By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Sa‘ad Abubakar, became 64 on Monday 24th August 2020. Hundreds of well-wishers have paid homage to the topmost Nigerian traditional ruler as he marks the occasion.
In its goodwill message, the Nigerian Islamic human rights association described Sultan Abubakar as cerebral, uncommon and totally detribalised. MURIC’s goodwill message was contained in a press release signed by the director of the organisation, Professor Ishaq Akintola on Wednesday, 26th August 2020.
The statement reads:
“We join millions of Nigerians to celebrate a unique leader, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammadu Sa‘ad Abubakar, as he turns 64.
“Sultan Abubakar is a cerebral, dynamic, uncommon and totally detribalised leader. He accommodates all regardless of ethnicity or creed. He thinks more of the whole country than of Sokoto Sultanate. Instead of leading a sedentary existence or exhibiting armchair leadership, the Sultan has been highly mobile. From Enugu to Nguru, from Oshogbo to Kaura-Namoda, the Sultan has left his foot print on the Nigerian architectural discuss. Consequently, he has enjoyed nation-wide love and confidence among all which no Sultan before him ever enjoyed.
“More fascinating is the manner he has closed the gap between the adherents of Christianity and Islam. His level of religious tolerance is nulli secundus. His cool-headedness in the face of provocation is legend. Sultan Abubakar’s sense of humour is numero uno. He can collect candy from a hungry lion. Yet behind the calm façade is a tactician and a fearless strategist primus inter pareil.
“Nigerian Muslims have gained a lot from his leadership and the religion of Islam has made tremendous progress under him. Perhaps his greatest gift is his ability to mobilise stakeholders at different levels and locations for various developmental purposes. Sultan Abubakar is an achiever, a quintessential leader, an embodiment of visionary mentorship and a personification of nationalistic propensity.
“We therefore charge Nigerian Muslims to remain loyal to the central leadership and to shun all irredentist elements and ethnic jingoists with their misleading ideology of North-South dichotomy and a non-existent inferiority cum superiority complex. Those who tell you that Northern Muslims despise you only wish to divide us. Their intention is to weaken Islamdom. Stop listening to them.
“It is not the business of non-Muslims to tell us that some Muslims hate us. It is a trick used by those who deny Southern Muslims their Allah-given fundamental human rights. They wish to divert your attention from their monopoly of the dividends of democracy. We remind Muslims in the Southern part of Nigeria that Islam is ethnicity-blind. Muslims are one nation as Islam recognises no geographical boundaries.
“There is no difference between a Northern and a Southern Muslim. The Glorious Qur’an says, ‘Verily indeed this brotherhood of yours is a single brotherhood and I am your Lord. Therefore, worship Me’ (Qur’an 21:92). Southern Muslims should also note that the hadith forbids al-Jannah for any Muslim who dies while promoting ethnicity above the religion of Islam.
“We must make our number count by remaining united and by speaking with one voice. Nigerian Muslims have never had it so good because we now have a leader who is very active and he is accepted by all. We should therefore rally behind him and ignore those who appeal to tribal sentiment.
“We beseech Almighty Allah to continue to protect and bless Sultan Muhammad Sa‘ad Abubakar as well as members of his family. We pray for long life on the throne for him in an atmosphere of peace, tranquility and progress. Age with grace, the Sultan of the people.”