Fresh facts emerged yesterday showing why Sokoto State Governor, Anmed Alliyu, might be plotting to depose the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, or whittle down the latter’s powers.

The move, which has stirred tension in the northern part of the country and among the Muslim community, came barely a month after the Kano State House of Assembly reviewed the state’s Emirate Law, paving the way for the dethronement of five Emirs, including Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, and the reinstatement of Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

Kano, meanwhile, is yet to recover from several aftershocks that have rocked the state following the historical upset. The alleged plan by Aliyu to tamper with the Sokoto State Traditional Council Law has drawn reactions from Vice President Kashim Shettima, who advised the state administration to be circumspect in handling relationships with the Sultan.

The Sultan is the head of the National Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA). At the ongoing North West Peace and Security Summit in Katsina State yesterday, the Vice President described the Sultanate as “an institution that all of us in this country need to guard jealously, promote, protect and preserve for the growth of our nation.”

He said: “Our father, who is a permanent figure in all developmental issues in this country, his Eminence the Sultan of Sokoto; | want to use him as my point of reference to recognise and appreciate all our royal fathers here. And to the Deputy Governor of Sokoto, | have a simple message for you. Yes, the Sultan of Sokoto is the Sultan, but he is much more than that. He represents an idea.”

Concerns that the Sultan’s seat was under threat followed a report that the governor had obtained the approval of the state executive council to forward a bill to the Sokoto State House of Assembly, seeking to amend the existing law on appointment and deposition of traditional heads.

The bill seeks to strip the Sultan of the power to appoint, suspend, punish, or transfer any traditional ruler, and vest the same in the governor.

The Guardian investigation revealed there had been no love lost between Governor Aliyu and the Sultan, who has been accused of allegedly failing to support Aliyu’s governorship bid since 2019.

When contacted, spokesperson for the governor, Abubakar Bawa, declined comment on the matter and ended the phone conversation with The Guardian.

It was gathered that the current move by the governor against the Sultan trailed the outcome of the 2019 governorship election in the state where he was defeated by former governor Aminu Tambuwal.

It was gathered that the governor is still offended that the Sultan allegedly backed Tambuwal, besides other allegations that the Muslim leader made many moves that undermined the incumbent’s authority.

Tambuwal, who contested under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), polled 512,002 votes to beat the current governor who was the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), and garnered 511,660 votes.

Recall that the governor was a onetime deputy to Tambuwal. They fell apart after Tambuwal defected from the APC to the PDP prior to the 2019 poll.

A source close to Tambuwal told The Guardian that the incumbent governor and some of his supporters were still bitter over the 2019 contest.

The source said: “There have always been issues between the Sultan and the governor, which started in 2019. The Sultan has always been alleged to be backing the former governor, Tambuwal. There was even a time during the 2019 elections when APC members pelted Sultan’s house. The PDP, at that time, had nine strong people in the House of Assembly, and the APC saw the Sultan as number 10.

“Since that time, the people in APC said they would change the Sultan if they won. But APC didn’t win. Now, APC is in power. And looking at what is happening in Kano, which has proven that one can easily remove the Emir… The Sultan is still verv close to Tambuwal.”

The source also said part of what made the governor angry was when the renowned international Islamic scholar, Dr Zakir Naik, visited Sokoto, late last year, to take part in the 10th yearly Usman Danfodiyo Week celebration.

The Week is organised by the Sultanate Council to commemorate the life and death of the great Islamic reformer who founded the Sokoto Caliphate, Sheikh Usman Danfodiyo.

The source said the scholar was invited to Sokoto personally by the Sultan without informing the governor. He said: “The Sultan invited Zakir Naik in 2013, and 10 years later, Naik came back to Sokoto and the Sultan did not inform the governor. There was a video trending on social media where the Sultan allegedly said that he was the Sultan and under the law of Islam, he could invite any scholar to come and give a lecture. | think it was towards final day that the governor saw Naik.

“However, there is not much tension because most people know that Sokoto is not like Kano. The Sultan is a much respected person. Most people, even from the APC, will stand against it. They won’t let that happen. The Sultanate Council is about the lineage of Uthman Danfodio.”

It was gathered that Vice President Shettima, at about Ramadan, had intervened in the Cold War between the governor and Sultan.A source said the Vice President, who “came to Sokoto immediately after Sallah prayer, spoke to both of them. But what happened after the meeting was that the governor set up a committee to review allegations against some district heads. But surprisingly, an APC leader in the state chaired the committee, and its report led to the recent removal of 15 district heads by the governor.”


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