By Suleiman Kassim,
Increasing criticism by major stakeholders in the country including religious and traditional leaders on the state of the nation is becoming appalling. In a seeming quest to add a voice to the many vituperations on security challenges facing the country, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Saád Abubakar III recently asserted that a “government that cannot protect lives and property lacks justification to remain in office”. Unashamedly, the Sultan, by his actions and comments, has remained a staunch opposition member whose partisan disposition is no longer hidden. With large followership, he is a religious leader whose words are revered and should never be seen as biased or taking sides. Is this not suggestive of a call for regime change? Is this not an invitation to anarchy? It is embarrassing to the Sultanate Council that instead of uniting the people, he is dividing and causing discordance. Should someone who bears Eminence as part of his title not really be decorous in conduct? The Sultan and other politicking traditional rulers should have learnt lessons from the Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s saga if they were intelligent but nay, the stubborn fly will always follow the corpse into the grave.
It is no longer a secret that the Sultan and Ruler of the esteemed Sokoto caliphate has become the mouthpiece of the opposition. This explains the recurrent flare to always castigate the government every slightest chance he gets. The action of the Sultan is highly indicative of dirty politricks to malign the Buhari government and curry sympathy in favour of the opposition party he supports with 2023 around the corner. It is saddening and worrisome that the sacredness of our religious institutions is gradually been eroded by individuals who now carelessly dabble into politics and set aside their core roles of giving spiritual guidance and hope. As the spiritual curator that the Sultan is, how many times has he organised lectures and sensitisation campaigns to enlighten Muslim faithful about the dangers of fanaticism and zealotry? This is important especially that the majority of these unscrupulous individuals claim to be Muslims.
Why is there absolutely no record of him ever encouraging residents to work with or provide information to security agencies? It is also curious that the Sultan never voiced out at the peak of Boko Haram/ISIS terrorism during President Goodluck Jonathan administration. In Sokoto state, the seat of the caliphate and its neighbouring states, thousands have been killed and displaced by bandits, but there was never a time he lamented the failure of his Governor and Local Government authorities to provide effective leadership. Or are we still in doubt about who his sponsors are? He and his governor are in mutual support of each other. He should have known, as a retired security officer that governance is not solely the responsibility of the central government.
However, while thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are looking for food, he was at the forefront of celebrating the distribution of expensive vehicles to Zamfara state’s traditional rulers. What have been his contributions to the security of his State and Nigeria as a whole? How many vehicles or security equipment has he bought or donated to enhance security in his state? How has he promoted successes recorded by Nigerian forces in the fight against terrorism and insecurity or is he blind to the positive and sees only the negative? Yet he comes out to claim sympathy to the plight of innocent Nigerians. Such disgusting hypocrisy.
Let it be known that Nigerians understand the desperation by politicians to clinch power in 2023; a reason the Sultan has become a willing tool in their hands. He is at home at opposition Government houses. It is a known fact who his paymasters are. When the Sultan is not supporting Tambuwal, he is supporting Wike or Ortom and decides to turn blind eye to their failings. This is indeed bad politics. But while at this, it is only decent to play by the rules rather than engaging in misadventures that further divides us as a nation. Yes, the country is facing security challenges but the situation should not be exploited to at the detriment of national security. Religious and traditional leaders serve as symbols of hope, dignity, unity and must distance themselves from politics and its schemes. Instead of criticizing and blaming the central government, the Sultan and other traditional/religious leaders should all do their part to ensure a peaceful, united and indissoluble country in which we can all sleep with our eyes closed. The politicisation of our Sultanate and Emirate councils must stop now!
Suleiman Kassim, a public commentator writes from Kebbi state.