By Taiwo Amodu
Former Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki, died on Monday at the age of 93. He was buried yesterday, in accordance with Islamic injunction. He was the 18th Sultan and father of the embattled former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki.
The late Sultan lived an eventful life, as administrator par excellence, consummate businessman and influential traditional ruler. Indeed, the fact that he was educated was a great impetus, which assisted him tremendously in his early career as a civil servant.
Dasuki attended Dogondaji Elementary School before proceeding to Sokoto Middle School in 1935. He finished his secondary education at Barewa College on sponsorship from Sokoto Native Authority. After finishing high school in 1943, he worked as a clerk in the treasury office of the Sokoto Native Authority. In 1945, he took up appointment with Gaskiya Corporation, a publishing house that published the Hausa daily, Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo. He joined the civil service as an executive officer and later became private secretary to Ahmadu Bello. In 1957, he filled the position of regional executive council deputy secretary and was sent to Jeddah as Nigeria’s pilgrimage officer.
Between 1960 and 1961, Dasuki worked in the Nigerian embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, and was later brought back to Nigeria by Ahmadu Bello to work in Jos, following which he became the permanent secretary in the regional Ministry of Local Government.
The late Sultan had his indelible imprint in some of the major reforms undertaken by government. In 1984, he was appointed chairman of the Committee for the Review of Local Government Administration in Nigeria. The government was concerned with the objective of recommending ideas on how to curb the meddlesomeness of state governments in local government affairs and how the third tier of government could encourage rural development.
One of the major recommendations of his committee was the establishment of a national local government commission, which was later turned down by the government.
Dasuki was also an influential figure in the 1988 Constituent Assembly. At the conference, he was seen as a rallying point for the core north.
Ascension to the throne and banishment
Following the death of Abubakar Siddique, the 17th Sultan of Sokoto on November 1, 1988, Dasuki was among the leading contenders to become the new Sultan. The exalted traditional position was keenly sought after, in a contest that pitted him against influential opponents, like Shehu Malami and Muhammadu Maccido.
Maccido was the son of Abubakar Siddique and was perceived to be popular among the people in Sokoto. However, Dasuki was close to the administration of General Ibrahim Babangida.
On December 6, 1988, he was announced as the new Sultan. This pronouncement by the Federal Government led to a sustained rioting in the ancient city, which lasted for five days and led to loss of lives and properties.
The late Sultan initiated certain programmes to endear himself to the Sokoto populace. He built 10 Quaranic schools in 1990 and established an adult literacy class. He also tried to unite the Muslim Ummah through the reorganisation of Jama’atu Nasril Islam and the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA). He was instrumental to the appointment of the late Lateef Adegbite from Ogun State as secretary general of NSCIA. There was a crack in the NSCIA, however, which led to formation of a parallel umbrella body for Muslim Ummah, the Grand Council for Islamic Affairs of Nigeria (GCIAN) under the leadership of the late Are Musulumi of Yorubaland, Arisekola Alao.
In 1996, after eventful eight years on the throne, he was deposed as the Sultan by the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, and banished. He was flown to Yola, in present- day Adamawa State and then taken to Jalingo, where he was placed in exile.
The Abacha military government later installed Muhammadu Maccido (now late) as the new Sultan. According to the then military administrator of Sokoto State, Yakubu Muazu, various reasons were advanced for the banishment of Dasuki. He was accused of causing enmity among the people and among the royal family, ignoring government directives and traveling outside his domain without approval or notice from the government.
However, eminent Nigerians have continued to speak about Dasuki in glowing terms, since the announcement of his demise. Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, in a message in a post, via his official Facebook page, described the late Sultan as a bridge builder, who was committed to fostering unity in the country.
He said: “I remember His Eminence, former Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki, as a bridge builder and father figure, who was ever committed to fostering unity in Nigeria. He lived a long and purposeful life and will be greatly missed. My condolences to his family. May the Almighty grant him al Jannah Firdaus. GEJ.”