"Abubakar explained his long absence by saying that he left the country to read international relations at Cambridge University."Pxfuel

The former Vice-President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, Atika Abubakar, has rejected rumours he was in Dubai since 2019, instead claiming that he was “finishing his lectures” for a masters degree in international relations at Cambridge.

In 2019, Abubakar lost the presidential election, as the candidate from the PDP (People’s Democratic Party), to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari by over three million votes.

Following the defeat, Abubakar appealed to the Nigerian Supreme Court, declaring the election “the worst in Nigeria’s history” and was rumoured to have fled to Dubai.

On Thursday (25/08), Abubakar explained his long absence by saying that he left the country to read international relations at Cambridge University.

Speaking at a PDP Board of Trustees meeting, he said: “Many people have wondered where I have been since September last year and it became a matter of rumour among many people.

“I want to say that I was away, because I went back to school and I have finished my lectures in May, where I read masters in international relations from Cambridge University.”

He went on to thank “former President Obasanjo for actually recommending me for that course to that university.”

Abubakar’s long absence had been received with a sense of betrayal from those within the PDP.


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Rufus Omeire, the party chairman, accused Abubakar of being “detached”, claiming that it is “very shameful that since he lost the presidential election, he moved to Dubai, abandoning all members of PDP, all the stakeholders, and millions of ordinary Nigerians who voted for him and PDP in 2019.”

After being sworn in as Vice-President in 1999, Abubakar presided over eight years in office. His first term was characterized by his role as Chairman of the National Economic Council and head of the National Council on Privatization.

A believer in educational reform, Abubakar founded the American University of Nigeria in 2005, where students benefited from an ‘American style faculty’, including small class sizes. In 2014, the fifteen escapees of the Chibok school kidnapping (carried out by Boko Haram) were offered scholarships there.

At the PDP Trustees meeting, Abubakar declared his confidence that the party will be back in power in the 2023 elections.