From: Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has shed more light on why President Muhammadu Buhari was conspicuously absent at the weekely Federal Executive Meeting, on Wednesday,held at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo presided over the meeting.
Mohammed said contrary to speculations that the president was ill, he was however attending to other issues of national importance.
The minister, in his preliminary remarks before the post FEC briefing of State House correspondents, said the president opted out of the meeting because he saw that the agenda was light and decided to attend to other issues of national importance.
The Government’s Spokesperson said, “Clearly when we came in this morning, Mr. President was not in the Chambers but the Vice President did preside over the council meeting. Understandably, that has sparked a lot of controversies and imputations in the mind of people. I just want to make this clear, Mr President is in town. Mr president is attending to other issues. Mr president looked at the agenda, out was a very light agenda and decided that the Vice President should preside.
“It’s not unusual for the kind of interest that is shown especially given the fact that Mr. President was away for a while on medical treatment and is not. We are not surprised that people will be wondering, ‘is he ill again?’
“He is not ill.,He is not sick. I am sure that later in the day or tomorrow morning he will be back in the office. I just want to clear that misconception.
“It’s not unusual even if Mr. President is hale and hearty and everything is going on well, for the VP to come and preside over meetings of the federal executive council.
“The fact that Mr. President is not in the office does not mean that he is not working. I have just been told now that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is already with with him in the residence working. So, the fact that you did not see him in the office does not mean that he is not working at all.”
This is the first time Osinbajo will preside over the meeting since Buhari returned from his 49-day medical vacation on March 10.