Governor of Niger State, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, has denied barring his deputy, Ahmed Ibeto, from attending state executive council meetings after the latter defected to the All Progressives Congress last month.
According to the governor, Mr. Ibeto on his own, requested permission to stay away from the state executive council meetings, a request that was granted by the council on Thursday.
There were reports that Mr. Aliyu directed the deputy governor to henceforth stay away from the council’s meetings following his defection to the opposition APC.
According to the governor, his deputy had said unless very sensitive state matters were under consideration, he had nothing to offer the PDP-led state government.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Israel Ebije, Governor Aliyu said his deputy reportedly asked members of the council to excuse him from Wednesday council meeting on moral grounds.
“The deputy Governor, Ahmed Musa Ibeto asked council to excuse him from Wednesday meeting when issues concerning the general elections were presented. He is now in the opposition and the right thing to do based on moral grounds was to leave the meeting.
“The Deputy Governor is smart enough to realize he cannot sit in council and listen to political strategies of the PDP and be seen either as a mole for the APC or as unnecessary distraction. It is clear he cannot operate within the reasoning of the PDP-led council hence he had to take the most honourable decision”, the statement said.
The statement, however, stated that the deputy governor can always contribute to the progress of the state where and when necessary adding that his privileges and rights as a deputy governor remain intact.
The statement also pointed out that despite party differences, the relationship between Governor Aliyu and his deputy remain very cordial and nothing has affected his (Ibeto’s) official duties.