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Amazing Facts I Have Found Out About Atiku Abubakar – Paul Ibe

Paul Ibe

Paul Ibe

Recently in Yola, Adamawa State, MAZI PAUL IBE, head, Atiku Media Office sat down with some journalists for a chat about his boss, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who was marking his 70th birthday and was also being honoured with the Founder’s Day ceremony by the American University of Nigeria, AUN. Publisher /Editor in Chief of Newsdiaryonline, Danlami Nmodu was among those who engaged Paul in the brief interactive session.Excerpts:


In the Beginning

You know before I joined his excellency Atiku Abubakar in 2010 following a career in journalism which culminated in editorship in Thisday, I had( come) to know this country very well.I went to Federal Government College Okigwe in Imo State,values of unity (in diversity) were long established in me.As a journalist,I had travelled the length and breadth of Nigeria.

But for me Atiku Abubakar happens to be a practical postgraduate studies in what it means to be a Nigerian in the midst of the diversity and having observed him at close range, I have seen that this is a man that has matched his words. He truly represents the very best, he personifies the best in what it means to be a Nigerian. His ability to even seek and get talents from bar beyond his enclave puts him in a special role, it defines his person, it underscores the fact that he continues to be a rallying point, and that he looks far beyond his immediate environment to embrace people of other faith, people of other ethnic inclinations, people of opposing views and persuasions. That essentially is the Atiku Abubakar that I have come to know in the last six years or thereabout

Working with Atiku

The truth was that I never wanted to serve a politician.I was interested in the reportage ,in covering politics. I didn’t have the deire,until I had to leave Thisday and the opportunity came for me to work with him.Until then ,I never had a relationship with him. I had interviewed him a couple of times at the height of the third term (crisis during President Obasanjo’s tenure) .I was part of the Thisday team that interviewed him..But when I came on board, because I didn’t know what to expect…But six years have given me a front seat to observe the man and see him in practice.And it has been one of the most rewarding working relationships I have had. It’s been made so easy because of the nature of the man, because of his work ethics.I used to joke with my wife that, the reason why I work with Atiku Abubakar, anytime I send him a memo, wherever he may be, before I even say ah, he has responded.So there is spontaneity and when you work with such a person he makes your day, you realize that yes you enjoy working with him.I enjoy with him.He makes it easy.Wherever he may be whether in the country or elsewhere, he is always available.This morning we exchanged mails..You send him a memo, even if it’s a hundred page memo,he will look at it line by line and he will respond in his.. beautiful handwriting line by line.And anything that he doesn’t know, he will put three question marks.And anything that has further clarifications, he will refer to the persons that probably will answer the questions or the posers that he has raised to those issues. So working with him has been very rewarding.

Atiku’s Large Heart

You know, at times when I reflect and I begin to wonder if the man is human, because there are things that somebody will do and you begin to wonder.I was discussing with somebody yesterday and I said if (some people) had the heart of Atiku, that person (they) will have a heart attack.It’s too big.And you know when your heart is big , it’s a tendency for the medical situation that could lead to heart attack.I have come to realise that it’s not about politics.It’s about the person.This who he is, a life of giving.And it is not about resources.God has endowed us with resources.And Iam not sure that Atiku Abubakar is the most endowed, (but) he is the one that has endowed the most.So it’s a function of his humanity, his ability to recognize that he is blessed and that he is meant to be a blessing to not only his family but to his community.I think that is what drives him,because some of the times I want to project some of the things has done and he has told me clearly in unmistaken terms that I have long received my reward, God has blessed me,and what Iam doing is only a manifestation of the covenant that I have with Him. And to God, like we say be the glory.And that is the man that we are talking about. Never ever unwavering about his commitment to touch lives.

Motivated by Ambition..?

Well let me start from the last, we are all ambitious people.As a reporter, I probably desired to be an editor.As an editor you probably want to be the Editor In Chief or Managing Director.And so as human beings we want to rise in life. And Atiku is a mere mortal like all of us.He is flesh and blood. He has desires and aspirations. But you need to understand his ambition against the backdrop of where the man is coming from. I mean here is a man who keeps talking repeated about how this country has been good to him. He went to school in northern Nigeria where he got free education and so he believes that he has a responsibility to give back to the same society that has given so much to him. He believes that by his training, by his exposure, by his experience, he has garnered skills that put him at an advantageous position to be able to impact on society to transform lives of people…That is legitimate. And if it is done within established rules, there is nothing wrong with it.Even those who say he is ambitious are also ambitious…They are also ambitious to ensure that he doesn’t achieve his own ambition.

Why not remain as statesman, nurturing young leaders

Well there is nothing wrong in nurturing young leaders. You also know that one of the things the Turaki is passionate about is mentorship.But you can’t put forward people who have not been well schooled, well –tutored in the art of leadership….

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