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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Muslims warn Sokoto Gov against Sultan’s removal

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

Following decision by the Sokoto State Governor, Ahmed Aliyu, to dethrone 15 traditional rulers, the Muslims under the group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) have cautioned the government against initiating any move that will result in removal of Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar.

They said that any thought of dethronement should be jettisoned by the government to avoid a face-off between the government and Muslims across the country.

MURIC stated this on Monday through a statement made available to newsmen after reports emanated that the Sultan was next monarch to be removed after the 15 traditional rulers.

“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 Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).

“Governor Ahmed Aliyu should not force Nigerian Muslims to take a drastically revolutionary measure. 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.

“A military governor, Colonel 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 doubts, 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 Colonel Yakubu Muazu and Ahmed Aliyu for ruining the chances of Sokoto.

“That will make it impossible for any governor to harass or intimidate the leader of Nigerian Muslims. The power and influence of governors over traditional rulers have become absolute and totalitarian in recent time. Nigerian Muslims must be given space to breathe some air of freedom like all other associations.

“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.

“It is arbitrary, irrational and condescending for a state governor to possess the power to dethrone the leader of all Muslims in Nigeria when even an ordinary chairman of a local government cannot sack the president of a campus students union. It is unacceptable. Enough is enough.

“In the same manner, it is tactless, reckless, myopic and senselessly audacious for any governor of Sokoto State who has the power to remove the Sultan of Sokoto and head of all Nigerian Muslims to actually use that power. Well, once bitten, twice shy. Nigerian Muslims travelled this road once, under military rule. We will not ply the same road again.”

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