By Bashir Adefaka
In his article titled, “The candidate of the Sultan and the Yoruba pastor”, he describes himself in a kicker as a bonafide member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He is, however, more known to be one of those would-have-been president of Nigeria – this is by their attempts as aspirants….
He calls himself SKC Ogbonnia (who) reopened an already answered question about whether or not His Eminence Al-Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, of Sokoto Caliphate endorsed the candidacy of Labour Party (LP)’s Presidential Candidate in this month February 25, 2023 election, Dr. Peter Obi
Whoever knows this unpopular presidential aspirant that crashed out before the race, like a soldier that ran away from battle front, should tell him that His Eminence Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar is not in the class of people he or anyone from his political gangsterism can mess up with. The reason is not far-fetched? It is simply because he does not know the 20th Sultan …
What his reopening of this topic means is, to me, either signal of an ignorant but faking the knowledgeable or a desperate move to use a name, which transcends the ordinary sense of human, to achieve the unachievable the campaigners for the Labour Party presidential candidate are known to do well. Although activities of these elements have been denied by the party’s media office which asked Nigerians to discountenance the claim that Sultan endorsed their principal, Peter Obi, for 2023 Presidency, anybody with the kind of closeness that I have to the President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and Co-Chairman of the National Traditional Rulers Council of Nigeria (NTRCN), and is peeved by the filth from those incessant claims would ordinarily want to, once and for all, make a comment to finally put the records straight. The Sultan did not endorse anybody and he will never do, but his doors will always be open to all contenders who come seeking his royal and spiritual blessings because that is why he is father of all.
And the need for such clarification is especially so, when a person – whether pseudo or real – now has a finger to hide behind in re-launching despicable lies taking advantage of some vulnerable members of the public who are likely going to take his lies hook, line and sinker, without bothering to probe the fact that they have been completely deceived and tricked. The finger he hides behind is the admonition, and such attempt renders him and anyone with him completely wingless. End of discussion.
That, precisely, is the take that I make from intention of SKC Oghonnia as he laboured hard to twist, slant and fake statements contextually and correctly put together for collective good, in order to suit their own ulterior motives. Otherwise, there should be no justification for someone, who has ever passed through a school like the writer of the latest tissue of lies, to think that twisting to fake the spiritual and royal advice given by Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar, in his usual and expected role to Nigerians at a time like this to look well before they leap at the ballot, will ever fly among people of commonsense and good conscience that majority of Nigerian people are.
I have come across several of his type, who will attempt to mix the good with the bad in effort to give character poison to unsuspecting members of the public. He wrote and I quote:
“His Eminence Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) is known to wield admirable influence in the country. This explains the different shades of fake news making the rounds about his preferred candidate for the 2023 presidential election. But anyone familiar with the Sokoto Caliphate would know that a Sultan would rather speak in parables about any candidate of his choice than making it open.
“Lo and behold, on Thursday January 19, 2023, the Sultan himself rose and finally spoke. He spoke volumes. He spoke about the kind of candidate the citizens should vote for. And he spoke in parables. The Sultan “told Nigerians to vote for leaders with reputable character in the 2023 general elections.” He challenged fellow Nigerians “to think and rethink of who they are casting their votes to. He told us NOT to “consider the religious or ethnic backgrounds of anybody we are voting for but Nigeria first,” SKC Ogbonnia wrote.
He carefully chose the media platforms to fly the incoherence he conjured and here I have come, in my own personal right as a Journalist, ‘son’ and co-traveller of over a decade with the Sultan of Sokoto to tell this yet another Obedient, Ogbonnia, who wrote saying, “anyone familiar with the Sokoto Caliphate would know that a Sultan would rather speak in parables about any candidate of his choice than making it open”, that he does not know the Sultan. He does not even know the workings and mindset of of the Sokoto Caliphate let alone the wave of body language of the Sultanate Council Sokoto. But, I do.
Needless to say, I am not writing this comment to defend him because he is capable enough to defend himself and has been doing that at any public event when he handles the microphone to speak about the peace, unity and development of Nigeria being the mainstay of his project and, at such forum, he has been able to personally expose the lack of knowledge that is the bane of the likes of this man called SKC Ogbonnia. Thanks to the Almighty Allah that fate worked against his quest to become President of Nigeria. God forbid what unfortunate leadership would have been bequeathed to Nigeria.
But, I know the Sultan. I am very close to him and have had enough doing with him for me to know what he can do, say, act and what he cannot. At very close contact, we have eaten together and I know the movement of his hands and carriage of his body at meal time. A closeness to the Sultan of Sokoto Caliphate, His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, is a university of discipline in itself. We have travelled together and I know how and what he feels about virtually everything that happens in Nigeria. I can speak his mind at anytime even without asking him before saying so.
I have been together with the Sultan across hills and valleys and have attended official functions with him including those of intra/inter-religious meetings with him as Leader of the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria and co-head of Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, as well as traditional rulers council meetings he is chairman with Ooni of Ife as co-chairman. Needless to tell how many times I have been together with him one-on-one alone and along with few others in private places and so, I can tell anyone including this imaginary tale writer under question – SKC Ogbonnia – at any time even when sudden woken from sleep, I can tell what the Sultan means by his mere look not to talk about each step he takes.
To us that know him, we relate with him not by words of mouth alone but – more profoundly – by being meticulously watchful of his body language. Say it is because he is a retired Army General, it is your opinion. So, who can understand the communication style of the Sultan between me and that Obidient of a former presidential aspirant now on “self-exile” abroad? And all of these we have done together span over a decade precisely since 2010 and it has been from Sokoto to Abuja, Lagos to Ondo and Ibadan to Enugu to mention but few.
So, I am more qualified to know and speak about thoughts and aspirations of Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar than the naysayer, who only ‘japaed’ to somewhere abroad because he cannot withstand the huge sacrifices that great leaders like the Sultan put together daily to see the country stand tall again and who cannot just stay on his own hand except that he needs to shoot himself in the foot like he has just done, in effort to promote a candidate in politics.
The undoing of his likes is not only to themselves but also largely their candidate, Dr. Peter Obi, because what they do not know but must know is that the Sultan, by his position as father of all, receives all that seek to pay homage to him. To this end, he has received presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Turakin Adamawa, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Dr. Peter Obi, the man whose endorsement this man, Ogbonnia, is trying to force on the Nigeria’s most influential monarch and Muslim Leader. He will still receive the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, because he is yet to visit and he will visit in matter of days from now. Mai Alfarma Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the 20th Sultan of the Sokoto Caliphate, has no preference for one among the contenders. What he tells the first he tells the second and so the third or in whatever order they come visiting.
To now use a statement – by which the Sultan is urging Nigerians to watch and be sure of who they want as their next leader – as yardstick for justification of any sort to twist the Sultan in way that distorts the core intention of the owner of the statement, it can only be considered as a crime against human character.
The Sultan’s interest, intention and body language that I know so well are all premised on the unity of Nigeria and for this purpose, the South South Traditional Rulers Council led by their Chairman and Amayanabo of Nembe Kingdom, Bayelsa State, His Royal Majesty Dr. Edmund Maduabebe Daukoru, paid him a visit at the Palace in Sokoto. Anyone that knows HRM Daukoru can easily recall a former Nigerian Minister of State for Energy and Secretary General of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). What they discussed is not known to me because I was not there and it was not made public, but from what I usually know, those traditional rulers are with the Sultan occasionally like that because they agree with his pet project for the peace, unity and development of Nigeria.
Obi is not from that region, so one would not say it was because they tried to lobby the Sultan for the Labour Party Presidential Candidate that they visited. No. They were basically in the Usmaniyyah Martabah of the Caliphate in continuation of their consultation towards successful social and economic development of Nigeria.
Thank God, the South East Traditional Rulers Council has not visited, this character of a former presidential aspirant would have used it as vibe to justify his claims to say it was because of move to get the Sultan endorse Obi that they visited. But, visits to Sultan’s Palace are always strictly for national interest, security, peace and unity of Nigeria. Monarchs from other geopolitical zones are also planning to visit, just like he too does to their respective regions and kingdoms.
Lest I come to the conclusion of my submission, let me state here that whatever that guy conjured about a purported Sultan’s endorsement of his principal Obi is his own opinion and he is entitled to it; whether it leads him to the hell is not my concern. But my major concern is to expose the attempts he made to deliberately misinterpret clear patriotic admonitions of the Sultan of Sokoto, with intent to mislead the public.
I know the Sultan to always say, “It is only God that gives power and takes it”. I also know him for saying, “When Allah says he gives power he says unto mankind. He does not say to either Muslim or Christian.” This lack of background knowledge is where SKC Ogbonnia and all his tricks to lure vulnerable members of the public to believing his fallacy are rendered useless.
*Adefaka is Lagos based media practitioner, publisher, media and publicity consultant.