By Bashir Adefaka
“(He is) the Lord of the two easts (places of sunrise during early summer and early winter) and the Lord of the two wests (places of sunset during early summer and early winter). Then which of the blessings of your Lord will you both (jinn and men) deny?” (Qur’an 17 and 18).
Surely there is none of the blessings of his Lord that Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, would deny as it becomes obvious that he is indeed a blessing not only to his nation of birth, Nigeria, but also, more extensively, the world where, just recently, he has been rated as the world’s 22nd most influential Muslim, have steps behind President Muhammadu Buhari, another Nigerian, rated 17th.
Why would he not consider himself a blessing to the world and the nation? many have asked, when it is during his reign the world and Nigeria have noticeably enjoyed a traditional and Muslim leadership that has successfully, and consistently too, blended the entire peoples together in his constancy in peace and unity advocacy?
Celebrating his 10th anniversary on the throne, the Sultanate Council of Sokoto and the Magajin Garin Sokoto made arrangements for a resounding weeklong event to appreciate the king-son-of-king’s immense contributions to the peace, unity and development of Sokoto State, Nigeria and global community in general and events were stretched between Wednesday, November 2 and Saturday, November 5.
All the activities went on as planned with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo declaring open the International Symposium on Sokoto Caliphate on Thursday.
Before declaring the symposium open, the vice president described Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III as worthy scion of the founding fathers of the Sokoto Caliphate. He said the Caliphate was founded on honesty.
“Ten years into your royal sojourn, you are in good standing with your people,” Osinbajo noted, saying: “ The Sokoto Caliphate was founded over 200 years ago on the sterling principles of honesty, piety, good governance and truthfulness, among others. “
He pointed out that Uthman Dan Fodio described a corrupt leader as a monkey, meaning, according to him, that the corruption being fought by Buhari administration today was long started by the founding father of the Sokoto Caliphate.
Earlier when he spoke, Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar was greeted with a heavy military band sound that he had to pass a joke, “This compliment is done for generals.”
He then acknowledged the fact of such compliment as an appreciation of his 31 years in the service of the Nigerian Army. The monarch stepped out of the Nigerian Army as Brigadier General into the waiting high seat of Sultanate royalty in 2016. “Thank you,” he said. While the hall of the Sokoto State Polytechnic where the symposium took place was still reverberating from the ovations resulting from the royal joke, the Sarikin Mu’mineen of Nigeria quickly settled down for another point of call. He said anyone arrested for corruption should answer his name.
He went on by attributing the slow pace of development in Nigeria to misplaced priorities by political leaders. The Sultan said Nigerians must muster the courage to question their political leaders on how they spend state resources, and make input to policy issues that involve their well-being. Abubakar said it was only when citizens began to ask questions that governors and other leaders would sit up and begin to take the people seriously.
Nigeria is well-structured
According to him, it is funny when people talk about restructuring. “When I hear people talk about restructuring I just laugh. Nigeria has long been well structured. The best way to move is for individual region to develop itself. Before we can restructure, let us first restructure our minds and acts. No matter what restructuring you do, with bad leaders in place, it won’t work”, the Sultan said.
“We must come together as good people to fight the evils in our midst. We must work to have a peaceful society and we must work to have development.
“We want to call on our leaders to please check themselves, especially the governors.
“I want to be blunt here. Why should a governor build a N30 billion airport when he has no money to pay salaries?”
He expressed regret that, most times, Nigerian leaders had misplaced priorities, putting up projects that were of no benefit to the masses.
The Sultan advised that instead of duplicating projects like airports around the states, resources should be diverted to meet other cogent needs that would be of more use to the masses.
“There is need to begin to listen to the cry of the common man, to understand their needs rather than just carrying out projects.
“Of what use is it to be building airports worth billions of naira when the roads that the common man travels are bad? Instead of having an airport here in Birnin Kebbi that hardly sees one flight in one year, and then you have an airport in Dutse that only lifts pilgrims; then you have an airport in Kaduna in Bauchi and Gombe and another one in Ekiti, in Makurdi and so on, while the roads which the common man uses for his day to day activities are so bad…
“You can imagine if you are travelling from Minna to Abuja, how many hours it will take you and from Lokoja to Okene down to Akure due to bad roads.”
Abubakar said these were the things political leaders needed to check and talk to themselves about adding that “if you don’t say the truth, you can’t have progress.”
The royal father said the common man, in reality, has no food, no money among others and further urged Nigerians to stop hiding behind religion, politics and tribal affiliations to perpetuate crime.
Abubakar admonished the people to learn to call a criminal a criminal, regardless of affiliation and come together as good people to fight the evil ones among them, for development to workout.
“People hide under politics to say or do certain things that are totally against the security of the state. If the person is arrested, the next thing you hear is that it is because he does not belong to the ruling party; what is bad is bad. Whether he is a Muslim or Christian or APC or PDP, remove all these and let him answer his name, a criminal, you have stolen government money.
“But once we start using tribe among others to claim right, it is not good. We must all rise up and help government to get the money back.”
The Sultan urged the Federal Government to convene a national security summit of all stakeholders, including traditional and religious leaders, to deliberate on security issues; from militancy to Boko Haram to kidnapping.
The host governor, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwwal of Sokoto State, was happy that many of those that needed to take from the Sultan’s several words of advice on progress and development, particularly security, including the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, were physically present. He urged everyone to be guided by the Sariki’s counsel.
President-General, League of Imams and Alfas South West, Edo and Delta, Sheikh Bello Kewulere, gave the closing prayer, followed by the vote of thanks taken by the organizing chairman, Etsu Nupe Alhaji Yahyah Abubakar.
The Sultan’s two deputy president-generals of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Shehu of Borno, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El-Kanemi (North), and Alhaji Sakariyau Babalola (South), were present at all the events to do the leader of leaders a big honour on his anniversary.