Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar CFR mni is the 20th Sultan of the historic Sokoto Caliphate, the Nigerian Ameerul Mu‘mineen (Commander of the Faithful), and President-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), the two apex bodies that represent the entire Muslims of the country. With this he assumes the responsibility of representing the Muslims of Nigeria, defending their rights, protecting their interests, promoting their wellbeing and ensuring positive relationship between them and the political leadership of the country as well as members of other faith communities in the country, and beyond. He is also the Chairman of the Northern Traditional Rulers Council and is co-Chairman of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC).
He was a Brigadier General in the Nigerian Army at the time he was appointed Sultan on Thursday, 2nd November, 2006 at the age of 50 years. His military career began when he was commissioned Second Lieutenant on 17th December 1977. In the course of this career, he attended various professional courses and seminars in Nigeria and abroad and held various appointments in Command and Staff positions, including at African Union (AU) Peacekeeping Operations in Chad Republic, 1981;
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Secretariat as Military Liaison Officer, 1995-1999; ECOWAS Operations in Sierra Leone as Commander 1999-2000; and Nigeria’s Defence Adviser to Pakistan with concurrent accreditation to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States, February 2003 to February 2006. During his military service, he was decorated with several medals.
As the leader of Nigerian Muslims, Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar has demonstrated great commitment towards building interfaith trust, harmonious coexistence and sustainable peace between various religious and ethnic communities in the country. Through the NIREC, which he reformed and made vibrant, he promoted inter-religious understanding in the country. He also initiated a number of peace building programmes including various interfaith initiatives and intra-faith reconciliation meetings and conferences.
His efforts in peace building are recognized nationally and internationally. He was positioned as the 22nd among the 500 World’s Most Influential Muslims.
Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar has presented many papers on Islam, human rights, peace, and religious harmony in a number of conferences across the world including at the Centre for the Study of Democracy, Toleration and Religion, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Columbia University, New York (November 7, 2007); to the Panel on Peace, Prosperity and The Rule of Law at the World Justice Project (WJP) Forum, Vienna, Australia (July 3, 2008) and at the Common-Word Conference, Georgetown University Washington DC, USA (October 6th – 8th, 2009). These are in addition to many other lectures and speeches he has presented in different parts of Nigeria and abroad.
Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar is the current Chancellor of the University of Ibadan and is an alumni of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS). He was conferred with the National Honour of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR)