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NEC Meeting: You Can’t Dictate To Buhari, Presidency Replies Critics

The Presidency, on Sunday, said since the President Muhammadu Buhari lives in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, no one could dictate to him where he can hold meetings within the premises.

It said no law barred the President from holding meetings in any section of the Presidential Villa.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, made the clarification in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja.

Some individuals, including a former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, had criticised the President for hosting a meeting of the All Progressives Congress’ National Executive Committee inside the Council Chamber last Thursday.

They argued that the chamber is meant for government business and that the party’s NEC meeting did not fall under the category of government business that should be conducted from the hall.

“The country witnessed a new low today (Thursday) when Mr President, for the first time since 1999, used the Federal Executive Chamber for APC NWC meeting,” Chidoka, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, had said in a statement.

But Shehu said it was erroneous to say that the meeting was convened at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said the meeting was a virtual one so that the protocol of social distancing could be observed and the President needed to address party leaders from any of his offices inside the Presidential Villa.

The presidential aide said while it was true that state governors and leaders of the National Assembly joined Buhari from the chamber where he spoke, the majority of the members connected via video calls.

He attributed the criticisms that have trailed the meeting to what he called a lack of understanding.

He said:

“The stubborn opinion held by the critics of the administration is that President Muhammadu 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.

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