Niger State governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu has dismissed the news making the rounds that he has pulled out of the group of seven (G-7) governors and the new Peoples Democratic Party, nPDP, saying he remains the leader of the ‘rebel’ governors even as he blamed political detractors for concocting the story.
Information Nigeria had yesterday quoted from the Daily Trust a report that revealed Gov. Aliyu was leaving the new PDP quietly so as not to raise any eye brows for the Bamanga Tukur-led PDP following pressure from powerful presidential emissaries as well as personal battles for political survival in his own state as certain political interests had strategically positioned themselves to take over control of the PDP structure in Niger State.
But the governor, while playing host to the national president of the Nigeria Civil Service Union, Comrade Mohammed Ibn Shuaibu, and the national executive council of the union in Minna, the state capital on Tuesday, described the report as an enemy action sponsored to break the ranks of the G-7 governors.
He said: “I woke up this morning with a rude shock that a newspaper that can call me at anytime to confirm a report would file such a report because I was not in a meeting. The paper went to town saying I have pulled out of G-7.
“The truth of the matter is that Babangida Aliyu is still a member and in fact, I am the leader of G-7.
“I regard that write-up as an enemy action. It was planted by people who are interested in breaking our ranks and who try to input motives where there are none. I see the hands of some people I can identify to have sponsored this article. I urge people not to make policies relating to all they read in the papers as some of these articles are sponsored.”
Gov. Aliyu said his absence from Sunday night’s meeting of the G-7 was not intentional and explained that he was absent partly because of the sudden in time of the meeting and his ill-health just as he added that his colleagues were adequately informed and apologies sent through three governors.
He wondered why his absence at the meeting could be misconstrued to mean he is pulling out of the group when he had attended previous ones on behalf of his other colleagues when they could not attend such meetings and no meaning was read into their absence.
“On that day, I did not plan to leave Minna until 2pm since the meeting was slated for 8pm, then I got a call that the Sokoto State governor had requested a shift in time because he had a programme the next day on the opening of the state university and he requested that the meeting is shifted from 8pm to 2pm.
“So I sent an apology because there was no way I could meet up with them since I was still in Minna by 2pm. I spoke to three of my colleagues and asked them to help me tender my apologies especially as I was not feeling too well but I had intended to travel. When other of my colleagues were not around, I attended meetings on their behalf, I don’t see why my absence would be conjured to mean I have pulled out of the G7”, Aliyu explained.
He also said: “This is not the time for anyone to pull out of the party when out of respect for the office of the President and the President himself, we are discussing. There is no way you can wake up and say you are pulling out when you are already negotiating. You cannot pull out at this moment. The time for decision to be taken will be when we have concluded discussions with the President.
“After the conclusion and agreement at the end of the discussions, those who may be satisfied with the outcome will take their decision, the same with those not satisfied with the outcome. Despite anyone’s decision, we will still remain as Nigerians.”
He declared that “The whole essence of G7 is to ensure that there is democracy in the ruling party. Believe me, if there is no democracy there, then, there is no democracy in the country. But let’s move on: Babangida Aliyu is a member of G7. What we are asking for is democracy, equity. And I will continue to ask for that even outside government.”