Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, the Sultanof Sokoto Muhammad Sa’ad ABUBAKAR was born on 24th August, 1956 at Sokoto, Sokoto State. He attended Sultan Ward Primary School, Sokoto and Barewa College, Zaria before proceeding to Nigerian Defence Academy, for the 18th Regular Combatant Course and was commissioned Second Lieutenant on 17th December 1977 into the Nigerian Army Armoured Corps. He retired as Brigadier General on December 30th, 2006 after 31 years service in the military, upon appointment as Sultan of Sokoto. He attended various professional courses and seminar in Nigeria and abroad, the highest being the Senior Executive Course No. 28 at National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS) between February to November, 2006.
The title of his research paper at NIPSS, is Religious Extremism As a National Security Problem: Strategies for Sustainable Solutions. During his military career, he held various appointments in Command and Staff positions, the key ones being at African Unity (AU) Peacekeeping Operations in Chad Republic, 1981; 201 Presidential Security Unit 1987/1988; Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Secretariat as Military Liaison Officer, 1995-1999; ECOWAS Operations in Sierra Leone as Commander 1999-2000; and Nigeria’s Defence Adviser to Pakistan with concurrent accreditation to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States, February 2003 to February 2006.
He is the Chancellor of University of Ibadan, the President-General of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), The President-General Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and Leader of Nigerian Muslims, Co-Chairman of Nigeria Inter-Religious Council; Chairman, National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, etc. His is a recipient of honorary degrees from University of Benin, Ahmadu Bello University, University of Ibadan, University of Abuja, Usmanu Danfodio University, Lagos State University, Anambra State Unive
Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III Biography
Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar was born on August 24, 1956 at Sokoto, Sokoto State. He attended Sultan Ward Primary School, Sokoto and Barewa College, Zaria before proceeding to Nigerian Defense Academy, in 1975 for the Regular Combatant Course and was commissioned Second Lieutenant on December 17, 1977 into the Nigerian Army Armoured Corps. He retired as Brigadier General on December 30, 2006 after 31 years service in the military, upon appointment as Sultan of Sokoto.
Former Brigadier General Sa’ad Abubakar, or “Sada”, as he is called in Sokoto, is however not a man of crisis. As a matter of fact, he spent many of his 31 years in the military as a peacekeeper. He commanded a battalion of African peacekeepers in Chad during the early 1980s as part of the Organisation of African Unity’s force and was military liaison officer for the West African regional body Ecowas in the mid 1990s. Later he served in Ecowas’ peacekeeping force when it intervened in Sierra Leone’s bloody civil war, leading a tank battalion.
Sa’ad Abubakar began his military career in 1975 and was commissioned a second lieutenant two years later. Since then he has served in the elite Armoured Corps. He has done extensive military training overseas including in India, Canada and headed a presidential security unit of the Armoured Corps that guarded then military ruler General Ibrahim Babangida in late 1980s.
Sir Abubakar’s family is highly popular with the ordinary people in Sokoto, who will accept almost anyone from that family. And a close military associate of his has described him as “strong willed, blunt, a very good soldier, a strict disciplinarian, and a man who holds strong opinions on all issues”.
A soldier, a diplomat, a religious leader, a traditional ruler, and a peace maker, Alh. Dr. Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III. CFR, MNI, the son of Sultan Abubakar III, the son of Malam Usman, the Son of Sultan Muazu, the Son of Sultan Bello, the Son of Shehu Danfodiyo is today the 20th Sultan of Sokoto of the Sultan Bello Branch of Shehu family.
He was a Brigadier General in the Nigeria Army. He is currently an important bridge builder between Nigerian Muslims and other religious groups especially Christians. He travelled widely both in Nigeria and foreign countries preaching peace and unity among different inclinations. He undertook the publication and widespread of many literary work written by scholars of Sokoto Caliphate. He also undertook the repairs and rehabilitation of many Historical sites and locations scattered all over the Sultanate domain.
He is the President General of the Islamic Affairs in Nigeria and spiritual leader of Nigerian Muslims. He is the chairman of Juna’atul Nasil Islam (JNI), a leading religious organization in Nigeria in charge of propagation and enlightenment of Islamic Religion in its real philosophy, drawn largely from the teachings of the Holy Prophet (SAW) and the caliphs after him. His inner council supervises the establishment, repairs and administration of religious activities in his domain including mosques, organizations, schools and tombs. He is also in charge of appointment and coordination of Imams and adhans in mosques. He also coordinates the activities of moon sighting and Islamic calendar for religious worships.
As a religious leader, the Sultan settles disputes that might arise among organizations and matters of worship and also alms giving or family matters of marriages and inheritance. He ensures the eradication of illegalities and injustices in commercial activities and trades especially in local markets by appointing officers to monitor commodity scales and measures. The sultan is usually assisted in these matters by his Council, District and Village Heads and other traditional and religious title holders and subordinates.
According to Sokoto tradition, “Sultan” or “Caliph” is usually referred a political and religious leader of a Muslim “State”. Before Colonial era in Nigeria (1804-1903), the sultan administered the Sokoto Caliphate referred to by historians as that area consisting old kingdoms of Hausa land and beyond largely in the present Northern Nigeria, Northern Cameroon, old Oyo Empire, present Republic of Niger, French territories of Northern Burkina Fasso, Chad, and some enclaves in Mali and Benin. It also consisted some areas of what was held by powerful Hausa kingdoms of Kabbi, Zamfara and Gobir.
In all these kingdoms and territories taken by the Caliphate, the Sultan was regarded as the political and religious leader. He administered the caliphate through the Emirs he appointed and the war commanders he issued with flags called the flag bearers. He sent his representatives to attend important events in all the territories and settle major disputes. The Emirs paid allegiance to him as their leader. They received flags from him as symbol of power to ensure the caliphate authority in their respective jurisdiction. In turn, the Emirs appointed key positions like Imams, khadis, police heads, etc in their areas with Sultan’s approval. This was the practice until 1902 when the British colonial officers invaded the caliphate and took over the political administration of those territories and made them provinces.
Notwithstanding, the Emirs were however recognized as Native Heads in their domains. The colonial administrators introduced a system of administration (NA) whereby the Emir was the Head of a colonial province, while a colonial commissioner and administrative officers were the provincial administration.
The Sultan at Sokoto was recognized by that system as the ‘Emir’ only in the Sokoto province. This continued until Nigeria’s independence in 1960 and so many changes were introduced in the constitution that affected and reduced the power of the sultan.
However, despite those colonial changes and constitutional reforms, the Sultan of Sokoto continued today as the leaders of traditional rulers in Northern Nigeria. The Emirs continued to pay allegiance and great respect to the sultan as their spiritual head. He also continued to lead them in all religious and traditional matters and in matters relating to political administration of Nigeria as advisory body. The sultan also leads other traditional rulers in consultations with other religious groups during meetings, conferences and religious gatherings both national and international for peace tranquility and progress of Nigeria.