By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA— The weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting failed to hold, yesterday, but the Presidency said it was not planned in the first instance.
The Presidency also refuted claims of fresh concerns over the health of President Muhammadu Buhari, as speculations were rife that it was the reason for cancellation of the meeting.
It will be recalled that President Buhari stayed away from the meeting last week, which his Vice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, acted in his place.
Spokesman of the government and Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, told State House correspondents at the end of last week’s FEC meeting that the President was not ill.
Asked to confirm the cancellation of yesterday’s meeting, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said it was not scheduled to hold in the first place.
He said: “It was not to hold in the first place. It was not cancelled. You cancel something that you have planned to hold. There was holiday on Friday; there was holiday on Monday. So it was not planned to hold. There is no law that says that FEC must hold every week.”
Similarly, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the Easter holiday was a possible reason the meeting did not hold, adding that memos were not circulated to ministers by the FEC secretariat.
“The staff on the council secretariat resumed on Tuesday after the Easter. There was no time to prepare and circulate memos to ministers.”
‘’By practice, the ministers receive council memos two or three days ahead of meetings because they must read them and sometimes undertake research. It is not a rubber stamp council. So everyone must prepare themselves well for debates,” he said.
The Presidential spokesman also dismissed insinuations of health-related problems, saying ‘’that will not be fair.”
Recall, however, that the President travelled to London, United Kingdom, January 19 on medical vacation and returned to the country March 10.
Since his return, President Buhari has remained literally indoors, meeting with only with some government officials who briefed him on some matters, including security.
The only major function he had attended was the launching of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP which held at the Council Chamber inside the Presidential Villa penultimate week.