Feudal system of leadership hardly opens up to others

Matthews Otalike, Sokoto, Nigeria

Communities with cultural system of living and leadership have ways of entrenching and sustaining them, especially in leadership succession.

In a feudal setting, leadership is largely hereditary. In a community with such setting, a leader who passes away has to be succeeded by his son or descendant as the case may be. Any attempt at opening up the system by investing any given title to anybody other than a prince in the family line is usually met with stiff resistance.

In Nigeria, this applies to many communities some of which are rooted in religion. One of them is the Sokoto Caliphate. The leadership set up is anchored on Islam and each titled man must be versed in the holy Qur’an.

Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III who is President General of Nigeria’s Jama’atu Nasril Islam, entrusted leadership responsibilities to eight persons today at the Sultan’s Palace in Sokoto. Each of those titled has direct responsibility to the Sultan as adviser and the titles are related to the role of one’s forebear during the establishment of the Sokoto Caliphate in the 19th century.


The Sultan enjoined the newly turbaned to refrain from taking advantage of those in their care. They must be responsible to be respected. He said as the pilot of the Sultanate’s leadership train, all manner of people now have access to him online and that if they fail to uphold the trust reposed on them, the led will always inform him.


Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad urged those to whom he entrusted leadership responsibilities to deal with people with the human face so as to win the people’s trust.

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