ECOWAS President, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas on Monday praised the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakarr, the spiritual leader of Nigerian Muslims, for his service to ECOWAS, particularly his contribution to the prevailing peace enjoyed by the region after years of crises.
Speaking during a visit to the Sultan, heir to Othman Dan Fodio, founder of the 204-year old Sokoto Caliphate, the President recalled the role of the Monarch as ECOWAS military liaison officer for four years during a period of crises in the region.
He said the Commission was ready to continue to work with him in the post-crises consolidation of peace in the region, which is the next challenge being pursued by the region so as to create an environment favourable for the pursuit of the core objectives of ECOWAS – the promotion of the socio-economic integration of its 15 Member States.
Describing the history of the Caliphate as that of integration, he recalled that at its height, the Sokoto caliphate extended beyond Nigeria and into some ECOWAS and non-ECOWAS Member States, demonstrating the viability of
integration long before the establishment of ECOWAS,
The President who led a high-level ECOWAS delegation that also included the Commissions Vice President Jean de Dieu Somda and two of the seven Commissioners, said the Commission was willing to tap into the experience of the
Sultan, who retired from the Nigerian Army, in furtherance of its goal of ensuring the maintenance of regional peace and security.
Responding, the Sultan called for the institution of a forum that would bring traditional rulers in the region together to discuss and contribute to the resolution of the various challenges confronting the region, including the issues of regional peace and security.
He said that the experience of Nigeria has shown the potentials of traditional rulers to complement other institutions of government in addressing some of these challenges.
At the height of its glory, the Sokoto caliphate which covered 250,000 square miles, was described as the largest, most extensive, heterogeneous and literate indigenous state in West Africa