Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed is a Nigerian economist, entrepreneur, and politician from Kaduna state. From 2003 to 2007, he was a member of the House of Representatives, and from 2011 to 2012, he was the Senator for Kaduna North. He is the founder of Baze University, a private tertiary institution founded in 2011 in Jabi, Abuja. Currently a member of the Labour Party and the running mate of the party’s presidential candidate in the 2023 presidential election, Peter Obi.
Early Life & Education
Datti, Yusuf Baba-Ahmed was born on July 7, 1969, in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria, into the family of Baba-Ahmed. A family had 33 children, 22 of whom are still alive. Over the years, the family has lost its patriarch, as well as 11 sons and daughters. Baba-Ahmed, Yusuf Datti Ahmed’s father, was a Mauritania-born Arab cattle dealer who went on to become a renowned professor and expert on Islamic jurisprudence.
According to Mahadiyya Baba-Ahmed, the family’s surviving eldest sister, they were all born in their family house in Tudun Wada, Zaria, or at the Barewa College in Zaria, Kaduna state. Baba-Ahmed Datti, Yusuf Datti’s father, died on November 5, 1987, at the age of 95.
Yusuf Datti holds four degrees, according to a brief biography on the Baze university website: a BSc and MSc in Economics from the University of Maiduguri, an MBA from the University of Wales, Cardiff, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Westminster, which he completed in 2006.
Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed did his NYSC at the University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Ogun state. He then began to build up his career.
He worked in business and banking for several years after completing his service in Ogun State. He was a Projects Co-ordinator at Baze Research and Data Services Limited and an AS Officer II at the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company in Lagos. He worked as a Banking Officer for First Bank of Nigeria Plc from July 1997 to December 1998.
In July 1999, he returned to Baze Research and Data Services Ltd as Managing Director, and left in January 2003 to pursue a career in politics.
Baba-Ahmed ran for the Federal House of Representatives in April 2003, representing the Zaria Federal Constituency in Kaduna State under the banner of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP). Between 2003 through 2007, he was elected as a member of the House of Representatives.
During former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, he was one of the lawmakers who opposed allowing Obasanjo to run for a third term in 2006. Yusuf Datti insisted that he would not run for reelection unless action was taken to investigate allegations that members were bribed to support the constitutional changes required for a third term in office.
The Nigerian Senate rejected the Constitutional Amendments Bill on May 16, 2006. Obasanjo stepped down from office a year later, on May 29, 2007.
In 2007, Baba-Ahmed filed a lawsuit against the Independent National Electoral Commission over how previous elections were conducted. He left politics in 2007 to return to his Baze business group, and in 2011, he founded Baze University, a private university in Abuja, of which he is currently the pro-chancellor.
Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed returned to politics in 2011 and ran for Senator, winning the Kaduna North Senatorial elections under President Muhammadu Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). In the April 2011 elections for Senator of Kaduna North, Baba-Ahmed received 366,398 votes. Senator Ahmed Makarfi of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) came in second with 365,043 votes.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Candidate Ahmed Makarfi took the election to court, and the electoral tribunal overturned Ahmed’s victory, and he left office in 2012.
Sen. Baba-Ahmed ran for president of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2019, but lost to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. He withdrew from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary election for governorship elections in Kaduna State in 2023 in 2022, claiming his refusal to buy delegates as the reason.
On July 8, 2022, a day after his fifty-third birthday, he was nominated as the Labour Party’s Vice Presidential candidate in the 2023 Nigeria General Election. Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Yusuf Datti, the nominated president’s running mate, said his decision to accept the nomination was motivated by his desire to save Nigeria.
Sen. Yusuf Baba-Ahmed established Baze University in 2011. Baze University is a private tertiary university in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory. The institution provides higher-level education of British standards. When asked why he founded the school, Baba-Ahmed stated that the Nigerian educational system was “appalling.” This inspired the establishment of Baze University, which aims “to contribute to the system’s repair in order for Nigeria to realize its potentials and address various challenges.”
At the time of publication, the university offered 43 undergraduate degree programs, including the Faculty of Law, Management and Social Sciences, Computing and Applied Sciences, and others. Baba-Ahmed currently serves as the Pro-Chancellor of Baze University.
Sen. Yusuf Datti is a talented philanthropist who uses his fortune to benefit others. As part of his CSR endeavors, he built and donated two junior secondary schools with a total capacity of 4,000 students. It is noteworthy that the institutions have already graduated over 6,000 students.
His businesses employ over 1000 people in total, including expatriates and highly skilled professional Nigerians from the Diaspora.
Not so much information is available on Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed’s personal life but it is worth noting that he is married but his wife name is not unveiled yet. Sen. Baba-Ahmed is currently Pro-Chancellor of Baze University, Managing Director, Baze Research & Data Service Ltd, and Chairman, Baze Construction Ltd.