Muhammadu Maccido

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Muhammadu Maccido (1926-2006) was the 19th Sultan of Sokoto and former president of the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islam. Both positions made him Sarkin Musulmi, the spiritual leader of Muslims in Nigeria.


Maccido was born in Sokoto to the family of the well loved Sultan Siddiq Abubakar, at the time of his birth, his father was the district head of Dange. Maccido was given the name Muhammadu Bello after his great grand father. He is a descendant of Uthman Dan Fodio from his maternal and paternal sides.

Like many students from notable Muslim families in Sokoto, he started his education learning the Quran at home, he later attended Elementary School in Dange which then had few teachers and classrooms. After the school in Dange, he attended the Sokoto Middle School and then went to the Clerical Training College in Zaria where he specialized in office administration.

Sokoto Native Authority

Maccido worked as a scribe in the Sokoto Native Authority where he worked with the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello then the councilor for Works, he also served in the authority's finance committee. Later, in the 1950s, he was a member of the Northern House of Assembly and was made Ciroma Sokoto. For a while he was the district head of Talata Marafa at a time the colonial authorities still dictated administrative policies. Maccido later became a councilor for Works, Rural development and later Agriculture and Natural Resources, in the case of the works dept, he succeeded Bello as councilor. As a councilor for Agriculture, he was afforded the opportunity to travel abroad on a sponsorship by the Rockefeller Foundation, his first place of visit was Guantanamo Island.

Later career

Maccido served as a commissioner for Agriculture in the now defunct Northwestern state in the late 1960s, a position that made him an authority on implementing the federal government's agriculture policy as it pertains to cooperative societies and the building of dams along the River Niger and irrigation farming in the Sokoto Rima Basin. In the second republic, he was a state chairman of the National Party of Nigeria and also served as a presidential Liason officer. Maccido was a close associate of former president Shagari and was one of the early informers and counsel to Shagari on consenting to a presidential run.

In 1985, Maccido was nominated to the Sultanate council as his father, the sultan was suffering from ill health and before becoming sultan in 1996, he was the Sarkin Kudu.


Maccido's first foray into becoming the Sarkin Musulumi was in 1988 after the death of his popular father. He earned the choice of the kingmakers but that was not absolute. In the selection process, the kingmakers chose him above, Mua'zu Lamido, Shehu Malami and Ibrahim Dasuki. However, the then president Babangida gave the position to Ibrahim Dasuki a wealthy businessman. The choice of Dasuki led to consternation from many of the Sokoto populace with some demonstrating their frustration by rioting. It wasn't until the administration of General Abacha that Maccido became sultan with Abacha banishing Dasuki and to some writing the wrong, when he replaced Dasuki with Maccido. However, Abacha was considered a repressive ruler who had little tolerance for competing powerful interests and the choice of Maccido may have been influenced by the need to have lesser competition. During the Obasanjo administration, Maccido tried to act as a peace mediator during religious flare ups, (1) especially those prominent in the early part of the return to civil rule, he was a co-chair of the Yusufu Obaje initiative, the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council.


Further reading

  • Hassana Ismail Bichi. Sultan Muhammadu Maccido (the 19th Sultan of Sokoto): In the Shadow of His Ancestors.