By Aisha Musa

The Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, Mr Simon Lalong and his Niger State counterpart, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello have commended the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, for his  peace initiatives and efforts to address illiteracy in Nigeria’s Northern region.

The Chairman of the forum made the commendation in a congratulatory message on the occasion of the Sultan’s 64th birthday.

The message was issued by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr Makut Macham on Monday in Jos.He commended the Sultan for promoting peace, unity and development in the Northern Region and the entire nation.

Lalong said the traditional ruler has contributed immensely in addressing insecurity, poverty and illiteracy.

“You have remained a great advocate of good governance, peaceful coexistence and accountable leadership which explains your consistent support and wise counsel particularly to governors of the Northern region and the country at large.

” We are proud of your advocacy and support, towards tackling the challenges of the region as you remain a source of inspiration to the Northern Governors Forum,” he said.

Lalong prayed to God to grant the sultan good health, more wisdom and divine protection, while urging him to continue to avail the country his counsel on critical issues that affect the well being of the people.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Sultan of Sokoto, the spiritual leader of Muslims in Nigeria, was born on Aug. 24, 1946.

In a related development, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has described the Sultan as one of Nigeria’s most outstanding promoters of justice, unity, peace and harmony in the country.

Bello stated this in a congratulatory message to the Sultan on his 64th birthday issued in Minna.

He said, “As Head of the Jama’atu Nasirl Islam (JNI), President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and Co-Chairman of Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), the Sultan has shown exemplary roles and has contributed immensely towards building a peaceful, secure and prosperous nation.”

The governor attested to the fact that the royal father’s birth and reign are blessings to humanity, considering the selfless service and demonstration of true and excellent traditional leadership he has been exhibiting.

He said, “Your virtues, ventilated on peace and unity, remains a reference point for leaders in the North and beyond. We will continue to celebrate you because you have endeared yourself to all Nigerians of goodwill, regardless of cultural, religious and political persuasions, owing to your relentless pursuit of peace and ethno-religious harmony among the diverse people.”

He explained that as a spiritual leader and traditional ruler, the Sultan has over the years, distinguished himself as an exemplary leader, traversing the length and breadth of the country, preaching peaceful co-existence and building bridges across religious and cultural divides.

“I join your well-wishers and other well-meaning Nigerians in celebrating your birth and commending your role in fostering mutual understanding, intra and inter religious harmony as well as your humanitarian services across the country, the governor said.

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