Abdulsalami Abubakar, otherwise known as General AAA or Triple ‘A’ for short the former military head of state is celebrating 74 years today, June 13.
It was during Abubakar’s leadership that Nigeria adopted its new constitution on 5 May 1999, which provided for multiparty elections.
He is one man who was quite concerned about the trend of events and what fate had in stock for Nigeria.
Before the 2015 elections, he was worried about what becomes of the country before, during and after the elections, which was why he was involved in efforts to calm frayed nerves across the country.
His passionate commitment towards ensuring peace helped the country to successfully navigate landmines that political interests had erected at various points.
His headship of a national peace committee that brokered the non-violence agreement between former President Goodluck Jonathan and the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, through which the two most prominent gladiators in the 2015 presidential election, agreed to rein in their supporters in the event of anyone of them losing the election, was not by accident.
Below are 9 things to know about the former military ruler:
1. Abubakar hails from the Hausa ethnic group and was born on 13 June 1942 in Minna, Niger State.
2. He attended Native Authority Primary School, Niger state, Provincial Secondary School in Bida, and Technical Institute, Kaduna state.
4. He is married to Fati Lami Abubakar and they are blessed with six children.
5. He established the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 1998.
6. He enlisted first into the Airforce but quickly switched to the army. He received his formal military training in the United States.
7. Abubakar was appointed commander of the 3rd Mechanized Brigade in Kano between 1969 and 1979. He also served as a Nigerian contingent to the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon between 1981 and 1982 after which he was promoted to colonel in August 1984. Later, he was appointed General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division, Enugu, and became a member of the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC).
8. The former head of state has received multiple honours, including the Rainbow/Push Coalition Peace Prize, the Economic Community of West African States International Gold Medal, and the Star Award of Ghana.
9. He is one of the few generals in the Nigerian army who rose to the top without holding political office. He has held only command and military positions, and has, in general, stayed out of the political limelight.