By: BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Nigeria’s Ambassador to South Africa and strong support base for the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), in Niger State, Ahmed Musa Ibeto has relinquished his ambassadorial position and decamped from the APC as he prepares to join the 2019 gubernatorial race in the state.
Ibeto threw in his towel on Monday in Abuja as he returned to the country from his duty post in Pretoria, South Africa on Sunday.
Ibeto is a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Niger State and was the Deputy Governor of Niger State in the immediate past administration of Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu for eight years.
Sources close to Ibeto confirmed that the former Nigerian envoy is returning to his former political party, the PDP to join the race turf for the number one office in the state.
Already, the development has caused tension and stir in the camp of the governing All Progressive Congress in the state and at federal levels knowing the political weight and huge support base Ibeto weilds and pulls as a grassroots politician.
Our correspondent gathered that Ibeto dropped his resignation letter on Monday morning at the Federal Ministry of External Affairs, Abuja and headed back home in Minna.
Ibeto was once a federal lawmaker representing his Magama/Kontagora federal constituency at House of Representatives and was also the state Director of Protocols, Government House at different times.
A grassroots politician, Ibeto had in 2014 contested the primary election of the PDP for the sole ticket of the party’s slot for the governorship election in 2015 but was schemed out by the powers that be in the state and lost to Umar Mohammed Nasko, the then Chief of Staff to Governor Babangida Aliyu.
Ibeto moved out of the PDP in protest over the treatment meted to him and pitched tent with the APC to express his dissatisfaction against those who schemed him out.
Ahead of the 2015 general elections, Ibeto drew all his supporters to the APC thus gave the party a massive ground force that gave the party electoral victory at the 2015 governorship election as a result of the huge protest votes against the PDP over the way Ibeto was schemed out and the mammoth sympathy votes he ferried to his new party, the APC then.
He had thrown all his weight behind the candidate of the APC for the governorship election and even led all the campaign tours of the party to all the 25 Local Government Areas in Niger state and the 274 wards across the state to woo support for the APC at both state and national elections.
He was rewarded by President Muhammadu Buhari with ambassadorial position and assigned to South Africa last year. Initially, the he was listed for ministerial appointment but his name was dropped following complaints by some forces in the new government in the state.
In the past few months, the rumour mill had been swelling about Ibeto’s gubernatorial ambition even as the government in the state tried all underhand ploys and chicanery to thwart the man’s untainted political integrity and growing acceptability amongst the political class in the state.
Ibeto is believed to be the most strongest and credible person to contest against the encunbent in the next general election in the state.
As at the time of filing this report, Ibeto was believed to be in his country home meeting with stakeholders, the groups and associates.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party in the state has zeroed it’s searchlights for the governorship election to candidates from the zone C of the state where Ibeto hails from as against the ambition of the other aspirants from zones A and B.
The party said last week that the subsisting power sharing and zoning arrangements of the party remains unchanged despite protests by a clique of interest and power blocs.
The arrangement clearly favours Ibeto even though there are few aspirants from his zone but they may not stand Ibeto’s political power machine.