Senator Ahmed Maccidoâ€™s decision to stay back in the Peoples Democratic Party when Governor Aliyu Wamakko defected to the All Progressives Congress has complicated the political vista in the state, writes Mohammed Aminu
That Senator Ahmed Maccido representing Sokoto Central district is currently locked in a battle with Governor Aliyu Wamakko is stale news. The senator declined to join Wamakko to the APC. The governor had two months ago left the PDP for the APC along with all the commissioners in the state, 23 local government chairmen, 27 out of 30 lawmakers in the Sokoto House of Assembly and some members in the House of Representatives.
Since then, things have not been as easy as the lawmaker has been fixed on his re-election in 2015. But expectedly, his aspiration seems to have pitted him against Wamakko, who is rumoured of planning to move on to the Senate in his political sojourn. The rumour that Wamakko might contest Sokoto Central senatorial election is rife and grounded and therefore sees Maccido as a stumbling block.
Maccido is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation and a scion of the Sokoto caliphate. He is currently serving a second term in the Senate, having been elected in 2007 and re-elected in 2011. Indeed, Maccido was believed to have been presented for election following the death of his elder brother, the late Senator Badamasi Maccido and his father, Sultan Muhammad Maccido in the ill-fated October 2006 ADC air crash.
Thus, Maccido’s desire to return for a third term in the Senate in 2015 is currently generating acrimony and unease in the Sokoto Central district, as loyalists and supporters of Wamakko believed that he (Maccido) had betrayed his benefactors by his decision to remain in the PDP which they perceived as being anti-North.
As a result, the leadership of the APC in the senatorial district recently expressed disgust over Maccido’s refusal to join APC, accusing him of working against the interest of the North for pecuniary interest. They berated him for hobnobbing with the enemies of the North because of his inordinate ambition to return to the Senate for another term.
Addressing newsmen in Sokoto recently, the Chairman of Sokoto South Local Government Area, Alhaji Ya’u Danda, accused Maccido of betraying Governor Aliyu Wamakko and the North by aligning with President Goodluck Jonathan, to undermine his people for pecuniary interest.
Danda said the lawmaker did not consult with his constituency before taking the decision to remain in PDP, adding that the actions of the Senator was an indication that he was not working in tandem with the yearnings and aspirations of the people in the Sokoto central senatorial district.
â€œSenator Maccido has betrayed Wamakko and the people of Sokoto central senatorial district by hobnobbing with President Jonathan. So, we have disowned him and whoever has the interest of the North at heart in this area should distance himself from the lawmaker. This is a man we assisted to become a Senator for eight years only for him to betray us by remaining in the PDP rather than work in the interest of his constituency,” Danda lamented.
He noted that the Sokoto Central was behind Wamakko in his quest to salvage the North. “Sokoto Central Senatorial Zone is solidly behind Wamakko and cannot associate with anybody that is working against the interest of the North.”
But in his reaction to the allegation of betrayal, Maccido told journalists that he refused to defect to the APC because the PDP remained the only national party in the country. He said his supporters in the senatorial district had advised him against defecting to the APC, as it would be tantamount to betraying the people and party that gave him the platform to rise to national prominence.
Maccido, who immediately toured the eight local governments that made up the district, including Kware, Wamakko, Sokoto north, Sokoto south, Binji, Tangaza, Gudu and Silame local government councils, maintained that PDP remained the only party with concrete national spread devoid of any ethnic and religious disposition and which faithfully upheld the principles of internal democracy.
“PDP is the only party with a national outlook, devoid of any ethnic or religious colouration. In PDP, the principles of equity, fairness and internal democracy are sacrosanct and all the members of the party are given the equal opportunities to vie for any post at all levels.
“In fact, PDP is the only party that practises true democracy and it gave me the first mandate between 2007 and 2011 and my current mandate from 2011 to date. So, I strongly believe that the fortunes of the people of my constituency, Sokoto State and Nigeria in general are brighter and more guaranteed under the PDP,” he said.
Maccido stated that the two-day tour of his constituency afforded him the opportunity to intimate all the stakeholders of the party and his supporters on why he decided to remain in the PDP, stressing that his loyal supporters had advised him against defecting to the APC.
“My loyal supporters advised me against defecting to the APC because doing so is tantamount to betraying the confidence they have reposed in me religiously over the years,” he said.
The lawmaker further said the PDP had since 1999 tried to evenly transform Nigeria in all aspects of human endeavours and as such, he had no plan whatsoever to leave the party.
But another chieftain of the APC, Alhaji Muhammad Dangoggo, told THISDAY that Governor Wamakko was not after Maccido’s seat in the National Assembly, as he did not indicate any interest to contest for senatorial election in 2015.
Dangoggo stated that Wamakko had not indicated any interest to contest the senate election in Sokoto Central and as such, was not after the position currently occupied by Maccido at the Senate. He said Wamakko was only keen back going back to the farm as soon as his tenure ends in 2015.
“I want to make this clear to you that Wamakko is not interested in the seat currently occupied by Senator Maccido in the National Assembly. Wamakko has been in government for a long time, having served as chairman of a local government, clerk of the state assembly and a permanent secretary before his emergence as the governor of Sokoto.
“In fact, he is keen on returning to his farm and may even open a school after the end of his tenure in 2015. So, the governor is not interested in contesting for the seat in Sokoto Central and he did not tell me or any associate that he wants to go to the Senate,” Dangoggo added.
He pointed out that with Wamakko defecting to the APC with all the 23 local government chairmen, councillors and 27 members of the Sokoto State House of Assembly, Maccido was therefore on his own for refusing to join APC.
Dangoggo asserted that Wamakko left PDP because of lack of internal democracy and justice and wondered why Maccido decided to remain in a party that is anti-North.
The truth is that Maccido is currently facing a litmus test as a result of his decision to remain in the PDP, which many pundits perceived as an affront to the governor and other APC chieftains, who claimed to have aided the lawmaker’s emergence as senator in 2007 as well as his re-election in 2011.
It is believed in some quarters that the acrimony currently raging between the lawmaker and the APC has to do with the clash of interest over 2015 election. Pundits therefore hold the view that the mudslinging and acrimony may not be unconnected to Maccido’s quest to return to the Senate next year.
Thus, they believed that he is scared of being edged out in the senatorial primary election if he joins APC, hence the decision to remain in PDP. In fact, Maccido was compelled to remain in PDP which he believed was safer to secure the party’s ticket against Wamakkoâ€™s rumoured senate ambitin.
Also, it is pertinent to note that the slot for Sokoto Central senatorial district may have been permanently cornered by the Sultanate Council since the return of democracy in 1999. The late Senator Aliyu Maisango was the elder brother of Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar Sa’ad III and served in the Senate between 1999 and 2003.
The Late Badamasi Maccido served between 2003 and 2006 and died in the ill-fated ADC air crash in October 2006 with his father, the late Sultan Muhammad Maccido. As a result, the current Senator was elected in 2007 after the death of his elder brother and is currently serving his second term.
Many believed that the lawmaker relies on the support of the PDP and the presidency to edge out his opponent and might face Wamakko in the National Assembly election. But pundits are of the belief that Wamakko being a grassroots politician also needs the goodwill of the Sultanate Council and might find a way to compensate them in the final analysis. But where such fails, then he would have Maccido to deal with in the 2015 polls.