Sa'adu Abubakar

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Muhammadu Sa'ad Abubakar CFR
Amir al-Mu'minin
Sa'adu Abubakar -Sultan of Sokoto.jpg
Sultan of Sokoto
Reign2 November 2006 – present
PredecessorMuhammadu Maccido
Heir apparentNo specific heir apparent in the Sokoto Caliphate
Born (1956-08-24) 24 August 1956 (age 65)
Sokoto, Northern Region,
British Nigeria
Muhammad Sa'adu Abubakar
Regnal name
Muhammadu Sa'ad Abubakar
FatherSir Siddiq Abubakar III
ReligionSunni Islam
Military career
Allegiance Nigeria
Service/branchFlag of the Nigerian Army Headquarters.svg Nigerian Army
Years of service1977–2006
RankNigeria-Army-OF-6.svg Brigadier General

Muhammadu Sa'ad Abubakar (Arabic: محمد سعد أبو بكر), CFR (born 24 August 1956) is the 20th Sultan of Sokoto. As Sultan of Sokoto, he is considered the spiritual leader of Northern Nigeria's Muslims, the majority of the nation's population.[1]

Abubakar is the heir to the two century-old throne founded by his ancestor, Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio (1754–1817) leader of the Maliki school of Islam and the Qadiri branch of Sufism.[1]

The Sokoto Caliphate leaders are partly Arabs and partly Fulani as stated by Abdullahi dan Fodio, brother of Usman dan Fodio who claimed that their family are part Fulani, and part Arabs, they claimed to descend from the Arabs through Uqba ibn Nafi who was an Arab Muslim of the Umayyad branch of the Quraysh, and hence, a member of the family of the Prophet, Uqba ibn Nafi allegedly married a Fulani woman called Bajjumangbu through which the Torodbe family of Usman dan Fodio descended.[2] Caliph Muhammed Bello writing in his book Infaq al-Mansur claimed descent from Muhammad through his paternal grandmother's lineage called Hawwa (mother of Usman dan Fodio), Alhaji Muhammadu Junaidu, Wazirin Sokoto, a scholar of Fulani history, restated the claims of Shaykh Abdullahi bin Fodio in respect of the Danfodio family been part Arabs and part Fulani, while Ahmadu Bello in his autobiography written after independence replicated Caliph's Muhammadu Bello claim of descent from the Arabs through Usman Danfodio's mother, the historical account indicates that the family of Shehu dan Fodio are partly Arabs and partly Fulani who culturally assimilated with the Hausas and can be described as Hausa-Fulani Arabs. Prior to the beginning of the 1804 Jihad the category Fulani was not important for the Torankawa (Torodbe), their literature reveals the ambivalence they had defining Torodbe-Fulani relationships. They adopted the language of the Fulbe and much ethos while maintaining a separate identity.[3] The Toronkawa clan at first recruited members from all levels of Sūdānī society, particularly the poorer people.[4] Toronkawa clerics included people whose origin was Fula, Wolof, Mande, Hausa and Berber. However, they spoke the Fula language, married into Fulbe families, and became the Fulbe scholarly caste.[5]

Early life[edit]


Sa'adu Abubakar was born on August 24, 1956, in Sokoto, the youngest son of the 17th Sultan, Sir Siddiq Abubakar III, who held the Sultanate for over fifty years.[6]


He attended Barewa College in Zaria and proceeded to the Nigerian Defence Academy in 1975 where he was a member of the 18th Regular Course.[7]

Military career[edit]

Abubakar was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1977 and served in the elite Armoured Corps. He headed a presidential security unit of the Armoured Corps that guarded then military ruler General Ibrahim Babangida in the late 1980s. Abubakar also commanded a battalion of African peacekeepers in Chad during the early 1980s as part of the Organisation of African Unity's force and was military liaison officer for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the mid 1990s.[8]

He was appointed Commanding Officer 241 Recce Battalion, Kaduna in 1993.[7] From 1995 to 1999, he was ECOWAS military liaison officer and commanding officer, 231 Tank Battalion (ECOMOG Operations) in Sierra Leone from 1999 to 2000.[7] From 2003 to 2006, he served as Defence Attaché to Pakistan (also accredited for Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan)[7] and retired as a Brigadier-General.[9]

Sultan of Sokoto[edit]

On 2 November 2006, Abubakar ascended the throne following the death of his brother, Muhammadu Maccido, who died on ADC Airlines Flight 53.[10]

Titles and honours[edit]

As the Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar is the leader of the Qadiriyya sufi order, which is the most important Muslim position in Nigeria and senior to the Emir of Kano, the leader of the most populous Tijaniyya sufi order.[11] He is also the head of Jama'atu Nasril Islam (Society for the Support of Islam – JNI), and president-general of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).[12]

In 2015, Muhammadu Sa'ad Abubakar IV was listed among the 10 recipients of the maiden edition of the Global Seal of Integrity (GSOI), an annual list which is compiled and authored by two young Nigerians, Emmanuel Josh Omeiza and Godspower Oshodin, under the Global Youth Coalition for Integrity, for promoting integrity among the people and consequently promoting the well-being of the Universe.

On 22 August 2019, he was appointed as Co-Moderator of the Council of Religion for Peace (CRP).


  1. ^ a b CFR, mni--sultan-sokoto The Muslim 500: "Amirul Mu’minin Sheikh as Sultan Muhammadu Sa’adu Abubakar" Archived June 25, 2014, at the Wayback Machine retrieved May 15, 2014
  2. ^ Abubakar, Aliyu (2005). The Torankawa Danfodio Family. Kano,Nigeria: Fero Publishers.
  3. ^ Ibrahim, Muhammad (1987). The Hausa-Fulani Arabs: A Case Study of the Genealogy of Usman Danfodio. Kadawa Press.
  4. ^ Willis, John Ralph (April 1978). "The Torodbe Clerisy: A Social View". The Journal of African History. Cambridge University Press. 19 (2): 195. doi:10.1017/s0021853700027596. JSTOR 181598. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  5. ^ Ajayi, Jacob F. Ade (1989). Africa in the Nineteenth Century Until the 1880s. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-03917-9. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  6. ^ "The Sokoto Caliphate and its legacies". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d Chiama, Paul. "From Barracks To Royalty: 6 Prominent Ex-Military Officers Now Royal Fathers". Leadership Nigeria. Archived from the original on July 25, 2015. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  8. ^ "From Nigerian soldier to Sultan of Sokoto". November 2, 2006. Archived from the original on May 13, 2014. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  9. ^ "Profile Of A Sultan As A Young Man". Daily Trust (Nigeria). Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  10. ^ "Nigeria gets new Islamic leader". November 2, 2006. Archived from the original on September 9, 2017. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  11. ^ All Africa: "Nigeria: Updated – Kano Blasts Claim Over 60" By Ismail Mudashir Archived February 4, 2015, at the Wayback Machine November 28, 2014
  12. ^ Paden, John N. (2008). Faith and politics in Nigeria. Washington, DC: US Institute of Peace Press. pp. 32f. ISBN 978-1-60127-029-0.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Sultan of Sokoto
November 2, 2006–current
Succeeded by