GOVERNOR Babangida Aliyu of Niger State has ordered his deputy, Alhaji Ahmed Ibeto, to stop attending the state executive council meetings following his defection from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress.
The governor also alleged that Ibeto called him a thief during one of his campaigns.
Our correspondent learnt that the governor in his opening remark before the commencement of the regular weekly state executive council meeting on Wednesday at Government House Minna, said he would not chair a meeting where the deputy was seated.
He thereafter asked the deputy governor to leave the council chambers because he (Ibeto) could use information gathered at such meetings against the PDP.
The deputy governor hurriedly left for his office and parked his valuables after Aliyu allegedly threatened to use the security agents against him.
But a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Israel Ebije, on Thursday said that the deputy governor was not chased out of the meeting.
Ebije said the deputy governor had sought a permission to stay away from the state executive council meetings and this was granted.
He added that apart from the permission granted, the state government also told him that he (the deputy governor) would still be enjoying all the benefits of the office.
Ebire said, “The Deputy Governor, Ahmed Musa Ibeto, asked the council to excuse him from the Wednesday meeting when issues concerning the general elections were being presented. He is now in the opposition and the right thing to do, on moral grounds, was to leave the meeting.
“The deputy governor is smart enough to realise that he cannot sit in council and listen to the political strategies of the PDP or be seen either as a mole for the APC or as an 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.”
However, the deputy governor described the statement as total falsehood. He said Ebije’s explanation did not represent the true picture of what transpired at the council.
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.”
Ibeto said that the governor said he was no longer sure that he (Ibeto) would not use council deliberations against the PDP government.
“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.
The deputy governor said 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 his next line of action.
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. Ibeto added, “If I am stopped from attending council meetings, whatever decisions taken at such meetings are null and void.”