PROFILE: Baba-Ahmed, Zaria-born politician who opposed Obasanjo’s third term program

A few weeks ago, when Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed pulled out as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) hopeful in the Kaduna gubernatorial race, saying the primary process was “inconsistent” with his goal of being in politics, few things did. he knows he would become the running mate for one of the leading presidential contenders in the 2023 general election.

Labor Party (LP) presidential candidate Peter Obi on Friday unveiled Baba-Ahmed as his running mate for the 2023 general election. had chosen Baba-Ahmed after a series of consultations because of his background in the private and public sectors.

Obi said Baba-Ahmed is eminently qualified and “fits the bill” of what he wants to achieve when he becomes Nigeria’s president.

But who exactly is Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed?

BORN INTO A LARGE FAMILY OF 33 CHILDREN

Datti was born in Zaria, Kaduna State in 1969 into a large family of 33 children. Baba Ahmed, his father, was an Arab cattle dealer from Mauritania who was said to be a professor and expert in Islamic jurisprudence.

Datti did his secondary education at the Air Force Military School in Jos, Plateau State and then proceeded to the University of Maiduguri in Borno State where he graduated a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in economics. He then obtained an MBA from the University of Wales in Cardiff and in 2006 he successfully completed his doctoral studies at the University of Westminster in London.

He held various positions, including as project coordinator at Baze Research and Data Services Ltd. as well as Officer II of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company, Lagos. He also worked as a banking officer with First Bank of Nigeria Plc from July 1997 to December 1998. He then became Managing Director of Baze Research and Data Services Ltd from July 1999 to January 2003, before entering politics.

In 2011, he established Baze University, a private higher education institution located in Abuja. In building the university, the founder said he sold almost everything he owned and mortgaged others. According to Baba-Ahmed, he was inspired to establish the university because of the “appalling” state of the Nigerian education system and he hopes to “help fix the system so that Nigeria realizes its potential and overcomes various challenges”.

INCURSION INTO POLITICS

Although many young Nigerians are meeting the LP vice-presidential candidate for the first time, Baba-Ahmed is not new to politics. His political journey began in 2003 when he was elected to the House of Representatives from Zaria Federal Constituency, Kaduna on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).

As a lawmaker, he opposed President Obasanjo’s third term program. According to him, this was his most memorable moment in the lower house. “My success was the defeat or rather the withdrawal of the third term attempt by the then government,” he said in an interview.

In 2011, he won the Kaduna North senatorial seat under the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), but his victory was overturned in 2012 by the court following a complaint filed by then-PDP candidate Ahmed Makarfi , who was the closest challenger. in the election.

In 2018, Baba-Ahmed also contested the PDP presidential ticket but lost after securing five votes, while the winner – Atiku Abubakar – received 1,532 votes.

Prior to his announcement as the LP vice-presidential candidate, Baba-Ahmed previously wished to run for the Kaduna governorship under the PDP in the 2023 general election. He, however, withdrew from the race. According to him, the process did not correspond to his political ideals.

A PHILANTHROPIC

While Baba-Ahmed’s career in academia and politics is perhaps his most significant, there are other parts of him that are not yet in the public spotlight. Baba-Ahmed is also a known philanthropist who engages in corporate social responsibility projects. He is credited with building and donating two junior high schools in Zaria that can accommodate around 4,000 students.

In 2015, Baba-Ahmed was named Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the Hope Alive Foundation of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) – an organization that advocates for the economic survival after service of corps members who have suffered. permanent disability during service.

“NIGERIA NEEDS PEOPLE LIKE ME IN POWER”

In an interview with Daily Trust in February, Baba-Ahmed said he had “never been a politician” and joined politics because the country needed people like him.

He added that the Nigerian trend where promises diverge from results and where politicians lack employable skills outside of politics is “a very dangerous trend”.

“I am just a normal Nigerian citizen in character, enterprise, creation and nature. I have never been a politician. I am in politics all the way to become a presidential candidate just because Nigeria needs people like me,” he said.

“Whenever I see a discrepancy between promises and results, I worry. There is a serious discrepancy between what your Nigerian politicians are telling the world as it happened in 2014-15 and what they have accomplished.

BUHARI CRITICISM AND ANTI-CORRUPTION LAWYER

He may be from the same geopolitical zone as President Muhammadu Buhari, but Baba-Ahmed wouldn’t spare the president a few whiplashes. According to the Kaduna-born politician, the president failed to live up to expectations and broke most of his promises. He also accused the Buhari administration of embracing corruption.

He once said that a second presidential term would destroy the country and destabilize the rest of Africa.

“Running a complex federation like Nigeria is about more than exploiting feelings and divisions among the people. There is nothing more dangerous than a leader who encourages religious bigotry. There is nothing worse than exploiting mass illiteracy and lack of political awareness,” he said. in an interview.

“What Buhari’s government has done is destroy Nigeria’s fragile economy and allow insecurity to take on new dimensions. I’m not at all impressed with almost everything about Buhari’s government, not just the one-sidedness. And I, like almost all Nigerians, am surprised at how disappointed we are in Buhari. Buhari’s failure is a classic case where some politicians can say and do anything to get to power.

While a lawmaker, Baba-Ahmed sponsored the Inflated Government Contracts Prohibition Bill of 2004 in a bid to curb corruption in public institutions. Furthermore, he is said to have openly supported the bill to criminalize same-sex unions in the country.

Overall, Baba-Ahmed believes that being in charge of the affairs of the country will provide him with the opportunity to make exploits in major sectors.

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