From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has said the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting failed to hold yesterday due the Easter holiday contrary to speculations that it could be because of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ill health.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who gave the explanation, said Buhari was attending to other issues of national importance.
State House correspondents, who had no prior knowledge of the cancellation, got to the Council Chambers venue of the meeting only to learn that it would not hold.
When reached for comments, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said the meeting was canceled because the council secretariat staff had no opportunity to circulate relevant documents for the meeting because of the Easter holiday.
“I think it is because of the Easter holiday. The secretariat had no time to circulate the necessary documents,” he said.
Garba said there is a requirement in the law which states that the documents must be circulated to concerned individuals before the meeting.
When asked why the documents were not circulated before the holiday since the secretariat knew there would be a holiday, the presidential media aide said “as human beings, they also needed the break.” He denied that the cancellation was related to the president’s state of health and said it would be wrong to make such assumption. “That will not be fair,” he said.
“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.”