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‘Aliyu right to side-step deputy’


THERE is no law restricting Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, or even any other governor, from handing over to the speaker instead of the deputy governor, the state’s Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Israel A. Ebije, insists.

   Ebije’s declaration followed the controversy and criticisms that have greeted Aliyu’s hand over of government on acting capacity to the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Adamu Usman, side-stepping his deputy, as he traveled to Saudi Arabia for hajj.

   According to him, the governor has the constitutional discretion to choose another important political office holder, aside his deputy, to act on his behalf, so the action did not contravene constitution provisions and is not in any way impeachable.

   In a statement in Minna on Monday, Ebije said that Aliyu’s decision was indeed within the ambit of the constitution and that the action did not compromise the functioning of the state in any way.

   Citing Section 193 of the Nigerian Constitution, which specified that the governor has right to choose who to act for him, Ebije said that those criticizing the action are acting in ignorance. According him, they are only trying to politicize the issue to score some cheap political points.

   “I read the position of an ex-Chief Whip of the House of Representatives 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,” he said.

   “It is indeed quite unfortunate that some people are sensationalizing the matter. There are better state affairs that need to be attended to, which ordinarily are of more importance than who the governor decides to hand over to.”

   He emphasized that the decision to hand over to the speaker was not on account of his deputy’s defection to the opposition All Progressives Congress. 

   More so, he noted, Aliyu is not the first governor to hand over to a politician other then the deputy governor but curiously, “since the deputy governor’s defection, people have been trying to whip up unnecessary sentiments over inconsequential issues.”

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