Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto was born on 24 August 1956 in Sokoto. He attended the Sutan Ward Primary School, Sokoto and Barewa College, Zaria. He began his military career in 1975 when he enlisted into the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna as a member of 18 Regular Combatant Course. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant on 17 December 1977 into the Armoured Corps.
During his military career, the Sultan attended various professional courses and seminars in Nigeria and abroad. Some of these included the Canadian Land Force Command and Staff College in 1922 and the Senior Executive Course 28 at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) between February and November 2006. The title of his research paper at NIPSS AS “Religious Extremism as a National Security Problem: Strategies for Sustainable Solutions”.
Sultan Abubakar, as a military officer, held various appointments in command and staff positions, which included the African Union (AU) peacekeeping Operations in Chad Republic (1981-182), Presidential Security Unit (1987/1988) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Secretariat as Military Liaison Officer (1995-1999). Others are ECOWAS Operations in Sierra Leone as Commander in Freetown (1999-2000) and Nigeria’s Defense Adviser to Pakistan with concurrent accreditation to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States from February 2003 to February 2006. He retired from the Nigerian Army as a Brigadier General in 2006, after 31 years of meritorious service to the nation.
During his military service, Alhaji Mohammad Sa’ad Abubakar was decorated with the Forces Service Star (FSS), Meritorious Service Star (MSS), Distinguished Service Star (DSS), Silver Jubilee Medal (SJM), General Service Medal (GSM) OAU Medal (Chad) and ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) Medal (Sierra Leone).
Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar ascended the throne of his forefathers as the 20th Sultan of Sokoto on 2 November 2006, following the sudden and tragic death of his elder brother, Alhaji Muhammad Maccido in a plane crash. In his capacity as Sultan, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar is the Amir al-Muminin (Commander of the Faithful) and the spiritual leader of all Muslims in Nigeria. He is also the President General of Joma’atu Nasril Island (JNI), President General Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) as well as the co-chairman Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC).
In addition to his spiritual leadership positions, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar is currently the Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He was conferred with the third highest National Honour of Commander of the order of the Federal Republic (CFR) in 2007. He is also a recipient of Honourary Degrees from the University of Benin, University of Abuja, Lagos State University and Anambra State University.
Sultan Abubakar’s role as a bridge builder in promoting harmonious co-existence between Christians and Muslims and between the northern and southern parts of the country, coupled with his friendly disposition and accommodation for all, is widely acknowledged. These attributes have gone a long way to provide the much needed tonic for national unity and cohesion. His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto is happily married with children.
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