Does the Sultan need N700 million house in Abuja?
By Abu Najakku
Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, the 19th Sultan of Sokoto, is the President-General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (SCIA) and the head of the Jama’atul Nasril Islam, which combine to make him Amirul Muminin, or leader of Nigeria’s Muslims. He was appointed to the throne on 2nd November, 2006 and succeeded his senior brother, Alhaji Muhammadu Maccido who died in a plane crash in Abuja.
Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar was a member of the 18th Regular Course of Nigeria’s foremost military institution, the Nigerian Defence Academy and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1977; until his appointment as the Sultan, he was a Brigadier General. Since his ascendancy, he has travelled to the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the Middle East and many other countries to speak about Nigeria’s Muslims as well as the legacy of piety, scholarship and administrative acumen of his forefathers led by the legendary Sheikh Uthman Dan Fodio.
Here at home, Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar has been a strong advocate of peace, communal harmony and religious tolerance. Lest I forget, he is also the co-chairman of Nigerian Inter-Religious Council which basically fosters continuing dialogue between Christians and Muslims. The Sultan has repeatedly condemned Boko Haram insurgency as anti-Islam and has told all those who kill in the name of religion that they are destined for hell. He has described begging as the trade of lazy persons rather than something encouraged by Islam. The Sultan has also dismissed the false alarm raised by those who continue to claim that there is a grand design to Islamise Nigeria.
However, in recent times, the Sultanate Council has been dogged by poisonous controversies that threaten to tarnish the good name of His Eminence. A couple of months ago, the cohesion and reputation of the Sultanate Council were put to the test by the bad blood generated by the altercation between the Sultan and Alhaji Hassan Danbaba, the Magajin Garin Sokoto, which exposed the Palace as a deal making, fortune seeking conclave. The Sultan had sought to make peace between two highly placed persons, one, his counsellor and the other a politician. The disclosure that a senior counsellor of the Sultanate had been invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to answer questions on a paid for but unexecuted contract in Taraba drew the attention of the public to some form of sharp practice that people never expected from those in the Palace. Mercifully, the Sultan demonstrated maximum maturity by refusing to offer any public comment on the infantile outbursts of Danbaba.
Nevertheless, the latest acts of skulduggery surrounding the purchase of a so called “befitting accommodation” for the Sultanate Council somewhere in Abuja by the Sokoto State government has horrified many Muslims. Several questions were raised when it was reported a couple of days ago that Alhaji Kabiru Tafida, a well-known fixer for the Sultan, was arrested and interrogated by the EFCC after it discovered that N700 million had been placed in his account by the Sokoto state government “for the purchase of a House for the Sultan in Abuja”. The EFCC asked why such a hefty amount of money was placed in the account of Tafida rather than “an estate agent or a contractor buying or building the house for the Sultan”. What service did Kabiru Tafida offer Sokoto state government to warrant him being credited with N700 million into his bank account?
If you recall the damaging statement made by Hassan Danbaba, quote: “A Sultan who commoditises Caliphate services with a price tag knows that I know his price, which I can as well afford, if I wanted his intervention (in alleged EFCC case)”, and now the allegation by the EFCC that “the suspect (Kabiru Tafida) has also been receiving huge funds from the government of Sokoto on behalf of the Sultan”, then we have an Amirul muminin whose reputation is headed for the gutter.
The real question is whether the Sultan really needs a house in Abuja and whether it makes common sense for the Sokoto state government to shell out a whopping N700 million for that purpose. What is it that the Sultan wants to do in private in Abuja that he cannot do in a Presidential guest house, the Sokoto state government house, the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs or the Jama’atil Nasril Islam facility?
To isolate the Sultan and corner N700 million of tax payers’ money to buy a house for his comfort is how not to learn from the revered founder of the Sokoto Caliphate? How about donating the N700 million to the victims of the recent flood in Butuku-Babba in Bodinga, Sokoto, who lost 115 houses, livestock, farmlands and farm produce for whom the governor has “approved some money” for relief, according to Hassan Maccido, the DG of Sokoto Emergency Management Agency? These citizens are not looking for “comfort” houses in Sokoto or Abuja; they just want to reconstruct their old mud houses destroyed by flood! How about bequeathing the N700 million to Nana Asma’u College of Medical Sciences being championed by Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar? How about investing the N700 million in Sokoto state’s education sector where an emergency was declared last year? How about using the N700 million to rehabilitate almajirai?
“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…….He must keep every locality in prosperity, construct fortresses and bridges, maintain markets and roads and realise for them ALL what are of public interest so that the proper order of their world may be maintained..” Sultan Muhammad Bello in Usul al-Siyasa.
Your Eminence, you are not a traditional ruler, you are a religious leader; please extricate yourself and Council from this scandal, don’t request and don’t collect this overpriced N700 million guest house from Sokoto state as you don’t really need it.
Source: Daily Trust