Friday, July 19, 2024

Shettima and PDP Warn Following Sokoto’s Denial of Anti-Sultan Plot Allegations

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On Monday, Vice President Kashim Shettima and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) raised concerns over an alleged plot purportedly hatched by the Sokoto State government to depose the revered Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III. These anxieties surfaced in the wake of recent events, notably the contentious removal of the Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, by the governor of Kano State earlier in the year, which had stirred considerable unease regarding the stability and autonomy of traditional leadership structures in northern Nigeria.

Contrary to these apprehensions, the Sokoto State government vehemently refuted any intentions to tamper with the Sultan’s position. Sambo Danchadi, the State Commissioner for Information, clarified that the existing laws governing the appointment and tenure of traditional rulers in Sokoto remained unchanged, and there were no ongoing efforts to dethrone the Sultan.

Despite these reassurances, the Executive Director of the Muslim Rights Council (MURIC), Prof. Isiaq Akintola, sounded the alarm over what he perceived as potential threats to the Sultan. Citing the recent dismissal of 15 traditional rulers by Sokoto State Governor Ahmed Aliyu in April, Akintola cautioned that these actions might serve as a prelude to more drastic measures against the Sultan.

Akintola stressed the Sultan’s pivotal role not only as a traditional leader but also as a central religious figure for Nigerian Muslims. “Any move against the Sultan would be vehemently opposed by Nigerian Muslims,” he warned, pointing to what he described as a strained relationship between the governor and the Sultan. He urged restraint from the governor, emphasizing the need to uphold and respect the traditional institution.

MURIC underscored the potential repercussions of any attempt to remove the Sultan, cautioning, “There are indications suggesting that the governor might move against the Sultan of Sokoto soon, using any excuse similar to those used for the dismissal of the 15 traditional rulers earlier.” The organization advised the governor to proceed cautiously, acknowledging, “The Sultan’s role transcends mere tradition; it encompasses significant religious responsibilities. He serves as the spiritual leader for all Nigerian Muslims.”

Echoing these sentiments, Vice President Shettima emphasized the Sultan’s broader significance during the North-West Peace and Security Summit in Katsina State. He urged the Sokoto government to recognize the Sultan as more than a local leader, highlighting his role as a national institution. “In all matters of development in this country, His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, stands as a symbol of reference and appreciation for all our royal fathers gathered here,” Shettima remarked.

Directly addressing the Sokoto Deputy Governor, Shettima reiterated, “The Sultan isn’t just a regional figure; he represents an idea, an institution that all Nigerians must safeguard, promote, preserve, and project for the betterment of our nation.”

Responding to MURIC’s concerns, the Sokoto State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party issued a stern warning to the state government. Hassan Sanyinnawal, the party’s spokesman, affirmed their readiness to oppose any attempts to remove the Sultan from his position. He noted the PDP’s scrutiny of recent dismissals of district heads and hinted at potential legal actions if deemed necessary. “We urge the state government to desist from any move to depose the Sultan from his position. During their campaign, they may have chanted ‘new governor, new Sultan,’ but they must abandon such notions,” Sanyinnawal insisted.

He continued, emphasizing, “The Sultan of Sokoto isn’t merely a traditional ruler; he is also the leader of the Muslim Ummah in our country. Any attempt to oust him will be met with staunch resistance from every Nigerian.”

The evolving situation underscores the delicate balance between political authority and traditional institutions in Nigeria. It highlights the imperative of navigating these complexities with prudence to prevent exacerbating tensions within the region. As stakeholders monitor developments closely, the fundamental role of the Sultan of Sokoto as both a custodian of tradition and a unifying figure in Nigeria remains a focal point of national concern and vigilance.

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