Born on December 26, 1961, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu has been a prominent figure in Nigerian politics. He served as the Governor of Kebbi State from May 2015 until May 2023. Before that, he represented the Kebbi Central constituency as a Senator. With a rich educational background, Bagudu earned a BSc in Economics from Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, an MSc in Economics from the University of Jos, and an M.A. in International Affairs. He is married to Zainab Bagudu, the esteemed former First Lady of Kebbi State.
Bagudu’s political journey includes significant milestones. Following the appointment of Adamu Aliero as the Minister for FCT, Bagudu won the by-election for the Kebbi Central Senatorial seat. He secured victory for the PDP in the April 6, 2011 elections, garnering 173,595 votes. His closest competitor, Adamu Aliero of the CPC, followed with 137,299 votes.
By 2015, Bagudu shifted his allegiance from PDP to the All Progressive Congress (APC), achieving a notable triumph in the Governorship polls. During the 2019 Kebbi State gubernatorial elections, Bagudu led with a staggering 673,717 votes against his PDP rival, Sen. Isah Galaudu, who managed 106,633 votes.
His political ascent continued in 2023 when Bagudu won the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket for the forthcoming Kebbi Central Senatorial elections. Later, on August 16, 2023, President Bola Tinubu appointed him the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning.
However, Bagudu’s career has not been without controversies. He had associations with the infamous Nigerian dictator, Sani Abacha, who was alleged of misappropriating more than $2.2 billion during his tenure in the 1990s. In 2003, Bagudu faced extradition from Houston, Texas, due to allegations of money laundering through a company, Doraville Properties, linked to funds siphoned from Nigeria. While he consented to repatriate $160 million, his return to Nigeria did not result in any legal consequences. By 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice initiated the return of funds stolen by the Abacha regime, implicating Bagudu in the misdeeds. Moreover, in 2020, a collaboration between the U.S., Nigeria, and Jersey sought to recover funds tied to Bagudu and his associates from the Abacha era.
Furthermore, the 2021 Pandora Papers highlighted Bagudu, among other Nigerians, for allegedly sheltering illicit funds in offshore entities.
By placing his profile in the limelight and addressing his controversies, this article seeks to provide a balanced view of Abubakar Atiku Bagudu’s political and personal life.