Muhammadu Sa'ad Abubakar (Arabic: محمد سعد أبو بكر), CFR (born 24 August 1956) is the 20th Sultan of Sokoto. As Sultan of Sokoto, he is considered the spiritual leader of Nigeria's Muslims.[1]

Abubakar IV CFR
Amir al-Mu'minin
Sultan of Sokoto
Reign2 November 2006 – present
PredecessorMuhammadu Maccido
Heir apparentNo specific Heir apparent in Sokoto Caliphate
Born (1956-08-24) 24 August 1956 (age 67)
Sokoto, Northern Region,
British Nigeria
Muhammad Sa'adu Abubakar
Regnal name
Muhammadu Sa'ad Abubakar
FatherSir Siddiq Abubakar III
ReligionSunni Islam
Military career
Allegiance Nigeria
Service/branch Nigerian Army
Years of service1977–2006
Rank Brigadier General

Abubakar is the heir to the two century-old throne founded by his ancestor, Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio (1754–1817), leader of the Maliki school of Islam and the Qadiri branch of Sufism.[1]

Early life




Sa'adu Abubakar was born on 24 August 1956, in Sokoto. He is the youngest son of the 17th Sultan, Sir Siddiq Abubakar III, who held the Sultanate for over fifty years.[2]



Sa'adu Abubakar attended Barewa College in Zaria and proceeded to the Nigerian Defence Academy in 1975, where he was a member of the 18th Regular Course.[3]

Military career


Abubakar was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1977 and served in the elite Armoured Corps. He headed a presidential security unit of the Armoured Corps that guarded then military ruler, General Ibrahim Babangida in the late 1980s. Abubakar also commanded a battalion of African peacekeepers in Chad during the early 1980s, as part of the Organisation of African Unity's force and was military liaison officer for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the mid 1990s.[4]

He was appointed Commanding Officer 241 Recce Battalion, Kaduna in 1993.[3] From 1995 to 1999, he was ECOWAS military liaison officer and commanding officer, 231 Tank Battalion (ECOMOG Operations) in Sierra Leone, from 1999 to 2000.[3] From 2003 to 2006, he served as Defence Attaché to Pakistan (also accredited for Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan)[3] and retired as a brigadier general in 2006.[5]

Sultan of Sokoto


On 2 November 2006, Abubakar ascended the throne, following the death of his brother, Muhammadu Maccido, who died on ADC Airlines Flight 53.[6]

Titles and honours


As the Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar is the leader of the Qadiriyya sufi order, which is the most important Muslim position in Nigeria and senior to the Emir of Kano, the leader of the most populous Tijaniyya sufi order.[7] He is also the head of Jama'atu Nasril Islam (Society for the Support of Islam – JNI), and president-general of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).[8]


  1. ^ a b CFR, mni--sultan-sokoto The Muslim 500: "Amirul Mu’minin Sheikh as Sultan Muhammadu Sa’adu Abubakar" Archived 25 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 15 May 2014
  2. ^ "The Sokoto Caliphate and its legacies". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Chiama, Paul. "From Barracks To Royalty: 6 Prominent Ex-Military Officers Now Royal Fathers". Leadership Nigeria. Archived from the original on 25 July 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  4. ^ "From Nigerian soldier to Sultan of Sokoto". 2 November 2006. Archived from the original on 13 May 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Profile Of A Sultan As A Young Man". Daily Trust (Nigeria). Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  6. ^ "Nigeria gets new Islamic leader". 2 November 2006. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  7. ^ All Africa: "Nigeria: Updated – Kano Blasts Claim Over 60" By Ismail Mudashir Archived 4 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine 28 November 2014
  8. ^ Paden, John N. (2008). Faith and politics in Nigeria. Washington, DC: US Institute of Peace Press. pp. 32f. ISBN 978-1-60127-029-0.
Preceded by Sultan of Sokoto
November 2, 2006–current
Succeeded by