Nigeria: Influential Sokoto Prince, Shehu Malami, Dies At 85, Buhari Mourns

Mr Malami reportedly died in Cairo, Egypt on Monday evening.

A former Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Shehu Malami, is dead.

Mr Malami, a scion of Shehu Danfodio, died in Cairo, Egypt, on Monday after a brief illness at the age of 85.

He once served as the Sarkin Sudan of Wurno, Sokoto State.

A source at the Sultan Palace said the late prince was admitted to a private hospital in Abuja before he was flown out of the country.

He is expected to be buried in the Sultanate Burial Ground (Hubbare) in Sokoto where sultans and influential family members are buried.

In his condolence message, President Muhammadu Buhari described Mr Malami’s death as “shocking.”

“This is such shocking and sad news. I am absolutely stunned to hear this. It is another reminder of how fragile life is.

“He was a business leader respected globally who believed in this country’s economic prowess. He was an icon of business and industry and a graceful traditionalist.

“His passing is a big loss to the nation. Condolences to his family and friends, the Sultanate and the government and people of Sokoto State. May his soul rest in peace,” the president said in a statement by his media aide, Garba Shehu.

The Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, said the country has lost a rare gem.

“Humble and astute, he would be remembered as a repository of the norms and values that make Sokoto Caliphate tick. His knowledge of the country, its politics and economy would also be missed on the national scene, especially at this time of another democratic transition.

“On behalf of the government and good people of Sokoto state, I join His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, in praying for the repose of his soul,” Mr Tambuwal said in a statement.

Profile of Shehu Malami

Born in 1937 in Sokoto, the respected diplomat was referred to as the “the Oxford man”, especially by the elite in the North. He was educated in Sokoto, Katsina, Bida and London. He served as Private Secretay and then as Special Assistant to Sultan Saddiq Abubakar III having been brought up under the Sultan’s care. He also had a stint at the British Broadcasting Corporation BBC as a broadcaster before becoming a technocrat and banker.

He attended Kano Provincial School, Sokoto Middle School, Katsina Provincial School and Bida Provincial School. He also attended North Davon Technical College, Barnstaple and later attended Middle Temple.

When his uncle, the late Ibrahim Dasuki, was the Sultan of Sokoto, they had a disagreement, a sort of royal house dispute that led to Mr Malami resigning from his position as the Sarkin Sudan na Wurno and district head. The title was reserved for one of the most respected princes in the caliphate.

He was a member of the International Advisory Council of the World Economic Forum Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland.

He was one of the founders of Ecobank, former Chairman of Union Bank, Director, Standard Chartered Bank and former Chairman of Costain West Africa.

Companies he chaired or was a member of the board included: Costain West Africa, Nigeria Industrial Development Bank, NIDB, Tannery; Nigeria Pipes Ltd, Zaki Bottling Company; Shempat, Patterson Zachonis, PZ, Japan Petroleum Company, and Indo-Nigeria Merchant Bank.


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