Iya Abubakar was born December 14, 1934. He is a Nigerian politician and mathematician who was Federal Minister of Defence during the Second Republic of
Nigeria, and senator for Adamawa North from May 1999 to May 2007.
Iya Abubakar was educated at Barewa College, Ibadan University College (later to become the University of Ibadan) and earned a doctorate at the University of Cambridge. He worked as a visiting professor at the University of Michigan in 1965 until 1966, before being appointed Professor of Mathematics at Ahmadu Bello University at the age of 28, in 1967. He held this post until 1975, and he was a visiting professor at the City University of New York from 1971 to 1972. In 1975, he was appointed rector of the Ahmadu Bello University, a position he held until 1978.
He is an Outstanding Legislator, seasoned University administrator, brilliant scholar and internationally renowned Mathematician. Holding the degree of Bachelor of Science with First Class Special Honours in Mathematics from the University of Ibadan and the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Mathematics from the University of Cambridge, UK, In his three year study at the University of Ibadan, he won the annual prize for the best student in the Department of Mathematics every year and on graduation the prize for the best graduating student in the faculty of science. He is the first person in the Northern States of Nigeria to earn the degree of Ph.D in any subject.
He started his academic career as Research Assistant in the seismological Laboratory of the famous California Institute of Technology Pasadena, USA, and on his return to Nigeria he joined the service of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, as Lecturer in Mathematics and rose to the post of Professor of Mathematics. He became Head of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at the age of thirty two years ? a record in the Nigerian University system. While in the service of the Ahmadu Bello University, he became its Vice-Chancellor before retiring in 1979.
On retirement, he ventured to politics and was one of the founders of the National Party of Nigeria (N.P.N) and was elected one of the National Vice Chairmen of the Party.
He held various posts in several Federal and state Government Parastatals and has been Chairman of the National Manpower Board and Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of councils of the University of Ibadan and the University of Abuja. In the organized private sector, he served on the Boards of directors of several notable Companies.
Iya Abubakar was director of the Central Bank of Nigeria between 1972 and 1975.
After the regime of Olusegun Obasanjo handed over power to an elected government in 1979, Abubakar was appointed Federal Minister of Defence, holding this position until 1982. From 1993-2005, he was the Pro-Chancellor and President of the Council of the University of Ibadan. In late 1990, he served as director of the National Mathematical Centre in Abuja and chaired both the National Commission on Human Resources of Nigeria and the nongovernmental Africa International Foundation for Science and Technology.
Iya Abubakar was elected senator for the northern district of Adamawa State, Nigeria at the start of the Fourth Republic of Nigeria, running on the platform of the people Democratic Party (PDP) Adamawa. He took office on May 29, 1999. He was re-elected in April 2003. After taking his seat in the Senate in June 1999, he was appointed to the committees on Public Accounts, Banking and Currency (Chairman), Trade and Finance and Approprition. Abubakar has also chaired the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriation and the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, named its Computer Centre, which he had started, “IYA ABUBAKAR COMPUTER CENTRE” and Bauchi State Government named the IT Centre built with US Aid to service the North-East Zone, ?IYA ABUBAKAR RESOURCE CENTRE?.
Professor Abubakar joined the Services of the National Mathematical Centre, Abuja in 1992.
He was presented with the Honourary Degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Honourary Degree of Doctor of Science Honoris causa, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Honourary Degree of Science Honoris Causa, University of Ibadan; a recipient of the Award for excellence of the Nigerian institute of Physics; a recipient of the Presidential Gold Medal Awarded to the Fifty most Outstanding Nigerians at the Fiftieth Anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence on 1st October, 2010; a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications of the United Kingdom; a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society of the United Kingdom; a Fellow of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS); a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science; a Fellow of the New York Academy of Science; and the Galadima of Mubi.