The Governor of Niger state, Babangida Aliyu yesterday sent his deputy, Alhaji Ahmed Ibeto, out of the state executive council meeting.
Ibeto had recently defected from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress and reports said the governor ordered him out because he may use information gathered at such a meeting against the PDP.
The deputy governor, who rushed to his office and parked his belongings, later alleged that the governor was going to use security agents against him.
But statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Israel Ebije, on Thursday, denied that the deputy governor was 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 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, Punch quoted the deputy governor as saying:
“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.”
“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”
“I will challenge the governor’s undemocratic action in court appropriately.”
“If I am stopped from attending council meetings, whatever decisions taken at such meetings are null and void.”