Buhari fails to convene Federal Executive Council meeting
• Easter holiday to blame, say presidential aides
The regular Wednesday meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa failed to hold yesterday as expected.
The president had last week also stayed away from the meeting, leaving Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to preside. Newsmen had no prior knowledge of the cancellation yesterday but it was learnt that FEC was not listed as part of the president’s itinerary for this week.
The Presidential Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina yesterday explained that the presidency did not plan to hold the meeting ab initio. “It was not to hold in the first place. It was not cancelled. You cancel something that you have planned to hold. There was holiday on Friday. There was holiday on Monday. So, it was not planned to hold. There is no law that says that FEC must hold every week,” he said.
When contacted, Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity said the meeting was canceled because the FEC secretariat staff had no opportunity to circulate relevant documents for the meeting because of the Easter holiday.
”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.”
He denied that the cancellation was connected to the president’s health status, saying that it would be wrong to make such assumption, adding: “That will not be fair.”
The Guardian however, learns that there is no constitutional or standing rule that says FEC must be held every week.
When the President Buhari administration came on board it jettisoned the idea of weekly FEC meetings, submitting that the cabinet would meet when it becomes vitally necessary. However, it was later reversed and went back to the status quo.