Niger State Governor, Muazu Aliyu, has denied barring his deputy, Ahmed Ibeto, from the meetings of the state executive council after the later defected to the All Progressives Congress.
Mr. Aliyu said 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 have been reports (not in PREMIUM TIMES) that Mr. Aliyu directed Mr. Ibeto to henceforth stay away from the council’s meetings following his defection to the opposition APC.
According to Mr. Aliyu, his deputy had said unless very sensitive state matters were under consideration, he had nothing to offer the PDP-led government.
In a statement signed by Israel Ebije, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Aliyu, the deputy governor 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 spokesperson to Governor Aliyu 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.
He said despite party differences, the relationship between Governor Aliyu and his deputy remain very cordial adding that nothing has affected his official duties.
He said the deputy governor was absent from his official functions recently to attend to APC campaign matters in his capacity as Director of Campaign for Niger APC governorship candidate.
When contacted, the spokesperson of the Deputy Governor, Bala Bitrus, confirmed the development to PREMIUM TIMES.
“Yes it is true my principal asked to be excused from council whenever political matters come up for discussion,” he said.
Mr. Bitrus however, also said Mr. Ibeto would continue to perform his functions as deputy governor in the services of Niger state.
“No one asked him to leave,” he said.