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Sokoto gov tackles Shettima, as assembly moves to strip Sultan’s powers

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Sokoto gov tackles Shettima, as assembly moves to strip Sultan’s powers

Ahmed Aliyu, the Sokoto State Governor, has cautioned Vice President, Kashim Shettima to always cross-check his facts before commenting on sensitive national matters.

The advice by the Sokoto governor came in the wake of Shettima’s warning against an alleged attempt by the Sokoto State government to dethrone the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III.

The governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Abubakar Bawa, noted that Shettima as the Number Two citizen, an elder statesman and a father to all ought to have “a full knowledge on issues of national concern before commenting on them.”

Recall that on Monday, the Executive Director of the Muslim Rights Council, Prof. Isiaq Akintola, raised the alarm that the Sokoto State government was planning to depose the Sultan.

Akintola cited the removal of 15 traditional rulers for various offences by Governor Aliyu in April, warning that Nigerian Muslims would reject any hostile actions against Sultan, who is the Nigerian Muslim spiritual leader.

The warning by MURIC came against the backdrop of the removal of the Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, by the Kano State governor in May.

Apparently reacting to the alarm raised by MURIC, the Vice President, speaking on Monday at the North-West Peace and Security Summit in Katsina State, warned against any negative move against the Sultan.

Shettima said, “In all developmental issues in this country, His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, I want to use him as a point of reference to recognise and appreciate all our royal fathers present here.

“And to the Deputy Governor of Sokoto, I have a simple message for you: Yes, the Sultan is the Sultan of Sokoto, but he is much more than that; he represents an idea, he is an institution that all of us in this country need to jealousy guard, protect, promote, preserve and project for the growth of our nation.”

However, the governor, in a late Monday night meeting, described the claim by MURIC as false and baseless and expressed displeasure at the Vice President for commenting based on it.

“This is coming in the wake of recent pronouncement made by the Vice President in Katsina regarding the false story circulating that the Ahmed Aliyu-led administration is planning to remove Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar,” the governor said in the statement.

“We sincerely expected the Vice President to have consulted the governor before going public.

“The state government urges Vice President Shettima as No. 2 citizen to have full knowledge on issues of national concern before commenting on them.

“As an elder statesman and a father to all, he should have facts and figures before judging issues raised by mischief makers and the mushroom social media handlers known for negative propaganda.

“The fact of the matter is that there was never any attempt to sack the Sultan nor have we sent him any threat regarding that.”

The governor said the Sultan enjoyed all the powers he was entitled to, emphasising that, “we never denied him any of his freedom or rights.”

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The statement continued, “We, therefore, do not need to be told to guard, protect, and promote the Sultan; it is our sole responsibility.

“The government and the people of Sokoto cherish and adore the Sultanate Council and would do everything possible to protect the dignity of the revered institution.

“The government to this end reassures all Nigerians that, it will continue to protect the Sultanate Council and its dignity at all times,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, former Vice President and the presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday, urged governors to accord the necessary respect to the traditional institutions in the country.

Atiku, in a statement by his media office, expressed concern over the recent trend of state governments increasingly interfering in the traditional processes of appointing monarchs in the country.

“While it is understandable that the institutions of traditional rulership are in the exclusive purview of the state government, although through the local government authorities, it must be established that traditional institutions constitute a component of our governance structure.

“And thus, traditional institutions must be protected from the arbitrariness of state governments that threaten their stability.

“When the structure of ascension of traditional rulers is unstable, it will become equally difficult to maintain peace and orderliness in communities,” Atiku said.

He called for an amendment to the constitution to give recognition to traditional rulers.

He said, “Although our constitution, in its current format, does not ascribe any recognition to traditional institutions, yet our experiences show clearly that they perform enormous roles in the economic life of their domains, as well as maintenance of peace and security in communities.

“It is, therefore, on this basis that I lean towards the advocacy that calls for constitutional reform that will not just recognise traditional institutions in our body of laws but also define the responsibilities of their offices.

“This reform is even more important in view of the collective drive to stem the ugly tide of terrorism and sundry security challenges at the local levels.

“In conclusion, I must also appeal to state governors to accord the necessary respect to the traditional institutions. The customs that our traditional rulers represent are the totality of our heritage as a people.”

Sokoto Assembly moves to strip Sultan’s powers

Meanwhile, the Sokoto State House of Assembly has passed the Sokoto Emirate Council Amendment Bill through the first and second readings.

The amendment bill, if passed into law, will strip the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, of powers to appoint the kingmakers and to appoint district heads without government approval, among other things.

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