Siddiq Abubakar III
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Siddiq Abubakar III

Sir Siddiq Abubakar III, KBE
Born1903 (1903)
Died1988 (aged 84–85)
Known forSultan of Sokoto
ChildrenMuhammadu Maccido
Sa'adu Abubakar
Parent(s)Usman Shehu

Sir Siddiq Abubakar III, KBE (1903-1988) was a Nigerian Muslim leader. He served as the sultan of Sokoto between 1938 and 1988, and he is the longest reigning sultan.[1][2]


Abubakar was born in Dange on 15 March 1903.

A son of Usman Shehu Dan Muazu, he was a grandson of Mu'azu and, through him, a direct descendant of Usman Dan Fodio. Abubakar was a fourth generation 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.[3]

Abubakar had an Islamic education.[4] He held several administrative posts before succeeding his uncle, Hassan Ibn Muazu, at the age of 35. He was a district scribe in Dange between 1929 and 1931 and was appointed Saurdauna of Sokoto in February 1931.[1] As Sardauna, he worked from Sokoto, taking part in the decision making process of the Sokoto Native Authority and supervising the prisons and police departments. His profile rose in Sokoto as his position made him accessible to the people but it also led to tensions between him and Sultan Musazu. In 1938, he was appointed a local authority Councillor of the Sokoto Native Administration (Head of Talata Mafara), a community outside of the city.[1] He was appointed a minister without portfolio along with several other Emirs like Muhammadu Sanusi of Kano in 1958.[5] His ascension was made possible partly by the favorable impression residents of Sokoto had of Abubakar who was contesting the throne with other princes such as Ahmadu Rabbah and Ahmadu Isa of Gobir. The British interested in appointing a leader who had the trust of the people within the political structure of indirect rule suggested the name of Abubakar to the kingmakers.[1] In June 1917, he was crowned as Sultan of Sokoto.

He distinguished himself by his administrative competence, the able way he dealt with appeals from traditional courts and his supervision of district and village heads. Abubakar played a significant role in dousing tensions in Sokoto after the assassination of Ahmadu Bello, regional premier who held the title of Sardauna of Sokoto, calming the nerves of people who wanted violent repercussions.[1] In 1984, when another Sokoto son, Shehu Shagari was removed from power, Abubakar preached peace within the emirate council and in its relationship with the new administration. His court dedicated time and personnel to focus on the welfare and problems of his community, carrying on a cultural tradition espoused by Uthman Dan Fodio.[1]

On 18 July 1974, president Moktar Ould Daddah, who was on a state visit to Nigeria, paid a visit to Sultan Abubakar, a fellow Islamic scholar, and friend in the company of General Yakubu Gowon.[6]


He left behind 52 children and 320 direct grandchildren. He was made Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1955.[1]

Sultan Abubakar III is best remembered by his compatriots as a religious leader who rose above the religious dissensions of his day and throughout his life played the role of peace-maker and father of all.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Echiejile, Larry; Tsafe, Aliyu Adamu (12 June 1988). "The Sokoto Sultanate: 50 Years of Abubakar III Reign". Sunday Concord (Lagos).
  2. ^ Yakubu, Alhaji M. (March 1990). "Sir Siddiq Abubakar III, 17th Sultan of Sokoto by Shehu Malami London and Ibadan, Evans Brothers, 1989. Pp. xxi + 224. £15.00. £8.50 paperback". The Journal of Modern African Studies. 28 (1): 157-158. doi:10.1017/S0022278X00054306. ISSN 1469-7777.
  3. ^ The Muslim 500: "Amirul Mu'minin Sheikh as Sultan Muhammadu Sa'adu Abubakar III" retrieved 15 May 2014
  4. ^ Malami, Shehu (1989). Sir Siddiq Abubakar III, 17th Sultan of Sokoto. Ibadan : Evans Brothers. OCLC 19355104. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ Ostien, Philip (1999-2006). Sharia implementation in Northern Nigeria (PDF) (Volume I ed.). Sati Fwatshak and Philip Ostien. Retrieved 2020.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  6. ^ "General Gowon Accompanies Ould Daddah to meet the Sultan of Sokoto Siddiq Abubakar III". Youtube. Adeyinka Makinde. Retrieved 2020.

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