Who is Afraid of the Sultan?


Vice President Kashim Shettima last week hinted at an alleged threat to the office of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, by the agents of the Sokoto State Government.

Speaking at the North-west Peace and Security Summit in Katsina State, Shettima told the state government that the Sultan is an institution that must be guarded and protected, adding that the Sultan goes beyond Sokoto as he represents an idea that belongs to the entire country.

Before Shettima gave this advice, the Executive Director of the Muslim Rights Council (MURIC), Prof. Isiaq Akintola, had raised the alarm that the Sokoto State Government was planning to depose the Sultan. He cited the removal of 15 traditional rulers for various offences by the state governor, Ahmed Aliyu, in April.

But the state government, while responding to Shettima, denied any plan to dethrone the monarch, describing the allegation as false.

However, to confirm that there is no smoke without fire, the Sokoto State House of Assembly has passed the state Emirate Council Amendment Bill through the first and second reading.

The bill, if signed into law, would among others strip the Sultan of powers to appoint kingmakers and will also strip the Sultan of powers to appoint district heads without government approval, among other things.

Though the state Commissioner for Information, Sambo Danchadi, had explained that the law guiding the appointment of traditional rulers in the state had not been changed, the alarm raised by the vice president and MURIC showed that the relationship between the Sultan and the state government is not rosy.

A faceless group had accused the revered monarch of partisanship during the 2023 general election but had provided no evidence to support the allegation.

To avoid incessant mistrusts between state governments and traditional rulers in the states, it is high time traditional rulers insulated themselves from partisan politics and focused on their palace duties and other traditional roles, while the state governors should concentrate on providing good governance and dividends of democracy to the people. Frequent clashes between governors and traditional rulers are unnecessary.

This is why the Sokoto State Government should be circumspect and exercise restraint in dealing with issues concerning the Sultan, given his role as the influential head of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).

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