Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State has dismissed criticisms over his decision to hand over to the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, instead of the deputy governor.
Mr. Aliyu said his action did not violate any law.
The governor has been locked in a row with the deputy, Ahmed Ibeto, after Mr. Ibeto defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Before travelling last week, Mr. Aliyu handed over to the speaker of the state Assembly instead of the deputy governor, as required by law.
The governor’s office initially claimed Mr. Ibeto was out of the state at the time the governor was travelling.
But in a statement Monday, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Israel Ebije, said there is no law restricting the governor from handing over to the speaker, instead of his deputy.
He said the governor has the constitutional discretion to choose another important political office holder aside his deputy to act on his behalf.
He said the action therefore has not contravened constitutional provisions and not in anyway an impeachable offence.
Mr. Ebije’s reaction was contained in a press statement issued Monday in Minna where he said making the speaker of Niger State House of Assembly, Adamu Usman, was indeed within the ambit of constitution, adding that the action does not compromise function of the state in anyway.
The statement cited section 193 of the federal constitution, which specified that the governor has the right to choose who to act for him. He said those criticizing the action are acting in ignorance adding that they are only trying to politicize the issue to score cheap political points.
“I read the position of an ex-chief whip of the House of Representative on the decision of Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu to hand over to the Speaker, Niger State House of Assembly and I felt very disappointed, very sad that such a person could express a very uninformed constitutional position on the matter.
“It is indeed quite unfortunate some people are sensationalizing the matter. There are better state affairs that need to be attended to which ordinarily is of more importance than who the Governor decides to hand over to.”
The governor’s spokesperson said the decision to handover to the Speaker was not on account of the defection of the deputy governor.
He added that Mr. Aliyu was not the first governor to hand over to a politician other than his deputy. He said since the defection of the deputy Governor, people have been trying to whip up unnecessary sentiments over inconsequential issues.