Posted by on 2/10/2003 12:07:14 PM
Post Comment SOKOTO STATE Nigeria


Historical Development: Sokoto State is a balkanised entity of what used to be part of the extensive Sokoto Caliphate

'Hubare' - The Tomb of Shehu Usman Danfodyo
'Hubare' - The Tomb of Shehu Usman Danfodyo

founded since 1804. The then Sokoto Caliphate was founded by a group of committed men led by the universally acknowledged Islamic scholar, Shehu Usmanu Danfodiyo, who sought to establish a political system based on the principles of universal justice.

The caliphate flourished until the British conquered it in 1903. After the conquest, Sokoto Caliphate was broken into provinces, consisting of one or more emirates, to form part of the Northern Region of Nigeria. In 1967, when the Gowon administration created twelve states in Nigeria, Sokoto and Niger provinces were merged to form the then North western State. But in 1976, when more states were created, Northwestern state was split into Niger and Sokoto States.

Again, in August 1991, Kebbi State was carved out of it; and in October 1996 the State was further bifurcated when Zarnfara State was carved out of Sokoto State. The state is located to the extreme northwestern part of Nigeria between longitudes 48'E and 654'E and latitudes 12'N and 1358'N. It shares common borders with Niger Republic to the north, Kebbi State to the southwest and Zarnfara State to the east. The total land area is about 32,000 sq. km, while the total population in 1999 (projected from the 1991 census) is about 2,809,168.

Administrative Structure: With the conquest and collapse of the Sokoto Caliphate by the British, the Protectorate of

Grave sides within the Tomb
Grave sides within the Tomb

Northern Nigeria was created and fourteen provinces were carved out of the defunct caliphate. This remained so until 1960, when the emirates were transformed from native authorities to local authorities.

The five state creation exercises of 1967, 1976, 1987, 1991 and 1996, and the local government reforms of 1976, 1988, 1991 and 1996 gave the state its present twentythree local governments with the state governor as the Chief Executive. The governor is assisted by commissioners and special assistants appointed by him subject to the approval of the State House of Assembly. Local governments are administered by elected representatives from the local government areas.

The local govemment reforms notwithstanding, the traditional administrative system with the ward head {maiun guwa), village heads {dagaci) and district head (hakirnai) exists up till date. At the apex of this hierarchy, is the Sultan (Sarkin Muslim!). All of these officers are also involved in the day to day administration, not only within their respective areas of jurisdiction, but across the State in general.

Sultan of Sokoto's Palace, Sokoto
Sultan of Sokoto's Palace, Sokoto

The administration of justice is ensured by the Judiciary which is the thirdtier of government. Three types of courts are found in the state viz: Common Law Courts based on the British System. (This comprises magistrate, state and federal courts); . Sharia Courts based on Islamic law and principles; and Customary Courts as modified by the Sharia Courts. The state, like every other state in the federation, has three senatorial districts, namely, Sokoto East, Sokoto North and Sokoto South. The Sokoto East senatorial district is composed of Isa, Sabon Bimi, Wurno, Goronyo, Rabah, Gada, Illela and Gwadabawa local government areas.

The local government areas under the Sokoto North senato rial district are Tangaza, Binji, Silame, Gudu, Kware, Wamakko, Sokoto North and Sokoto South. The Sokoto South senatorial district is made up of Dange Shuni, Tureta, Bodinga, Shagari, Yabo, Tambuwal and Kebbe local government areas. The state is also divided into eleven federal and thirty state constituencies.