Sultan

By Emeka Obasi

Sokoto is burning, this is serious. Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar should shed usual peace talks, wear his battle fatigue and begin counter measures to stem terrorism in his once very peaceful domain. It is of interest that he has someone who can help him flush out the dark forces terrorising Sokoto and other parts of Northern Nigeria.

Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika is very much around and has what it takes to cleanse the region. As Chief of Army Staff under Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Ihejirika dealt with insurgency in the North -East. It was so swift that before Presidential elections in 2015, there was calm and Federal forces supported,by soldiers of fortune were on top of the situation.

Many in the North descended on Ihejirika and accused him of killing Northerners. Some wanted him taken to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face war crimes. Since a new regime took over in 2015, more Northerners have been slaughtered by terrorists than during the Jonathan years.

Today Jonathan is a regular face at Aso Villa and at a time we were told that the same people who crucified him were toying with the idea of bringing the Izon heavyweight back to power. The same man they tagged ‘clueless’ and drunken fisherman. I want the Sultan to quickly sort things out with Ihejirika.

They are pals and belong to the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) Regular Course 18. It is interesting that another Sokoto man, Capt. Bala Shagari was also part of that set. The Sultan should take Ihejirika to President Muhammadu Buhari.

They can speak the same language now since the former Army Chief has joined politics through the All Progressives Congress. The tactics that were used in the North – East in 2015 are still relevant. We have come to a stage where pride and prejudice should be cast aside.

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The North has been set ablaze and if nothing is done, terrorists may just excise Northern Nigeria from the rest of the country. Some of the warlords are more powerful than state governors. I want to believe that all the talk about terrorists coming from outside Nigeria does not apply to the North- West.

The ones we see wining and dining with the high are Nigerians. Many of them are well known to even some of their captives. Ihejirika is Igbo and that will help this fight. May I remind the Sultan once again of his ‘Igbo background’.

Someone joked recently that if the Sultan played hard as a subaltern, there may be faces like his in Nsukka. Yes, the royal father began his military journey in the university town and has not forgotten all the good times. He still has friends there and can walk around without body guards. There is no track road that that is unknown to him.

The Sultan’s father, Sir Saddiq Abubakar III inherited Dike Okwuosa, from Lord Lugard. Instead of keeping the Asaba man as driver, he was elevated to the Sokoto Emirates Council as Bada Mafara and died as Mamman Dike. The immediate past Sultan, Muhammadu Maccido continued from where his predecessor (if we do not mention Dasuki) and father stopped.

What would make a Sultan worship in a Lagos Catholic church if not to honour his late friend, Egegbara. I understand that Maccido was in Lagos when news of his announcement as Sultan got to him. The man who drove the new leader to the airport was Chief Joe Ifedobi, Okosisi of Akpo. Maccido continued that friendship until death came in 2006.

Proprietor of Universal Hotel, Sokoto, Ogbunuga Afor, first Eze Ndigbo of the Caliphate, enjoyed a conducive business environment. It was because Sultan Saddiq Abubakar made him feel at home. Sokoto Princes had their Igbo friends.

When Sir Ahmadu Bello fell foul of the law over tax discrepancies in Gusau, he ran to Ernest Egbuna, to defend him in court. It is nothing new, the Caliphate believes Ndigbo know how to scratch back. I laughed my head off when rumour mongers came with the story of Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar jumping to safety through the window when gunmen allegedly attacked a mosque in Sokoto.

The Sultan I know cannot run from battle. He left the Army as a One- Star general. Things have become so bad that we cannot continue pretend that all is well. The story of a woman who watched as her mother and four children were burnt alive continues to disturb me. The woman is dead now.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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