Does the Sul­tan need N700 mil­lion house in Abuja?

Daily Trust - - PHOTO NEWS -

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 In­terReli­gious 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 alSiyasa.

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.

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