Amirul Mumineen Shayk as-Sultan Muhammadu Sa'adu Abubakar (born August 24, 1956 in Sokoto) is the 20th Sultan of Sokoto. He is the titular ruler of Sokoto in northern Nigeria, the head of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (Society for the Victory of Islam - JNI) and the president-general of the Nigerian National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA). As Sultan of Sokoto, he is considered the spiritual leader of Nigeria's 70 million Muslims, roughly 50 percent of the nation's population. On November 2, 2006, Sa'adu Abubakar succeeded his brother, Mohammadu Maccido, who died on ADC Airlines Flight 53, becoming the heir of the title since the son and the grandson of his brother also died in the accident; the flight crashed shortly after takeoff from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and had been destined for Sokoto.
Sa'adu Abubakar is a younger son of the 17th Sultan, Siddiq Abu Bakar dan Usuman, who held the Sultanate for over fifty years. Abubakar began his military career in 1975 and was commissioned a second lieutenant two years later. After that he served in the elite Armoured Corps. He did military training overseas, including in India and Canada. He headed a presidential security unit of the Armoured Corps that guarded then military ruler General Ibrahim Babangida in the late 1980s. Abubakar also commanded a battalion of African peacekeepers in Chad during the early 1980s as part of the Organisation of African Unity's force and was military liaison officer for the West African regional body Ecowas in the mid 1990s. In addition to that, he served with West Africa's peacekeeping force in Sierra Leone and was Nigeria's military attaché to Pakistan when he was recalled to take office as the 20th Sultan of Sokoto.