…Says it was a virtual, not physical meeting at Council Chamber

BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – The Presidency on Sunday declared that there is no law barred President Muhammadu Buhari from holding meetings in certain sections of the vast Presidential Villa.

The Presidency which stated this while responding to criticisms over the recent meeting by the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) stressed 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.

These were contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, in which he also said that the drawn criticism was due to lack of understanding.

Shehu noted that the “stubborn opinion” held by the critics of the administration is that President Buhari had called a political meeting in the “hallowed” chamber of the Federal Executive Council, as if there is a law that says the President is barred from holding meetings in certain sections of the vast Presidential Villa.

In the words of Shehu; “So, what is 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.

“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. You saw them all on TV.

“Yes, it is 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 were all connected via video calls,” he said.

The presidential spokesman further said; “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”.

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