Sokoto mourns after plane crash that killed Sultan

Monday, October 30, 2006

Thousands will gather outside the palace

Thousands of mourning Nigerian Muslims have gathered outside the temple of the late Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Maccido, waiting to pay their last respects following his death in a plane crash on Sunday, along with 95 others on board. He was a widely respected man to whom 70 million Muslims looked to for guidance and leadership.

The crowds are being let into the palace in small groups to meet the surviving family of the Sultan, and other traditional rulers. Figureheads such as President Olusegun Obasanjo paid their respects on Monday, along with a host of other dignitaries, including two former presidents. Among those who died in the crash are former President Shehu Shagari's son, as well as the son of the Sultan, Mohammed, and one of his grandchildren. A northern senator was also recovered from the site.

The possibility of pilot negligence is now circulating the investigation, however a final conclusion as to what has caused the crash of ADC Airlines Flight 53 is not yet available. The investigation on the Boeing 737 is expected to be concluded over the coming weeks.

Successor to be decided

Within the next couple of days, the kingmakers will assemble and draw up a list of three possible candidates to be the next Sultan Sultan. This list is then presented to Sokoto State Governor Attahiru Bafarawa, who will choose the next Sultan from the list of three. He is expected to choose the person who is placed at the top of the list. The list from the Kingmakers could come as early as Tuesday, and a decision by the State Governor by the end of the week.

The crowds outside the palace are expected to increase after the appointment of the next Sultan, and they will mix their condolences with congratulations for the new Sultan.