Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki (1923–2016)

Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki, the 18th Sultan of Sokoto, passed on to glory on Monday, November 14 at an Abuja hospital at the ripe old age of 93. He was buried the following day according to Islamic rites, leaving the nation with a legacy of greatness, innovations and track records of significant achievements. No doubt, he would be sorely missed.

The late Sultan’s career traversed the civil service, administration, diplomacy and business enterprise, and he distinguished himself in all.

Born in Dogondaji in 1923, Dasuki had his primary education at the Dogondaji Elementary School before proceeding to the Sokoto Middle School and the elite Barewa College, Kaduna for his secondary education.

His paths soon crossed with that of the late Sarduana of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello, who influenced him to join the civil service of the then Northern Region. His rise in the service under the mentorship of the Sarduana was nothing short of meteoric. From his humble beginnings as a clerk in the treasury office of the Sokoto Native Authority, he entered the civil service as Executive Officer and soon became Private Secretary to the Ahmadu Bello. In 1957, he was appointed Deputy Secretary in the Northern Nigeria Executive Council.

Dasuki was Head of Chancery and First Secretary, Nigerian Embassy, Khartoum, Sudan between 1960 and 1961. He was later appointed the Permanent Secretary in the regional Ministry of Local Government. His experience here was to prove invaluable to the country, when he was called to serve in the all-important Local Government Reform Panel many years later.

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As the Chairman of the Committee for the Review of Local Government Administration in Nigeria in 1984, Dasuki brought his diverse experience of service both at home and abroad to the benefit of the country. Though a major recommendation for a Local Government Commission by the Committee was rejected by the government of the day, it was this body that he headed that initiated some of the lasting reforms associated with the third-tier of government till date.

Dasuki also served with distinction in the Constituent Assembly of 1988 under the administration of Ibrahim Babangida. The Assembly was very integral to the political transition programme of that administration which gave birth to the two-Party system adjudged to be an innovation then. Unfortunately, the experiment ended with the disastrous annulment of the first general election held under it in 1993.

Dasuki’s colourful career also traversed the corporate world. As good preparation, he chaired the influential Northern Nigeria Produce Marketing Board in 1966 and served as Director and later, Chairman of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) between 1967 and 1977. He was Co-Founder and Chairman of the defunct Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) between 1979 and 1989.

Upon the death of Sultan Abubakar II in November 1988, the Baraden Sokoto together with other influential princes of the Sultanate contested the vacant stool.

Dasuki was successful as he ascended the exalted throne as the 18th Sultan in December of that same year. His ascension unfortunately, witnessed strife and riots. But that did not distract much from the legacy of the great Sultan as he moved to introduce some reforms in the Sultanate and within the Muslim Ummah.

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Noted as a modernist, Sultan Dasuki, the first from the Buhari line in the House of Dan Fodio, worked greatly for the unity of muslims throughout the country by his worthy contributions to the Jama’atu Nasril Islam and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).

Sultan Dasuki also introduced reforms in the domain of the Sultanate. He built 10 Quoranic Schools in 1990 and established an adult literacy class to improve access to literacy and education in the Sokoto Emirate.  Dasuki’s eventful reign was caught short with his deposition in 1996.

We commiserate with his immediate family, the Sultanate and the entire people of Sokoto and indeed, Nigeria over the irreparable loss.

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