The Niger State Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, deserves a Yellow Card for ordering his deputy, Alhaji Ahmed Musa Ibeto, out of the State Executive Council meeting on Wednesday. The development, ostensibly over political differences, is a sad reminder of the bitter faceoff between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar in the dying days of their presidency, which the nation would not want to be reminded of.
Ibeto had, not too long ago, defected from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress to pursue his gubernatorial ambition.
Aliyu had claimed Ibeto called him a thief during one of the APC campaign rallies in the state and in retaliation, the governor banned his deputy from attending the state executive council meeting. But Ibeto remains the deputy governor and he is entitled to all that the constitution imbues him with including attending meetings of the state executive council. Without going back to the altercation between Obasanjo and Atiku and pointing out who is wrong or right, the resort to the lawcourt was one major contribution of the former vice president to constitutional democracy in the land. Atiku won all the cases he instituted against Obasanjo and remained in place as Vee Pee till the end.
In the extant case of Aliyu and Ibeto, it was reliably learnt that the governor in his opening remarks before the commencement of the regular weekly SEC meeting at the Government House, Minna said he would not chair a council meeting where the deputy was seated.
The deputy governor was then excused out of the chambers. This seems a foul play from Governor Aliyu. He lacks the constitutional power to stop his deputy from attending legitimate council meetings. He deserves a Yellow Card for his action. Ibeto says he is now studying the relevant provisions of the constitution. “I will challenge the governor’s undemocratic action in court appropriately,” he says.