The weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held on Wednesdays failed to hold today.
This has raised concerns in some quarters over the health status of President Muhammadu Buhari, who also failed to attend the meeting the previous week.
The FEC, usually chaired by the president has Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, all ministers and some top presidential aides as members, and holds weekly at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa.
The presidency however said the FEC meeting was not planned to hold in the first instance, as it had been affected by the Easter holidays.
According to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, who spoke to newsmen, the council’s secretariat could not make memos available to ministers due to the holidays.
He explained that the council’s secretariat usually makes memos available to the ministers two or three days to the date of the meeting.
The Federal Government had declared last Friday and Monday as public holidays to mark Good Friday and Easter Monday respectively.
Garba said, “The staff of the council secretariat resumed on Tuesday after the Easter holidays. 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”, the presidential spokesman noted.
Buhari, 74 years old was absent at last week’s meeting, fueling speculation that his health had deteriorated, as the meeting was chaired by Prof. Osinbajo.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had however told Nigerians on that occasion that President Buhari is healthy, in town and would be back to his office later in the day or by tomorrow (Thursday) morning.
Mohammed argued that there was nothing strange in Vice-President Osinbajo presiding over the meeting in the absence of Buhari.
He then called on Nigerians not to be agitated as there was nothing wrong with the President, explaining that the reason he was not present at the meeting was due to more other pressing national issues he was attending to.
“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 that Mr. President is in town. Mr. President is attending to other issues. He looked at the agenda, he found out that it was a very light agenda and decided that the Vice-President should preside”.
Buhari had left Nigeria recently on a medical sojourn in London in which he spent about fifty days. Even though presidency and other officials had continued to tell Nigerians that the President was not sick, and that he was resting, the president on his return had told Nigerians that he had been very sick, and had to undertake a blood transfusion.
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