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Atiku Abubakar legally regularised name from Siddiq Abubakar 50 years ago in Lagos, August 1973 affidavit shows

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) officially smoothened his name from Siddiq Abubakar to Atiku Abubakar, according to a declaration of oath sworn in August 1973 and obtained by Peoples Gazette.

“That in the year 1965, I changed my name to Siddiq Abubakar; That I wish to be known, addressed and called Atiku Abubakar; That all documents bearing my former names remain valid,” Mr Abubakar declared at the Chief Magistrate’s Court Registry in Lagos on August 18, 1973.

The document clarified how the former vice-president was previously known as Atiku Abubakar before he briefly used Siddiq Abubakar and then switched back to Atiku Abubakar, which he has not altered ever since. 

Mr Abubakar was a deputy preventive superintendent with the Nigeria Customs Service in Apapa, Lagos, when he swore to the affidavit before the Chief Magistrate’s Court, Apapa.

Questions about Mr Abubakar’s previous use of Siddiq were recently exhumed by aides and supporters of President Bola Tinubu, who have been looking for ways to shift global attention from the Nigerian leader for engaging in a well-documented pattern of forgery and fictitious claims under oath.

Atiku Abubakar’s affidavit

Mr Tinubu’s supporters have been circulating documents that showed Mr Abubakar took the West African Examination (WAEC) in the 60s using “Siddiq”, in an attempt to discredit the PDP candidate who aims to overturn Mr Tinubu’s victory at the Supreme Court presenting a fake certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission in violation of the Nigerian Constitution.

Mr Abubakar, last Thursday, furnished the apex court with fresh evidence that Mr Tinubu submitted a forged Chicago State University (CSU) certificate to INEC shortly after the school’s registrar Caleb Westberg stated under oath that he could not authenticate the document because the institution did not issue it. 

Additionally, the school assumed the A in Bola A. Tinubu’s name was Ahmed, according to the deposition on October 3, where Mr Westberg was questioned for more than five hours by Mr Abubakar’s attorneys, led by Angela Liu of Chicago-based Dechert LLP. This further fuelled rumours of identity fraud because other documents that belonged to Mr Tinubu showed he answered Bola Adekunle Tinubu.

Even before The Gazette obtained the 1973 affidavit, Mr Abubakar’s supporters had maintained the opposition leader did not do anything wrong, and definitely not on the scale of the president’s widespread contradictions that many categorised as bordering on criminality. 

But Mr Tinubu’s aides accused Mr Abubakar of using another person’s WAEC certificate to enrol in public service, although people of the northern extraction said Siddiq Abubakar was a common usage across the region even until now.

Mr Abubakar retired from the Nigerian Customs Service in 1989, subsequently moving into the private sector while playing key roles in the country’s political journey ever since. 

Mr Abubakar’s supporters also recirculate his photos with his classmates from high school in Adamawa and challenge Mr Tinubu to show a photo of him with his classmates.

In 1999, the Old Students Association of Government College Ibadan cancelled a dinner scheduled in Mr Tinubu’s honour after establishing that he was never a student there, contrary to his claim under oath. 

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