|Biographical detail : ||The Sultan of Sokoto, respected for his gentle diplomacy.
The spiritual leader of Muslims in Nigeria and Niger, Alhaji Muhammadu Maccido Abubakar III, 19th Sultan of Sokoto, who held the position since April 1996, was revered as a primacy over all emirs, across a large swathe of West Africa.
Sokoto is Nigeria’s centre for Islamic learning and the Sultan of Sokoto, President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, leads the country’s 70m Muslims, though his authority depends on political leeway given to him by politicians, including the president.
The Sultan was looked up for leadership and guidance. Though not a religious leader himself the Sultan was consulted for important issues facing the region’s Muslims such as announcing the timing of Ramadan.
Muhammadu Maccido will be remembered for his intervention to end the sporadic clashes that break out between Nigeria’s Muslims and Christians and for stemming the tide of a movement in Northern Nigeria towards the strict imposition of sharia law.
A simple man, Muhammadu Maccido was born in the village of Dange, near Sokoto, and a descent from Shehu Usman Dan Fodio, founder of the Sokoto caliphate in the 19th century. Muhammadu Maccido died in a plane crash near Abuja.