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Sokoto Gov’s plot to depose Sultan exposed. MURIC raises the alarm, warns of dire consequences

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Sokoto Gov’s plot to depose Sultan exposed. MURIC raises the alarm, warns of dire consequences

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An Islamic group, Muslim Rights Concern, on Monday, raised the alarm over alleged plan by Sokoto State Governor Ahmed Aliyu to depose the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III.

MURIC Executive Director, Prof. Isiaq Akintola, made this allegation in a statement on Monday following the controversy and tension being generated over the deposition of some Emirs in Kano State by Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf.

The Sokoto Governor, Aliyu had earlier deposed 15 traditional rulers for various offences.

Akintola in his statement said Nigerian Muslims reject any plan by anyone to depose the Sultan.

The MURIC statement read, “Feelers in circulation indicate that the Governor may descend on the Sultan of Sokoto any moment from now using any of the flimsy excuses used to dethrone the 15 traditional rulers whom he removed earlier.

“MURIC advises the Governor to look before he leaps. The Sultan’s stool is not only traditional. It is also religious. In the same vein, his jurisdiction goes beyond Sokoto. It covers the whole of Nigeria. He is the spiritual head of all Nigerian Muslims.

“Therefore, any governor who tampers with the stool of the Sultan will have Nigerian Muslims to reckon with because the Sultan combines the office of the Sultan of Sokoto and that of the President General of the NSCIA.”

Akintola warned that Governor Aliyu should not force Nigerian Muslims to take any drastic revolutionary measure.

The MURIC boss noted that having a traditional ruler as leader has been a condition Nigerian Muslims accepted a long time ago as a necessary weakness in the structure which they have to live with.

According to him, “A military governor, Col. Yakubu Muazu, exposed this soft underbelly when he deposed Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki on 20th April, 1996. Nigerian Muslims will be forced to make a hard decision if Sokoto governors continue to diminish the authority of the Sultan.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, Sultan Muhammad Sa’d Abubakar is not only the Sultan of Sokoto but the Sultan of the Nigerian people. His performance and style of leadership have warmed him into the hearts of Nigerians.

“Nigerian Muslims North and South of the country may be constrained to pick Islamic scholars only as President General of the NSCIA and overall leader of Nigerian Muslims.

“It will be farewell to the leadership of traditional rulers over the NSCIA and an irreversible departure from Sokoto’s priviledged leadership position. But history will not be kind to Col. Yakubu Muazu and Ahmed Aliyu for ruining the chances of Sokoto.

“Once is happenstance, twice is a coincidence, the third time is enemy action. If the deposition of a Sultan and NSCIA leader happens a second time, Nigerian Muslims will not allow the embarrassment to happen a third time.

“MURIC reiterates its call on the Sokoto State House of Assembly to either repeal or review the state’s chieftaincy laws by adding the phrase ‘except the Sultan of Sokoto’ to Section 6, Cap 26 of the Laws of Northern Nigeria which empowers the state governor to depose the emirs, including the Sultan.

“We urge Northern elites and Islamic scholars based in the North to intervene before it is too late. This is the time to lobby the Sokoto State House of Assembly and the Governor himself. If the chieftaincy laws of Kano State can be repealed within 24 hours, nothing stops that of Sokoto State from being reviewed in favour of immunity for the office of the Sultan in a single day to save Nigerian Muslims from humongous embarrassment.”

Sokoto State Government has yet to react to MURIC’s allegation.

Earlier, the state government had said there was a plan to amend Section 76 of the Local Government and Chieftaincy Law to align with prevailing practices within the state.

Under the current law, the authority to appoint district and village heads lies with the Sultanate Council.

But in practice, the Sultanate Council merely provides recommendations to the state government, with the governor ultimately making the appointments.

Sokoto State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Nasir Binji had clarified that the proposed amendment is aimed at synchronising the legal framework with the customary procedure in the state.

Binji while addressing journalists after a State Executive Council meeting, explained that under the proposed amendment, the Sultanate Council would retain the power to recommend candidates, while the authority to appoint would be vested in the Governor.

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