The Deputy Governor of Niger State, Ahmed Musa Ibeto, on Thursday reacted to Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu’s statement that he did not send his deputy out from the state executive council meeting on Wednesday, describing the denial as total falsehood.
Governor Aliyu had in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Israel Ebije yesterday, claimed that Ibeto had asked the council to excuse him from the Wednesday meeting when issues concerning the forthcoming general elections were being presented.
In a swift response, the deputy governor said Ebije’s explanation did not represent the true picture of what transpired at the council meeting.
Ibeto said “If this statement is coming from the government, let me react. It is not true that I excused myself. When I received notification for the council meeting of yesterday (Wednesday) I went as usual.
“But before the council started, the governor in his opening remarks said that people and members of the executive council were aware that I have defected from the PDP to the APC and that we had gone on campaign round the state. He said that he had the information and clips that I called him a thief and that he would not preside over the council where I am sitting”.
The deputy governor said his boss expressed concern about his loyalty since he was no longer sure that he (Ibeto) would not use council deliberations against the PDP government in the state
“I objected and explained that I have never called him a thief and that everywhere we go, people always wanted to know why I defected to the APC and I have been telling them I left the PDP because of the injustice in the party”, he said.
Ibeto confirmed that although he quietly left the meeting as a law abiding citizen after the governor had threatened to use the security against him, he was studying the relevant provisions of the constitution to know what next line of action to take
Ibeto added, “I will challenge the governor’s undemocratic action in court appropriately”.
He said that the governor had no constitutional power to stop him from attending legitimate council meetings, adding that, “If I am stopped from attending council meetings, whatever decisions taken at such meetings are null and void”.
However, the deputy governor’s position contradicts his spokesman, Bala Bitrus’ own, who confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES “no one asked him to leave [the council meeting]”.
According to Bitrus, “Yes, it is true my principal asked to be excused from council whenever political matters come up for discussion”.
He, however, also said Mr. Ibeto would continue to perform his functions as deputy governor in the services of Niger state.