 1991, and for the Presidency in 1993, placing third after MKO Abiolaand Babagana Kingibe in the Social Democratic Party (SDP) primaries.
In 1998 he was elected Governor of Adamawa State.
While still Governor-Elect he was selected by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate Olusegun Obasanjo as his running mate.
The duo went on to win elections in February 1999, and Abubakar was sworn-in as Nigeria’s second democratically elected Vice President on 29 May 1999.
Atiku had his primary education at Jada Primary School. In 1960, he was admitted to the Adamawa Provincial Secondary School in Yola and graduated with a Grade Three WASC/GCE Certificate in 1965.
After a course in hygiene and a diploma in law at Ahmadu Bello University, in Zaria, Atiku joined the Nigerian Customs Service. He spent 29 years, rising to the position of deputy director.
He retired to plunge into politics and the world of business. After a dismal failure running a farm, he had his break in a ports logistics firm first known a NICOTES and later rebranded as Intels. He founded this company with the Italian businessman, Gabrielle Volpi. The late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua was also a shareholder in the business. Intels brought Atiku a lot of wealth.
Atiku is also the founder of American University in Yola, capital of Adamawa state.