No law barring Buhari from holding meetings in any sections of Presidential Villa-Presidency


* Says APC NEC held a virtual meeting, not a physical one at council chamber


The Presidency on Sunday said the recent meeting held by the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress, APC, which had, unfortunately drawn criticism due to lack of understanding was a virtual meeting and not a physical one at council chamber

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, reacting to critics of the administration that President Muhammadu Buhari had called a political meeting in the “hallowed” chamber of the Federal Executive Council, said there was no law that “says the President is barred from holding meetings in certain sections of the vast Presidential Villa.”

Shehu added that since the President lives in the Villa, no one can, legally speaking, choose or dictate to him where he can sit to hold meetings.

He wondered what was wrong in the President presenting himself before a camera and a TV screen in a digital conference at a given location within the Villa.

“Just for the sake of the argument, this meeting, we say emphatically, was not convened at the Council Chamber. It was virtual, not a physical meeting.

“Why was it a virtual meeting? The idea was to observe social distancing in view of health concerns. Knowing how small the conference hall of the party is, social distancing would only have been observed in the breach,” Shehu said.

He further stated that President Buhari was billed to address the meeting from his office (just any of his offices) and chose the Council Chamber where the digital facilities are located, and other members, including the bulk of National Executive Committee members, state party leaders and members of the National Assembly were all linked using video conference calls.

The Presidential spokesman said it was true that Governors and leaders of the National Assembly joined the President from the Chamber from where he spoke but the larger body of the members in attendance was all connected via video calls.

“Do not forget that these are not the normal times in view of the COVID-19 circumstances in which we have found ourselves. President Buhari placed health and safety above courtesy to the party by not going to its headquarters.

“In the end, a wise thing had been done because the President wants to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus disease, he said.

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