Monday, November 14, 2016

DEATH OF EX-SULTAN DASUKI: WE ARE DEVASTATED



15th November, 2016
PRESS RELEASE:
DEATH OF EX-SULTAN DASUKI: WE ARE DEVASTATED

The former Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki, died last night in a private hospital in Abuja. Born on 31st December, 1923, he was aged 93.    


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is deeply saddened by his death. He was a man of honour, an icon of no small measure and a great patriot.


We condole the current Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammadu Sa‘ad Abubakar III, the Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal and the people of Sokoto State for this great loss.


Although Islam has a fatalistic philosophy of death and the deceased was not even young at all, MURIC is devastated by the demise of ex-Sultan Dasuki because of the circumstances in which he died. He was deposed by the state military governor, Col. Yakubu Muazu, in 1996. He never regained the throne until his death a few hours ago.


As the 18th Sultan of Sokoto, the ex-Sultan was also the President-General of the NSCIA which is the umbrella organization of all Islamic organizations in Nigeria. It is most unfortunate that a state governor would possess the power to remove the head of all Nigerian Muslims. This is sad, preposterous and unacceptable.


We are therefore determined to ensure that no Sultan will taste such bitter cup of disgrace in future. It was monumental embarrassment and unmitigated disaster for Nigerian Muslims. Of course we know that the deposition of ex-Sultan Dasuki was politically motivated. The state governor simply obeyed orders from Sani Abacha, the late military dictator and former head of state.  


Article 7 (a) of the 1973 NSCIA Constitution confers the headship of the organization on the Sultan of Sokoto but, paradoxically, Section 6 CAP 21 of the Sokoto State Laws empowers the governor to dethrone the Sultan at will. But it must never happen again. It is quite obvious that the NSCIA Constitution and the Sokoto State Laws are at cross purposes.


Section 6 CAP 21 says inter alia:

       “The Governor after due enquiry and consultation with the
persons concerned in the selection, may depose any chief
or any head chief whether appointed before or after the
commencement of this law …in the interest of peace or order
or good government”


Thus, technically, Nigerian Muslims can be subjected to serious embarrassment and constitutional confusion whenever the governor of Sokoto State chooses to invoke this obnoxious section. Their national leader can be removed by the governor just by snapping his finger.


MURIC rejects this impunity. It is draconian, ridiculous and pernicious. It is a clog in the wheel of progress for Nigerian Muslims. The governor can have his way with any other traditional ruler in the state. The Sultan must be exempted unless the people of Sokoto State want to provoke Nigerian Muslims to call for a radical amendment of the NSCIA constitution. But we don’t see any need for that because the ruling Sultan is a blessing for the Ummah.


We therefore call on the Honourable Speaker of the Sokoto State House of Assembly to set the necessary machinery in motion to amend this obnoxious section. The current Sultan and his successors must be immuned against deposition by the state governor.


We suggest the insertion of the phrase ‘except the Sultan of Sokoto’ after the words ‘or any head chief’. It is so simple. All we need is for one honourable member of the House to raise the motion for the amendment of Section 6 CAP 21 for the insertion to be effected. We appeal to all stakeholders in Sokoto State not to delay the amendment for the sake of posterity. The political climate in Sokoto (and Abuja too) is favourable today. It may not be so tomorrow.


We call on Nigerian Muslims to be alert and politically conscious. Freedom cannot be enjoyed by the na├»ve and the myopic in society. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Can any Nigerian president remove the head of all Nigerian Christians? Can Buhari remove the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)? Then why should we allow such anomaly in Islamdom? Sokoto must seize the initiative before it is taken from its hands.  


On compassionate ground, MURIC appeals to President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately release Col. Sambo Dasuki, the son of the late ex-Sultan who is still in custody for his role in the $2.1 billion arms scandal, so that he can attend his father’s burial rites.


In conclusion, we pray for the repose of ex-Sultan Dasuki’s soul in Al-Jannah Firdaus. May Almighty Allah forgive him and protect everything left behind by him.


Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

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