Today marks the 10th anniversary of the ascension of Alhaji (Dr) Muhammad Sa‘ad Abubakar III, The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) congratulates His Eminence the Sultan on this august occasion. We also felicitate with the government and good people of Sokoto State, the Sultanate Council and the entire Muslim Ummah in Nigeria and beyond.
We affirm that Nigerian Muslims only began to raise their heads with pride after the current Sultan came on board. Sultan Muhammad Sa‘ad Abubakar III gave Nigerian Muslims purposeful, mature, dynamic and responsible leadership. He shunned armchair leadership and became visible in all parts of the country. We marvel at his managerial skill with which he has mobilized Muslims from all sectors.
A completely detribalized Nigerian, a true bridge-builder and a man of peace, he brought the Muslim Ummah closer to their Christian neighbours. Leading by example, he taught us love, forgiveness, and tolerance. A patriot primus inter pareil, he laid special emphasis on the need for peaceful coexistence in the past ten years of selfless service to his country.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the current Sultan is a great asset to the people of Sokoto, the North and Nigeria as a whole. We therefore charge the Sokoto State Government to give special recognition and a befitting status to Sultan Muhammad Sa‘ad Abubakar III. This can be done by repealing Section 6 Cap 26 of the Laws of Northern Nigeria which empowers the state governor to depose any ruling Sultan.
Without prejudice to the executive powers of the governor of Sokoto State, we contend that since Article 7 (a) of the constitution of the NSCIA confers the leadership of Nigerian Muslims on the Sultan of Sokoto, the latter’s office and status transcends the Sokoto Sultanate. He is the bona fide head of all Muslims in the country. Therefore the deposition of a Sultan has far-reaching implications. Apart from being an embarrassment of no little dimension to Nigerian Muslims, it is capable of causing both religious and constitutional crisis.
As a mark of respect for Nigerian Muslims and in a bid to save the Ummah from such embarrassment and constitutional crisis in future, MURIC calls on members of the Sokoto State House of Assembly to quickly set the machinery in motion for the amendment of the Chieftaincy Laws of Sokoto State. Such amendment should exempt the Sultan from the dethronement clause.
Section 6 Cap 26 is a sword of Damocles dangling on the heads of the entire Nigerian Muslims and Islamic organizations in the country. It must be amended. Sokoto must not kill the goose that lays the golden egg.
As we round up, we commend the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, for the support he has given the Sultan to date. We urge him and other Northern governors to step up their support for the Sultan because every support given to the Sultan boosts the status of Nigerian Muslims in general. We also call on Nigerian Muslims to continue to cooperate with the Sultan in appreciation of the latter’s unequalled and exemplary leadership.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC),
E-mail: [email protected]
Yahoo Group: groups.yahoo.com/group/muslimrights