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Islam and Peace Building in West Africa (1) Imperatives of knowledge, justice & anti-corruption, by Sultan Abubakar

But for his position as a foremost traditional ruler in Nigeria, Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar of Sokoto, mni, CFR, (he is the President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs [NSCIA]) could as well just pass for an intellectual – without prejudice to his military background.

In this paper he presented at the Samuel L. and Elizabeth Jodidi Annual Lecture At Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Havard University, Cambridge, MA USA, last Monday, October, 3, 2011, his highness discusses the role of Islam in nation building, the values the religion brings and the prospects for peace and prosperity in the event that leaders and the led appreciate the significance of those values.

The Sultan also discusses the progress made so far in enthroning peace in a sub-region of clashing ethno-religious and political interests.  Excerpts:

The search for sustainable peace, at all critical levels of our collective existence, remains one of the major challenges we face in the twenty first century. Today, more than ever before, we stand on the threshold of great opportunities.

Developments in various fields of human endeavor have made it easy to accumulate vast knowledge on peoples and cultures and to communicate this knowledge in ways never imagined before, with the real promise of bringing better understanding between us all.

Scientific breakthroughs have also made it possible to achieve human development at an unprecedented scale and to enhance the welfare and wellbeing of each and every one of us.

But these opportunities also come with great dangers – and these dangers have already begun to manifest themselves in ways that leave us with much to worry about. Bigotry and hatred are being elevated to a new pedestal and spread with relish and impunity.

Protracted conflicts, threats of war and the rise of extremism and militancy, from all sides of the socio-religious divide, have become the reality of our daily lives in many parts of the world. Regrettably, a significant portion of the world’s population still wallow in abject poverty and neglect, thereby fuelling the vicious cycles of conflict, violence and instability that we are now all too familiar with.

As a military officer and diplomatic representative, I have seen the devastation of war, not only in West Africa, but in Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the world. I have witnessed the desperate cries of widows and orphans and the exasperation of bewildered families desperately struggling to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives.

As the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs; as well as the Co-Chair of the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council [NIREC], I have also seen the pain and suffering which ethnic polarization and religious misunderstanding could bring to a nation and its people; how ego and bigotry could conspire to deprive people of their rationality and good judgment and how religious leaders could set aside the teachings of their scriptures to lend a helping hand to these sectarian crises.

But during all these, I have also seen how people of goodwill could make a world of difference; how the right word at the appropriate time could heal an old wound; how a little help to those in distress could rekindle hope in our common humanity and how people of virtue, courage and determination could set aside their fears and misgivings to work together to re-establish and strengthen the bases of mutual co-existence within their diverse communities.

It is only appropriate for me to address you on Islam and Peace-Building in West Africa, and particularly in my home country, Nigeria, with the real hope that in our individual and collective efforts, we can contribute our little quota towards the realization of the Jodidi vision of promoting “tolerance, understanding and goodwill among nations and the peace of the world.”

HISTORICAL LEGACIES

From the available records, Islam is more than a millennium old in West Africa. However, it was not until the mid-eleventh century that it began to emerge as a State Religion. According to Al-Bakri, A historian of the rigion, it was the Kingdom of Takrur, which acquired this status, followed half a century later by the Kingdom of Kanem under the Sayfawa.

By the 12th century Ghana had become Islamized, Mali emerged in the 14th century, to be taken over by Songhai in the 16th century, which hosted the Sankore University in Timbuktu, the first University in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Islamization of the Hausa States of Northern Nigeria began in earnest from the second half of the fourteenth century. Islam had become well-established by the turn of the seventeenth century.

The establishment of Islam in West Africa had always been predicated on a multi-ethnic and multi-racial basis.

HOW THE CALIPHATE TRANSFORMED ISLAM

The emergence of the Sokoto Caliphate in the early years of the nineteenth century, led by the erudite scholar, Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio, brought a drastic transformation of the Islamic scene in West Africa. The Sokoto Caliphate was a political as well as an intellectual revolution.

Politically, it initiated an extensive process of state formation which spanned across several states in Western and Central Africa. The political legacies of the Caliphate could be found in present-day Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad and the Republic of Cameroon.

Intellectually, the Caliphate also succeeded in putting scholars at the helm of public affairs. As true intellectuals, they had to argue their way through almost every major decision they took and had the time and foresight to record their thoughts, ideas and the justification of their actions for posterity.

The Sokoto Triumvirate, namely Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio, Shaykh Abdullahi Ibn Fodio and Shaykh Muhammad Bello, authored over 300 books and pamphlets. Other Caliphate leaders were also prolific writers. Nana Asma’u alone wrote over 70 poems and tracts.

ENTHRONEMENT OF VALUES

But despite these impressive achievements, probably one of the Caliphate’s most enduring legacies had been in the area of values. I have drawn attention to this issue in both my lectures at Columbia University, New York, on 7th November, 2007 and at Oxford University, Oxford, England on 25 March, 2008.

It is my firm belief that these values, when properly understood and applied, would greatly aid our West African polities in evolving a dynamic and responsive governance framework and in providing a veritable yardstick by which political behavior and action could be assessed.

KNOWLEDGE AS BASIS FOR EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP

The first category of values raised by the Sokoto Caliphate leaders was that associated with knowledge as the basis for effective leadership. Ignorance has no business with leadership and ignorant people shall have no business in governance.

In the emphatic words of Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio, “A man without learning is like a country without inhabitants. The finest [qualities] in a leader in particular and in people in general, are the love of learning, the desire to listen to it and holding the bearer of knowledge in great respect….. If a leader is devoid of learning, he follows his whims and leads his subjects astray, like a riding beast with no halter, wandering off the path and perhaps spoiling what it passes over.

For a leader has set himself up to deal with people’s natures, to settle their disputes and undertake their government.  All that requires outstanding learning, keen insight and extensive study. How would he get on if he had not made the necessary preparations and made himself ready for these matters…..” [Bayan Wujub al-Hijra]

Sultan Muhammad Bello, on his part, considered knowledge as an essential quality even for those who work with the Amir. For this is essential to suppress mediocrity and ensure effective management of public affairs.

“If God wishes people good he gives leadership to the best of them. He also grants them those who would help them. Such leaders would lead the community in the right path and put matters in correct places. They would seek the advice of people who have the requisite ideas in solving problems.

They would also find powerful, knowledgeable and experienced people to help in their different spheres. Such leaders would advance people who deserve promotion and hold back those who do not merit advancement.” [Ifadat al-Ikhwan]

PRIMACY OF JUSTICE IN THE POLITY

The second category of values which I wish to bring to your attention is the primacy of Justice as the basis of good governance. Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio, the leader of the Sokoto Caliphate, had always believed that “seeing to the welfare of the people is more effective than the use of force.”

According to Shaykh Uthman, “the crown of the leader is his integrity, his strong-hold is his impartiality and his wealth is [the prosperity] of his people.” Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio was equally emphatic on how injustice compromises the integrity of governance and ultimately destroys the state.

“One of the swiftest ways of destroying a state is to give preference to one particular group over another or to show favor to one group of people rather than another and draw near those who should be kept away and keep away those who should be drawn near…. Other practices destructive to sovereignty are arrogance and conceit which take away virtues.

There are six qualities which cannot be tolerated in a leader: lying, envy, breach of promise, sharpness of temper, miserliness and cowardice. Another is the seclusion of the leader from his people, because when the oppressor is sure that the oppressed person will not have access to the ruler, he becomes more oppressive… A state can endure with unbelief but it cannot endure with injustice.” [Bayan Wujub al-Hijra]

ANTI-CORRUPTION IN PUBLIC AFFAIRS

The third category of values is that dealing with the fight against corruption especially in the management of public affairs. Shaykh Abdullahi Ibn Fodio puts the Caliphate’s position in clear and unambiguous terms:

“A ruler is forbidden to touch property acquired unjustly, such as through bribes obtained for appointing a judge or any other officer. The use of such property is unanimously regarded as illegal. It corrupts the Religion and opens the door wide to abuses and oppression of the poor.

For the officials may feel that since money was obtained from them as a reward for appointing them to office, they in turn must recover it from the common people.

Another thing agreed upon as illegal is the collection of bribes on behalf of the leader or other officials like the judges and other employees…. It is also illegal to accept gifts from the common people. For such action is the door leading to all types of calamities. When a gift finds its way to a man in authority, justice and goodness will find their way out of him…..”[Diya’al-Hukkam]

It is also the view of the Sokoto Caliphate leaders that those charged with authority must strive to shun corrupt practices and lead by example. In the words of Sultan Muhammad Bello,

“Leaders are like a spring of water and officials are like water-wheels. If the spring is pure, the filth of the water-wheels cannot harm it. If, on the other hand, the spring is polluted, the purity of the water-wheel will have little effect [on the purity of the water].” [Usul al-Siyasa]

DIGNITY OF LABOUR

The fourth category of values relates to the dignity of labor and indeed the responsibility of government to provide the enabling environment that would allow people to make a decent living. In the words of Sultan Muhammad Bello,

“……Guard yourself against poverty by lawful earning, because every poor man is afflicted by three defects: religious weakness, feeble mindedness and loss of honor. Worse than this is the contempt in which he is held by people….There are two assets which, as long as you safeguard them, you will remain alright:

Your earnings for your livelihood and your religion for your hereafter…..The recommendable earning is better than supererogatory worship, the benefit of which is confined to the worshipper alone, whereas the benefit of the recommended earnings extend to others.”[Ahkam al-Makasib]

INFRASTRUCTURE

On the role of government in providing a conducive environment, Sultan Muhammad Bello also had this to say:

“The sixth principle [of Governance] is that the Governor should provide public amenities for the people of his state for their temporal and religious benefit. For this purpose, he shall foster the artisans and be concerned with tradesmen who are indispensable to the people…… and all sorts of trades which contribute to stabilize the proper order of the world.

The ruler must allocate these tradesmen to every locality. He should urge his people to seek foodstuff and keep it for future use. He must keep every locality in prosperity, construct fortresses and bridges, maintain markets and roads and realize for them all what are of public interest so that the proper order of their world may be maintained…”[Usul al-Siyasa]

UPLIFTING WOMEN THROUGH EDUCATION FOR GROWTH

The fifth and final category of values, which I wish to bring to your attention, is the uplifting of the status of women, especially through Education. The Sokoto Caliphate leaders, as erudite scholars, lived by the percepts they preached and ensured that their wives and daughters and all others associated with them were educated to the highest standards the society could offer.

Many of these women, including Nana Asma’u, became leaders in their own right and played an active role in the political arena.  Equally importantly, Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio’s pronouncements, made in the very early part of the nineteenth century, could not be more categorical:

“One of the great calamities which have afflicted Hausaland is the practice of many of its scholars in abandoning their wives, daughters and servants in a state of ignorance. They are left like animals without any effort to teach them….. This is a grave mistake and a prohibited innovation.

They treat them like utensils which they put to use, but when broken, get thrown into the dustbin. What a strange behavior! How could they leave their wives, daughters and servants in the darkness of ignorance and astray, while educating their students morning and evening. This is just for their selfish interest and for show and ostentation.

“O Muslim women, do not heed the calls of those misguided folk who deceive you into obeying your husbands without ordaining you to obey Allah and His Messenger.

They kept on saying that the salvation of the woman lies in obeying her husband, merely to attain their aims with you and to satisfy their lust……. And they over-burden you with what Allah and His Messenger never ordained you to do at all, such as cooking, washing clothes and similar chores, principally for their personal comfort, without asking you what Allah and His Messenger ordained you to do….”[Nurul Albab]

NIGERIA’S ISLAMIC SCENE

Nigeria’s Islamic scene is both a product of its pre-colonial and colonial past as well and of current realities of Nigeria’s contemporary life. Muslims number over 80 million, contributing extensively to the intellectual, political and socio-economic life of the nation.

Islamic practice in Nigeria is based essentially on the Maliki School of Law, with the influences of Shafi’I and Hanbali schools coming essentially from younger scholars who studied in the Middle East. Besides the intellectual influences of the Sokoto Caliphate, mention must be made of the Bornuan Intellectual traditions, centered around the study of the Holy Qur’an. Sufis, essentially from the Qadiriyya and Tijjaniyya orders; and Salafis, constitute the major Islamic groups.

In the past few decades we have also seen the emergence of the Shi’a as well as modernist Islamic groups, which tend to focus on Islamic institutional development.

Islam has contributed immensely in building a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society in Nigeria. The Nigeria’s Muslim Ummah is the classic melting pot, bringing ethnicities and races from different parts of the West African sub-region and beyond, pursuing their legitimate business and contributing to the development of their communities and the larger society.

Apparently, regional integration had come to West Africa long before the establishment of the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS].

As a traditional and religious leader, I am also delighted to say that traditional authorities also played a tremendous role in this integration. Traditional leaders ensured the safety and security of new members of the community.

They provided them land to build their houses and to engage in Agriculture. They brought their community leaders into the Emirate structures and in many cases, granted them titles, which conferred on them recognition and emirate-wide responsibilities.

Emirs and Chiefs also promptly settled any disputes when they arise, using their vast grass-root network to sustain peace and ensure safety and harmony within their communities. There was hardly any serious dispute between Muslims and non-Muslims until the 1970s and 80s when traditional leaders lost the statutory powers to regulate the social affairs of their communities.

But just as conflict between Muslim and non-Muslim groups was very rare, conflict between Islamic groups and Government was equally uncommon. If and when conflict occurred, it was more likely to be between Islamic groups, with Government and traditional authorities serving in a mediatory role.

Conflict between Sufi groups and between Sufis and Salafis was not uncommon. It was the anti-modern group called the Maitatsine sect, perhaps the first distinct anti-Boko opposition group, which organized a major revolt in Kano, leading to great loss of life and property.

The Maitatsine riots kept on recurring in different Northern cities for over a decade. The Shi’a group also had running battles with the security forces for over two decades. It was only in the last few years that the conflict subsided.

Another significant aspect of Nigeria’s Islamic scene has been the palpable chasm between the modern, western sector and traditional Islamic sector, especially in the northern states.  Historically, many northern Muslim communities had viewed the European colonial adventure and its institutions, including the educational system, as inimical to Islam and Muslims and had refused to partake in them.

Although, a lot of progress has been registered in the last few decades in appreciating the strategic importance of modern education, including Science and Technology, many Muslim parents still mistrust the modern education sector and consign their wards to the traditional madrasahs, locally known as the Almajiri schools.

It has been estimated that over seven million pupils are attending these schools in the Northern States. In several of these states, there are more pupils in these traditional institutions than there are in the conventional schools. The membership of the Maitatsine sect is based almost entirely on this group.

The Boko Haram also may have drawn substantially from the group although it has many members from the conventional school system.

The other major aspect of Nigeria’s Islamic scene, which I wish to raise, is the issue of poverty and economic impoverishment. When the former Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank mentioned over half a decade ago that hard-core poverty in Nigeria was essentially a “Northern Phenomenon”, he was bringing up an issue, which few wanted to talk about.

In other words, poverty is also essentially a Muslim Phenomenon. Since Professor Soludo made this statement, the situation has not registered any substantial improvement. In many of the Northern States, the incidence of general poverty still remains well over 70%.

With poor enrolment rates into basic educational institutions and dilapidated infrastructure, many Northerners and Muslims will remain isolated and impoverished, unable to seize any of the opportunities that may be presented by Nigeria’s modern economy and society.

IN PART TWO NEXT WEEK, SULTAN ABUBAKAR DISCUSSES THE CHALLENGES TO PEACE BUILDING IN NIGERIA, EXPLAINING THE ROLE OF DIALOGUE AND WHY HE BELIEVES THE FUTURE HOLDS GREAT HOPE AND PROMISE

The first category of values raised by the Sokoto Caliphate leaders was that associated with knowledge as the basis for effective leadership. Ignorance has no business with leadership and ignorant people shall have no business in governance. In the emphatic words of Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio,

“A man without learning is like a country without inhabitants. The finest [qualities] in a leader in particular and in people in general, are the love of learning, the desire to listen to it and holding the bearer of knowledge in great respect….. If a leader is devoid of learning, he follows his whims and leads his subjects astray, like a riding beast with no halter, wandering off the path and perhaps spoiling what it passes over.

For a leader has set himself up to deal with people’s natures, to settle their disputes and undertake their government.  All that requires outstanding learning, keen insight and extensive study. How would he get on if he had not made the necessary preparations and made himself ready for these matters…..” [Bayan Wujub al-Hijra]

Sultan Muhammad Bello, on his part, considered knowledge as an essential quality even for those who work with the Amir. For this is essential to suppress mediocrity and ensure effective management of public affairs.

“If God wishes people good he gives leadership to the best of them. He also grants them those who would help them. Such leaders would lead the community in the right path and put matters in correct places. They would seek the advice of people who have the requisite ideas in solving problems.

They would also find powerful, knowledgeable and experienced people to help in their different spheres. Such leaders would advance people who deserve promotion and hold back those who do not merit advancement.” [Ifadat al-Ikhwan]

The second category of values which I wish to bring to your attention is the primacy of Justice as the basis of good governance. Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio, the leader of the Sokoto Caliphate, had always believed that “seeing to the welfare of the people is more effective than the use of force.”

According to Shaykh Uthman, “the crown of the leader is his integrity, his strong-hold is his impartiality and his wealth is [the prosperity] of his people.” Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio was equally emphatic on how injustice compromises the integrity of governance and ultimately destroys the state.

“One of the swiftest ways of destroying a state is to give preference to one particular group over another or to show favor to one group of people rather than another and draw near those who should be kept away and keep away those who should be drawn near…. Other practices destructive to sovereignty are arrogance and conceit which take away virtues.

There are six qualities which cannot be tolerated in a leader: lying, envy, breach of promise, sharpness of temper, miserliness and cowardice. Another is the seclusion of the leader from his people, because when the oppressor is sure that the oppressed person will not have access to the ruler, he becomes more oppressive… A state can endure with unbelief but it cannot endure with injustice.” [Bayan Wujub al-Hijra]

The third category of values is that dealing with the fight against corruption especially in the management of public affairs. Shaykh Abdullahi Ibn Fodio puts the Caliphate’s position in clear and unambiguous terms:

“A ruler is forbidden to touch property acquired unjustly, such as through bribes obtained for appointing a judge or any other officer. The use of such property is unanimously regarded as illegal. It corrupts the Religion and opens the door wide to abuses and oppression of the poor.

For the officials may feel that since money was obtained from them as a reward for appointing them to office, they in turn must recover it from the common people.

Another thing agreed upon as illegal is the collection of bribes on behalf of the leader or other officials like the judges and other employees…. It is also illegal to accept gifts from the common people. For such action is the door leading to all types of calamities. When a gift finds its way to a man in authority, justice and goodness will find their way out of him…..”[Diya’al-Hukkam]

It is also the view of the Sokoto Caliphate leaders that those charged with authority must strive to shun corrupt practices and lead by example. In the words of Sultan Muhammad Bello,

“Leaders are like a spring of water and officials are like water-wheels. If the spring is pure, the filth of the water-wheels cannot harm it. If, on the other hand, the spring is polluted, the purity of the water-wheel will have little effect [on the purity of the water].” [Usul al-Siyasa]

Sultan Sa'ad Abubakar of Sokoto.... I have seen how people of goodwill could make a world of difference

The fourth category of values relates to the dignity of labor and indeed the responsibility of government to provide the enabling environment that would allow people to make a decent living. In the words of Sultan Muhammad Bello,

“……Guard yourself against poverty by lawful earning, because every poor man is afflicted by three defects: religious weakness, feeble mindedness and loss of honor.

Worse than this is the contempt in which he is held by people….There are two assets which, as long as you safeguard them, you will remain alright: Your earnings for your livelihood and your religion for your hereafter…..The recommendable earning is better than supererogatory worship, the benefit of which is confined to the worshipper alone, whereas the benefit of the recommended earnings extend to others.”[Ahkam al-Makasib]

On the role of government in providing a conducive environment, Sultan Muhammad Bello also had this to say:

“The sixth principle [of Governance] is that the Governor should provide public amenities for the people of his state for their temporal and religious benefit. For this purpose, he shall foster the artisans and be concerned with tradesmen who are indispensable to the people…… and all sorts of trades which contribute to stabilize the proper order of the world.

The ruler must allocate these tradesmen to every locality. He should urge his people to seek foodstuff and keep it for future use. He must keep every locality in prosperity, construct fortresses and bridges, maintain markets and roads and realize for them all what are of public interest so that the proper order of their world may be maintained…”[Usul al-Siyasa]

The fifth and final category of values, which I wish to bring to your attention, is the uplifting of the status of women, especially through Education. The Sokoto Caliphate leaders, as erudite scholars, lived by the percepts they preached and ensured that their wives and daughters and all others associated with them were educated to the highest standards the society could offer.

Many of these women, including Nana Asma’u, became leaders in their own right and played an active role in the political arena.  Equally importantly, Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio’s pronouncements, made in the very early part of the nineteenth century, could not be more categorical:

“One of the great calamities which have afflicted Hausaland is the practice of many of its scholars in abandoning their wives, daughters and servants in a state of ignorance. They are left like animals without any effort to teach them….. This is a grave mistake and a prohibited innovation.

They treat them like utensils which they put to use, but when broken, get thrown into the dustbin. What a strange behavior! How could they leave their wives, daughters and servants in the darkness of ignorance and astray, while educating their students morning and evening. This is just for their selfish interest and for show and ostentation.

“O Muslim women, do not heed the calls of those misguided folk who deceive you into obeying your husbands without ordaining you to obey Allah and His Messenger. They kept on saying that the salvation of the woman lies in obeying her husband, merely to attain their aims with you and to satisfy their lust…….

And they over-burden you with what Allah and His Messenger never ordained you to do at all, such as cooking, washing clothes and similar chores, principally for their personal comfort, without asking you what Allah and His Messenger ordained you to do….”[Nurul Albab]

NIGERIA’S ISLAMIC SCENE

Nigeria’s Islamic scene is both a product of its pre-colonial and colonial past as well and of current realities of Nigeria’s contemporary life. Muslims number over 80 million, contributing extensively to the intellectual, political and socio-economic life of the nation.

Islamic practice in Nigeria is based essentially on the Maliki School of Law, with the influences of Shafi’I and Hanbali schools coming essentially from younger scholars who studied in the Middle East. Besides the intellectual influences of the Sokoto Caliphate, mention must be made of the Bornuan Intellectual traditions, centered around the study of the Holy Qur’an.

Sufis, essentially from the Qadiriyya and Tijjaniyya orders; and Salafis, constitute the major Islamic groups. In the past few decades we have also seen the emergence of the Shi’a as well as modernist Islamic groups, which tend to focus on Islamic institutional development.

Islam has contributed immensely in building a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society in Nigeria. The Nigeria’s Muslim Ummah is the classic melting pot, bringing ethnicities and races from different parts of the West African sub-region and beyond, pursuing their legitimate business and contributing to the development of their communities and the larger society.

Apparently, regional integration had come to West Africa long before the establishment of the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS].

As a traditional and religious leader, I am also delighted to say that traditional authorities also played a tremendous role in this integration. Traditional leaders ensured the safety and security of new members of the community.

They provided them land to build their houses and to engage in Agriculture. They brought their community leaders into the Emirate structures and in many cases, granted them titles, which conferred on them recognition and emirate-wide responsibilities.

Emirs and Chiefs also promptly settled any disputes when they arise, using their vast grass-root network to sustain peace and ensure safety and harmony within their communities. There was hardly any serious dispute between Muslims and non-Muslims until the 1970s and 80s when traditional leaders lost the statutory powers to regulate the social affairs of their communities.

But just as conflict between Muslim and non-Muslim groups was very rare, conflict between Islamic groups and Government was equally uncommon. If and when conflict occurred, it was more likely to be between Islamic groups, with Government and traditional authorities serving in a mediatory role.

Conflict between Sufi groups and between Sufis and Salafis was not uncommon. It was the anti-modern group called the Maitatsine sect, perhaps the first distinct anti-Boko opposition group, which organized a major revolt in Kano, leading to great loss of life and property.

The Maitatsine riots kept on recurring in different Northern cities for over a decade. The Shi’a group also had running battles with the security forces for over two decades. It was only in the last few years that the conflict subsided.

Another significant aspect of Nigeria’s Islamic scene has been the palpable chasm between the modern, western sector and traditional Islamic sector, especially in the northern states.  Historically, many northern Muslim communities had viewed the European colonial adventure and its institutions, including the educational system, as inimical to Islam and Muslims and had refused to partake in them.

Although a lot of progress has been registered in the last few decades in appreciating the strategic importance of modern education, including Science and Technology, many Muslim parents still mistrust the modern education sector and consign their wards to the traditional madrasahs, locally known as the Almajiri schools.

It has been estimated that over seven million pupils are attending these schools in the Northern States. In several of these states, there are more pupils in these traditional institutions than there are in the conventional schools.

The membership of the Maitatsine sect is based almost entirely on this group. The Boko Haram also may have drawn substantially from the group although it has many members from the conventional school system.

The other major aspect of Nigeria’s Islamic scene, which I wish to raise, is the issue of poverty and economic impoverishment. When the former Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank mentioned over half a decade ago that hard-core poverty in Nigeria was essentially a “Northern Phenomenon”, he was bringing up an issue, which few wanted to talk about.

In other words, poverty is also essentially a Muslim Phenomenon. Since Professor Soludo made this statement, the situation has not registered any substantial improvement. In many of the Northern States, the incidence of general poverty still remains well over 70%.

With poor enrolment rates into basic educational institutions and dilapidated infrastructure, many Northerners and Muslims will remain isolated and impoverished, unable to seize any of the opportunities that may be presented by Nigeria’s modern economy and society.

IN PART TWO NEXT WEEK, SULTAN ABUBAKAR DISCUSSES THE CHALLENGES TO PEACE BUILDING IN NIGERIA, EXPLAINING THE ROLE OF DIALOGUE AND WHY HE BELIEVES THE FUTURE HOLDS GREAT HOPE AND PROMISE

QUOTES

Bigotry and hatred are being elevated to a new pedestal and spread with relish and impunity

I have witnessed the desperate cries of widows and orphans and the exasperation of bewildered families desperately struggling to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives

The first category of values raised by the Sokoto Caliphate leaders was that associated with knowledge as the basis for effective leadership. Ignorance has no business with leadership and ignorant people shall have no business in governance

There was hardly any serious dispute between Muslims and non-Muslims until the 1970s and 80s when traditional leaders lost the statutory powers to regulate the social affairs of their communities

Being excerpts from Lecture By His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar mni, CFR, Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs [NSCIA], At The Samuel L. and Elizabeth Jodidi Annual Lecture At Weatherhead Center for International Affairs Havard University, Cambridge, MA USA, Monday, October, 3, 2011

New York, on 7th November, 2007 and at Oxford University, Oxford, England on 25 March, 2008. It is my firm belief that these values, when properly understood and applied, would greatly aid our West African polities in evolving a dynamic and responsive governance framework and in providing a veritable yardstick by which political behavior and action could be assessed.

The first category of values raised by the Sokoto Caliphate leaders was that associated with knowledge as the basis for effective leadership. Ignorance has no business with leadership and ignorant people shall have no business in governance. In the emphatic words of Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio,

“A man without learning is like a country without inhabitants. The finest [qualities] in a leader in particular and in people in general, are the love of learning, the desire to listen to it and holding the bearer of knowledge in great respect…..

If a leader is devoid of learning, he follows his whims and leads his subjects astray, like a riding beast with no halter, wandering off the path and perhaps spoiling what it passes over. For a leader has set himself up to deal with people’s natures, to settle their disputes and undertake their government.

All that requires outstanding learning, keen insight and extensive study. How would he get on if he had not made the necessary preparations and made himself ready for these matters…..” [Bayan Wujub al-Hijra]

Sultan Muhammad Bello, on his part, considered knowledge as an essential quality even for those who work with the Amir. For this is essential to suppress mediocrity and ensure effective management of public affairs.

“If God wishes people good he gives leadership to the best of them. He also grants them those who would help them. Such leaders would lead the community in the right path and put matters in correct places. They would seek the advice of people who have the requisite ideas in solving problems.

They would also find powerful, knowledgeable and experienced people to help in their different spheres. Such leaders would advance people who deserve promotion and hold back those who do not merit advancement.” [Ifadat al-Ikhwan]

The second category of values which I wish to bring to your attention is the primacy of Justice as the basis of good governance. Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio, the leader of the Sokoto Caliphate, had always believed that “seeing to the welfare of the people is more effective than the use of force.”

According to Shaykh Uthman, “the crown of the leader is his integrity, his strong-hold is his impartiality and his wealth is [the prosperity] of his people.” Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio was equally emphatic on how injustice compromises the integrity of governance and ultimately destroys the state.

“One of the swiftest ways of destroying a state is to give preference to one particular group over another or to show favor to one group of people rather than another and draw near those who should be kept away and keep away those who should be drawn near….

Other practices destructive to sovereignty are arrogance and conceit which take away virtues. There are six qualities which cannot be tolerated in a leader: lying, envy, breach of promise, sharpness of temper, miserliness and cowardice.

Another is the seclusion of the leader from his people, because when the oppressor is sure that the oppressed person will not have access to the ruler, he becomes more oppressive… A state can endure with unbelief but it cannot endure with injustice.” [Bayan Wujub al-Hijra]

The third category of values is that dealing with the fight against corruption especially in the management of public affairs. Shaykh Abdullahi Ibn Fodio puts the Caliphate’s position in clear and unambiguous terms:

“A ruler is forbidden to touch property acquired unjustly, such as through bribes obtained for appointing a judge or any other officer. The use of such property is unanimously regarded as illegal. It corrupts the Religion and opens the door wide to abuses and oppression of the poor.

For the officials may feel that since money was obtained from them as a reward for appointing them to office, they in turn must recover it from the common people.

Another thing agreed upon as illegal is the collection of bribes on behalf of the leader or other officials like the judges and other employees…. It is also illegal to accept gifts from the common people. For such action is the door leading to all types of calamities.

When a gift finds its way to a man in authority, justice and goodness will find their way out of him…..”[Diya’al-Hukkam]

It is also the view of the Sokoto Caliphate leaders that those charged with authority must strive to shun corrupt practices and lead by example. In the words of Sultan Muhammad Bello,

“Leaders are like a spring of water and officials are like water-wheels. If the spring is pure, the filth of the water-wheels cannot harm it. If, on the other hand, the spring is polluted, the purity of the water-wheel will have little effect [on the purity of the water].” [Usul al-Siyasa]

The fourth category of values relates to the dignity of labor and indeed the responsibility of government to provide the enabling environment that would allow people to make a decent living. In the words of Sultan Muhammad Bello,

“……Guard yourself against poverty by lawful earning, because every poor man is afflicted by three defects: religious weakness, feeble mindedness and loss of honor. Worse than this is the contempt in which he is held by people….

There are two assets which, as long as you safeguard them, you will remain alright: Your earnings for your livelihood and your religion for your hereafter…..The recommendable earning is better than supererogatory worship, the benefit of which is confined to the worshipper alone, whereas the benefit of the recommended earnings extend to others.”[Ahkam al-Makasib]

On the role of government in providing a conducive environment, Sultan Muhammad Bello also had this to say:

“The sixth principle [of Governance] is that the Governor should provide public amenities for the people of his state for their temporal and religious benefit. For this purpose, he shall foster the artisans and be concerned with tradesmen who are indispensable to the people…… and all sorts of trades which contribute to stabilize the proper order of the world.

The ruler must allocate these tradesmen to every locality. He should urge his people to seek foodstuff and keep it for future use. He must keep every locality in prosperity, construct fortresses and bridges, maintain markets and roads and realize for them all what are of public interest so that the proper order of their world may be maintained…”[Usul al-Siyasa]

The fifth and final category of values, which I wish to bring to your attention, is the uplifting of the status of women, especially through Education. The Sokoto Caliphate leaders, as erudite scholars, lived by the percepts they preached and ensured that their wives and daughters and all others associated with them were educated to the highest standards the society could offer.

Many of these women, including Nana Asma’u, became leaders in their own right and played an active role in the political arena.  Equally importantly, Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio’s pronouncements, made in the very early part of the nineteenth century, could not be more categorical:

“One of the great calamities which have afflicted Hausaland is the practice of many of its scholars in abandoning their wives, daughters and servants in a state of ignorance. They are left like animals without any effort to teach them….. This is a grave mistake and a prohibited innovation.

They treat them like utensils which they put to use, but when broken, get thrown into the dustbin. What a strange behavior! How could they leave their wives, daughters and servants in the darkness of ignorance and astray, while educating their students morning and evening. This is just for their selfish interest and for show and ostentation.

“O Muslim women, do not heed the calls of those misguided folk who deceive you into obeying your husbands without ordaining you to obey Allah and His Messenger. They kept on saying that the salvation of the woman lies in obeying her husband, merely to attain their aims with you and to satisfy their lust…….

And they over-burden you with what Allah and His Messenger never ordained you to do at all, such as cooking, washing clothes and similar chores, principally for their personal comfort, without asking you what Allah and His Messenger ordained you to do….”[Nurul Albab]

NIGERIA’S ISLAMIC SCENE

Nigeria’s Islamic scene is both a product of its pre-colonial and colonial past as well and of current realities of Nigeria’s contemporary life. Muslims number over 80 million, contributing extensively to the intellectual, political and socio-economic life of the nation.

Islamic practice in Nigeria is based essentially on the Maliki School of Law, with the influences of Shafi’I and Hanbali schools coming essentially from younger scholars who studied in the Middle East. Besides the intellectual influences of the Sokoto Caliphate, mention must be made of the Bornuan Intellectual traditions, centered around the study of the Holy Qur’an.

Sufis, essentially from the Qadiriyya and Tijjaniyya orders; and Salafis, constitute the major Islamic groups. In the past few decades we have also seen the emergence of the Shi’a as well as modernist Islamic groups, which tend to focus on Islamic institutional development.

Islam has contributed immensely in building a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society in Nigeria. The Nigeria’s Muslim Ummah is the classic melting pot, bringing ethnicities and races from different parts of the West African sub-region and beyond, pursuing their legitimate business and contributing to the development of their communities and the larger society.

Apparently, regional integration had come to West Africa long before the establishment of the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS].

As a traditional and religious leader, I am also delighted to say that traditional authorities also played a tremendous role in this integration. Traditional leaders ensured the safety and security of new members of the community.

They provided them land to build their houses and to engage in Agriculture. They brought their community leaders into the Emirate structures and in many cases, granted them titles, which conferred on them recognition and emirate-wide responsibilities.

Emirs and Chiefs also promptly settled any disputes when they arise, using their vast grass-root network to sustain peace and ensure safety and harmony within their communities. There was hardly any serious dispute between Muslims and non-Muslims until the 1970s and 80s when traditional leaders lost the statutory powers to regulate the social affairs of their communities.

But just as conflict between Muslim and non-Muslim groups was very rare, conflict between Islamic groups and Government was equally uncommon. If and when conflict occurred, it was more likely to be between Islamic groups, with Government and traditional authorities serving in a mediatory role.

Conflict between Sufi groups and between Sufis and Salafis was not uncommon. It was the anti-modern group called the Maitatsine sect, perhaps the first distinct anti-Boko opposition group, which organized a major revolt in Kano, leading to great loss of life and property.

The Maitatsine riots kept on recurring in different Northern cities for over a decade. The Shi’a group also had running battles with the security forces for over two decades. It was only in the last few years that the conflict subsided.

Another significant aspect of Nigeria’s Islamic scene has been the palpable chasm between the modern, western sector and traditional Islamic sector, especially in the northern states.  Historically, many northern Muslim communities had viewed the European colonial adventure and its institutions, including the educational system, as inimical to Islam and Muslims and had refused to partake in them.

Although a lot of progress has been registered in the last few decades in appreciating the strategic importance of modern education, including Science and Technology, many Muslim parents still mistrust the modern education sector and consign their wards to the traditional madrasahs, locally known as the Almajiri schools.

It has been estimated that over seven million pupils are attending these schools in the Northern States. In several of these states, there are more pupils in these traditional institutions than there are in the conventional schools. The membership of the Maitatsine sect is based almost entirely on this group.

The Boko Haram also may have drawn substantially from the group although it has many members from the conventional school system.

The other major aspect of Nigeria’s Islamic scene, which I wish to raise, is the issue of poverty and economic impoverishment. When the former Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank mentioned over half a decade ago that hard-core poverty in Nigeria was essentially a “Northern Phenomenon”, he was bringing up an issue, which few wanted to talk about.

In other words, poverty is also essentially a Muslim Phenomenon. Since Professor Soludo made this statement, the situation has not registered any substantial improvement. In many of the Northern States, the incidence of general poverty still remains well over 70%.

With poor enrolment rates into basic educational institutions and dilapidated infrastructure, many Northerners and Muslims will remain isolated and impoverished, unable to seize any of the opportunities that may be presented by Nigeria’s modern economy and society.

IN PART TWO NEXT WEEK, SULTAN ABUBAKAR DISCUSSES THE CHALLENGES TO PEACE BUILDING IN NIGERIA, EXPLAINING THE ROLE OF DIALOGUE AND WHY HE BELIEVES THE FUTURE HOLDS GREAT HOPE AND PROMISE

QUOTES

Bigotry and hatred are being elevated to a new pedestal and spread with relish and impunity

I have witnessed the desperate cries of widows and orphans and the exasperation of bewildered families desperately struggling to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives

The first category of values raised by the Sokoto Caliphate leaders was that associated with knowledge as the basis for effective leadership. Ignorance has no business with leadership and ignorant people shall have no business in governance

There was hardly any serious dispute between Muslims and non-Muslims until the 1970s and 80s when traditional leaders lost the statutory powers to regulate the social affairs of their communities

Being excerpts from Lecture By His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar mni, CFR, Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs [NSCIA], At The Samuel L. and Elizabeth Jodidi Annual Lecture At Weatherhead Center for International Affairs Havard University, Cambridge, MA USA, Monday, October, 3, 2011

Oxford, England on 25 March, 2008. It is my firm belief that these values, when properly understood and applied, would greatly aid our West African polities in evolving a dynamic and responsive governance framework and in providing a veritable yardstick by which political behavior and action could be assessed.

The first category of values raised by the Sokoto Caliphate leaders was that associated with knowledge as the basis for effective leadership. Ignorance has no business with leadership and ignorant people shall have no business in governance. In the emphatic words of Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio,

“A man without learning is like a country without inhabitants. The finest [qualities] in a leader in particular and in people in general, are the love of learning, the desire to listen to it and holding the bearer of knowledge in great respect…..

If a leader is devoid of learning, he follows his whims and leads his subjects astray, like a riding beast with no halter, wandering off the path and perhaps spoiling what it passes over. For a leader has set himself up to deal with people’s natures, to settle their disputes and undertake their government.

All that requires outstanding learning, keen insight and extensive study. How would he get on if he had not made the necessary preparations and made himself ready for these matters…..” [Bayan Wujub al-Hijra]

Sultan Muhammad Bello, on his part, considered knowledge as an essential quality even for those who work with the Amir. For this is essential to suppress mediocrity and ensure effective management of public affairs.

“If God wishes people good he gives leadership to the best of them. He also grants them those who would help them. Such leaders would lead the community in the right path and put matters in correct places. They would seek the advice of people who have the requisite ideas in solving problems.

They would also find powerful, knowledgeable and experienced people to help in their different spheres. Such leaders would advance people who deserve promotion and hold back those who do not merit advancement.” [Ifadat al-Ikhwan]

The second category of values which I wish to bring to your attention is the primacy of Justice as the basis of good governance. Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio, the leader of the Sokoto Caliphate, had always believed that “seeing to the welfare of the people is more effective than the use of force.”

According to Shaykh Uthman, “the crown of the leader is his integrity, his strong-hold is his impartiality and his wealth is [the prosperity] of his people.” Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio was equally emphatic on how injustice compromises the integrity of governance and ultimately destroys the state.

“One of the swiftest ways of destroying a state is to give preference to one particular group over another or to show favor to one group of people rather than another and draw near those who should be kept away and keep away those who should be drawn near…. Other practices destructive to sovereignty are arrogance and conceit which take away virtues.

There are six qualities which cannot be tolerated in a leader: lying, envy, breach of promise, sharpness of temper, miserliness and cowardice. Another is the seclusion of the leader from his people, because when the oppressor is sure that the oppressed person will not have access to the ruler, he becomes more oppressive… A state can endure with unbelief but it cannot endure with injustice.” [Bayan Wujub al-Hijra]

The third category of values is that dealing with the fight against corruption especially in the management of public affairs. Shaykh Abdullahi Ibn Fodio puts the Caliphate’s position in clear and unambiguous terms:

“A ruler is forbidden to touch property acquired unjustly, such as through bribes obtained for appointing a judge or any other officer. The use of such property is unanimously regarded as illegal. It corrupts the Religion and opens the door wide to abuses and oppression of the poor.

For the officials may feel that since money was obtained from them as a reward for appointing them to office, they in turn must recover it from the common people.

Another thing agreed upon as illegal is the collection of bribes on behalf of the leader or other officials like the judges and other employees…. It is also illegal to accept gifts from the common people. For such action is the door leading to all types of calamities. When a gift finds its way to a man in authority, justice and goodness will find their way out of him…..”[Diya’al-Hukkam]

It is also the view of the Sokoto Caliphate leaders that those charged with authority must strive to shun corrupt practices and lead by example. In the words of Sultan Muhammad Bello,

“Leaders are like a spring of water and officials are like water-wheels. If the spring is pure, the filth of the water-wheels cannot harm it. If, on the other hand, the spring is polluted, the purity of the water-wheel will have little effect [on the purity of the water].” [Usul al-Siyasa]

The fourth category of values relates to the dignity of labor and indeed the responsibility of government to provide the enabling environment that would allow people to make a decent living. In the words of Sultan Muhammad Bello,

“……Guard yourself against poverty by lawful earning, because every poor man is afflicted by three defects: religious weakness, feeble mindedness and loss of honor. Worse than this is the contempt in which he is held by people….

There are two assets which, as long as you safeguard them, you will remain alright: Your earnings for your livelihood and your religion for your hereafter…..The recommendable earning is better than supererogatory worship, the benefit of which is confined to the worshipper alone, whereas the benefit of the recommended earnings extend to others.”[Ahkam al-Makasib]

On the role of government in providing a conducive environment, Sultan Muhammad Bello also had this to say:

“The sixth principle [of Governance] is that the Governor should provide public amenities for the people of his state for their temporal and religious benefit. For this purpose, he shall foster the artisans and be concerned with tradesmen who are indispensable to the people…… and all sorts of trades which contribute to stabilize the proper order of the world.

The ruler must allocate these tradesmen to every locality. He should urge his people to seek foodstuff and keep it for future use. He must keep every locality in prosperity, construct fortresses and bridges, maintain markets and roads and realize for them all what are of public interest so that the proper order of their world may be maintained…”[Usul al-Siyasa]

The fifth and final category of values, which I wish to bring to your attention, is the uplifting of the status of women, especially through Education. The Sokoto Caliphate leaders, as erudite scholars, lived by the percepts they preached and ensured that their wives and daughters and all others associated with them were educated to the highest standards the society could offer.

Many of these women, including Nana Asma’u, became leaders in their own right and played an active role in the political arena.  Equally importantly, Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio’s pronouncements, made in the very early part of the nineteenth century, could not be more categorical:

“One of the great calamities which have afflicted Hausaland is the practice of many of its scholars in abandoning their wives, daughters and servants in a state of ignorance. They are left like animals without any effort to teach them…..

This is a grave mistake and a prohibited innovation. They treat them like utensils which they put to use, but when broken, get thrown into the dustbin. What a strange behavior! How could they leave their wives, daughters and servants in the darkness of ignorance and astray, while educating their students morning and evening. This is just for their selfish interest and for show and ostentation.

“O Muslim women, do not heed the calls of those misguided folk who deceive you into obeying your husbands without ordaining you to obey Allah and His Messenger. They kept on saying that the salvation of the woman lies in obeying her husband, merely to attain their aims with you and to satisfy their lust…….

And they over-burden you with what Allah and His Messenger never ordained you to do at all, such as cooking, washing clothes and similar chores, principally for their personal comfort, without asking you what Allah and His Messenger ordained you to do….”[Nurul Albab]

NIGERIA’S ISLAMIC SCENE

Nigeria’s Islamic scene is both a product of its pre-colonial and colonial past as well and of current realities of Nigeria’s contemporary life. Muslims number over 80 million, contributing extensively to the intellectual, political and socio-economic life of the nation.

Islamic practice in Nigeria is based essentially on the Maliki School of Law, with the influences of Shafi’I and Hanbali schools coming essentially from younger scholars who studied in the Middle East. Besides the intellectual influences of the Sokoto Caliphate, mention must be made of the Bornuan Intellectual traditions, centered around the study of the Holy Qur’an.

Sufis, essentially from the Qadiriyya and Tijjaniyya orders; and Salafis, constitute the major Islamic groups. In the past few decades we have also seen the emergence of the Shi’a as well as modernist Islamic groups, which tend to focus on Islamic institutional development.

Islam has contributed immensely in building a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society in Nigeria. The Nigeria’s Muslim Ummah is the classic melting pot, bringing ethnicities and races from different parts of the West African sub-region and beyond, pursuing their legitimate business and contributing to the development of their communities and the larger society.

Apparently, regional integration had come to West Africa long before the establishment of the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS].

As a traditional and religious leader, I am also delighted to say that traditional authorities also played a tremendous role in this integration. Traditional leaders ensured the safety and security of new members of the community.

They provided them land to build their houses and to engage in Agriculture. They brought their community leaders into the Emirate structures and in many cases, granted them titles, which conferred on them recognition and emirate-wide responsibilities.

Emirs and Chiefs also promptly settled any disputes when they arise, using their vast grass-root network to sustain peace and ensure safety and harmony within their communities. There was hardly any serious dispute between Muslims and non-Muslims until the 1970s and 80s when traditional leaders lost the statutory powers to regulate the social affairs of their communities.

But just as conflict between Muslim and non-Muslim groups was very rare, conflict between Islamic groups and Government was equally uncommon. If and when conflict occurred, it was more likely to be between Islamic groups, with Government and traditional authorities serving in a mediatory role.

Conflict between Sufi groups and between Sufis and Salafis was not uncommon. It was the anti-modern group called the Maitatsine sect, perhaps the first distinct anti-Boko opposition group, which organized a major revolt in Kano, leading to great loss of life and property.

The Maitatsine riots kept on recurring in different Northern cities for over a decade. The Shi’a group also had running battles with the security forces for over two decades. It was only in the last few years that the conflict subsided.

Another significant aspect of Nigeria’s Islamic scene has been the palpable chasm between the modern, western sector and traditional Islamic sector, especially in the northern states.  Historically, many northern Muslim communities had viewed the European colonial adventure and its institutions, including the educational system, as inimical to Islam and Muslims and had refused to partake in them.

Although a lot of progress has been registered in the last few decades in appreciating the strategic importance of modern education, including Science and Technology, many Muslim parents still mistrust the modern education sector and consign their wards to the traditional madrasahs, locally known as the Almajiri schools.

It has been estimated that over seven million pupils are attending these schools in the Northern States. In several of these states, there are more pupils in these traditional institutions than there are in the conventional schools. The membership of the Maitatsine sect is based almost entirely on this group.

The Boko Haram also may have drawn substantially from the group although it has many members from the conventional school system.

The other major aspect of Nigeria’s Islamic scene, which I wish to raise, is the issue of poverty and economic impoverishment. When the former Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank mentioned over half a decade ago that hard-core poverty in Nigeria was essentially a “Northern Phenomenon”, he was bringing up an issue, which few wanted to talk about.

In other words, poverty is also essentially a Muslim Phenomenon. Since Professor Soludo made this statement, the situation has not registered any substantial improvement. In many of the Northern States, the incidence of general poverty still remains well over 70%.

With poor enrolment rates into basic educational institutions and dilapidated infrastructure, many Northerners and Muslims will remain isolated and impoverished, unable to seize any of the opportunities that may be presented by Nigeria’s modern economy and society.

IN PART TWO NEXT WEEK, SULTAN ABUBAKAR DISCUSSES THE CHALLENGES TO PEACE BUILDING IN NIGERIA, EXPLAINING THE ROLE OF DIALOGUE AND WHY HE BELIEVES THE FUTURE HOLDS GREAT HOPE AND PROMISE

Being excerpts from Lecture By His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar mni, CFR, Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs [NSCIA], At The Samuel L. and Elizabeth Jodidi Annual Lecture At Weatherhead Center for International Affairs Havard University, Cambridge, MA USA, Monday, October, 3, 2011


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