October 29, 2006, it’s a day the entire world was shaken with the sad news of the ADC plane crash. A day the Muslim world woke up with the sad news of the demise of the 19th Sultan of Sokoto – Muhammad Maccido.
Yesterday, Thursday, October 29, 2020 was a day of mixed feelings. A day of joy being the birthday anniversary of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and it also marked the 14th year of the death of the revered 19th Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Macccido.
On Thursday, October 26, 2006, after closing from work as usual and had returned home, the then Scretary to the Sultanate Council came to my house to bring a telex from the Government House, which is an invitation from the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, inviting His Eminence for an educational submit which will take place on Saturday, October 28, 2006 at the Presidential Villa Abuja. I enquired what did His Eminence said? His answer was that His Eminence said anything that has to do with Islam and education, he is part of it and we should get set and leave for Abuja on Friday, October 27 so as to attend the educational submit. We left Sokoto on an ADC flight to Abuja and eventually lodged at the Hilton Hotel.
At 8pm, the Sallama called and asked me to come His Eminecne wanted to see me and I quickly rushed to answer the call of a father and he instructed me to represent him at a book launch on someone very dear to him – the former Emir of Kano Alhaji Abdullahi Bayero, the father of the then Emir of Kano – Ado Bayero, which was unfortunately postponed to a later date but unknown to His Eminence. After arriving Kano, the Emir informed me of the postponement to a later date. I had no flight to return to Abuja to join his Eminence, I decided to spend the night in Kano and drive back to Sokoto on Sunday morning.
It was on this fateful Sunday that it happened. Alkalin Alkalai used my ticket to get back to Sokoto on the ADC flight that crashed. My name appeared on the manifest as passenger No. 62. I cried and felt as if that was the end of my life. There was no family in Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Nigeria that had no victim in that plane crash. May there souls rest in peace.
Sultan Maccido was the most peaceful human being ever known to me and to the world that the famous Nobel Peace never searched to honour.
The then Magajin Rafin Sokoto – Alhaji Shehu told me about an interesting narration about His Eminence. When he was turbaned as the Sultan, he called the three most senior councilors of the Sultanate Council into his inner chambers and displaced all he got (cash, Dollars, cloths, etc) and asked them to pick anything they wanted as all he wanted in life was to become Sultan and Allah has answered his prayers.
I remembered vividly when someone brought him five pairs of shoes size 42. I was in my house in Sokoto and the Sallama brought a pair of size 42 shoes to me from His Eminence. Unfortunately, I wear a size 46. Out of the five pairs he got, he took two and distributed three to his councilors.
A unifying factor who established the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), bringing 11 Muslim leaders and 11 Christian leaders, which he co-chaired with another Godly man, the Most Reverend John Onayekan. They travelled the length and breath of Nigeria to bring peace and unity.
Sultan Maccido died leaving behind no bank accounts, no personal car and only the house he occupied before becoming Sultan.
His humility was unprecedented, I remembered during one of our rides with him to the Presidential Villa, he reported Ahmadu Sarkin Mota to me that he wasn’t talking to him, I exclaimed and furious, then asked the Sarkin Mota why? And the Sarkin Mota replied he asked the Sultan for money and he didn’t oblige him and that was his reason for not talking to the Sultan. The Sultan laughed and asked if that was all, which he removed money from his pocket and gave the Sarkin Mota.
He was so accessible that Fulanis came all the way from Cameroon and Central Africa to report disputes to him and even domestic and family disputes.
I remembered quiet well when a lady came to report that she fought with her co-wife and the husband helped the co-wife in beating her and the Sultan got furious and asked the husband to come and see him. The husband told His Eminence that whenever he was faced with challenges of feeding the family, the co-wife usually helped him with the feeding and that was why he joined in beating his other wife. The Sultan turned to the woman and asked her why she doesn’t help her husband with feeding the family, to which she told the Sultan, she is a poor woman and had nothing. The Sultan immediately gave her money to start up a business with a warning not to hear any issue of beating again.
I recalled when the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) under the leadership of Comrade Adams Oshiomole was warming up for the mother of all strikes as he called it. The Sultan came on NTA to plead with the warring factions to pity Nigerians and not to put them in unnecessary hardship and the strike was called off.
Also I recalled when President Buhari was challenging President Obasanjo then, when the former and his party men were prostesting on the streets of Abuja alongside the Late Odumegu Ojukwu, the Sultan had credible information of the plan to arrest General Buhari at that time.
The Sultan came personally to plead with President Obasanjo that such plam could bring chaos to Nigeria and should please rethink. His Eminence was there for the high and mighty and also was there for the poorest of the poor.
Sultan Maccido, you have been away for 14 years but we still feel as if you just left us today. You were a messiah and a unifying factor of the family of Usman Danfodio, Islam and Nigeria in general. May you continue to rest in Janatir Firdausi and all those who lost their lives to the plane crash, amin.
BY HASSAN AHMAD DANBABA
Danbaba is the Magajin Garin Sokoto and wrote from Abuja.