Abubakar Atiku Bagudu is a prominent Nigerian politician who has held various positions of power and influence in the country. From serving as the Governor of Kebbi State to his current role as the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Bagudu’s political career has been marked by both achievements and controversies. This profile provides a detailed look at his life, education, political career, and involvement in corruption investigations.
Abubakar Atiku Bagudu’s Life and Education
Born on December 26, 1961, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu hails from a wealthy family. His father was the director of Primary Education in Kebbi State, which likely influenced his early exposure to the political landscape. Bagudu pursued his higher education at prestigious institutions, obtaining a BSc in Economics from Usmanu Danfodiyo University in Sokoto. He furthered his academic pursuits with an MSc in Economics from the University of Jos and an MA in International Affairs.
Bagudu’s political career gained momentum in 2009 when he succeeded Adamu Aliero as the senator representing the Kebbi Central senatorial district. He won the by-election for the seat following Aliero’s appointment as the Minister for FCT in December 2008. Bagudu continued his political journey, winning the 2011 elections for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with a significant margin of votes.
In a significant move, Bagudu switched his allegiance from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the 2015 general elections. He contested in the governorship election and emerged victorious, becoming the Governor of Kebbi State. Bagudu’s tenure as governor, spanning from 2015 to 2023, witnessed notable achievements in the development of the state.
Bagudu’s Ministerial Role and Recent Elections
Abubakar Atiku Bagudu currently serves as the Minister of Budget and National Planning, a position he was appointed to by President Bola Tinubu on August 16, 2023. In this role, Bagudu plays a crucial role in shaping and implementing the country’s economic policies and plans.
Bagudu’s political ambitions did not end with his ministerial appointment. He contested for the 2023 Kebbi Central Senatorial election under the APC ticket but was unsuccessful in securing the seat. His rival, Adamu Aliero, who had previously moved from the APC to the PDP, emerged as the winner.
Involvement in Corruption Investigations
Abubakar Atiku Bagudu’s association with former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha has been a subject of scrutiny and controversy. Abacha was accused of embezzling billions of dollars of public funds during his presidency in the 1990s. Bagudu was named as a co-conspirator in multiple investigations related to the corruption that occurred during the Abacha regime.
In 2003, Bagudu was arrested and extradited from Houston, Texas, at the request of Jersey authorities. He had set up a shell company called Doraville Properties to launder funds stolen from Nigeria. Bagudu eventually reached a settlement, agreeing to return $160 million of stolen money in exchange for deportation to Nigeria to face trial. Despite evidence from legal authorities in the U.S., Jersey, and Switzerland, Bagudu was never questioned upon his return to Nigeria.
In 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the repatriation of $480 million stolen by Sani Abacha and his co-conspirators, including Bagudu. The U.S. government alleged that they embezzled, misappropriated, and extorted billions of dollars from the Nigerian government and laundered their criminal proceeds through U.S. financial institutions.