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Why Buhari held APC virtual meeting in Aso Rock, by presidency

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The Presidency yesterday gave reasons President Muhammadu Buhari held last week’s National Executive Committee, (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) virtually at the Council Chambers in the Presidential Villa.

A statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, yesterday sought to clarify wrong public perception on why the meeting held at the villa instead of the APC secretariat with party members physically present in spite of the ravaging coronavirus disease.

“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 (FEC) as if there is a law that says the president is barred from holding meetings in certain sections of the vast Presidential Villa,” Shehu said.

The aide, who said “since President Buhari lives in the Villa, no one can legally speaking, choose or dictate to him where he can sit to hold meetings”, asked if there was anything wrong in the president presenting himself before a camera and a TV screen in a digital conference at a given location within the villa.

According to Shehu, the meeting was not convened at the Council Chamber but held virtually and not physically.

“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,” Shehu said.

The statement disclosed that President Buhari was billed to address the meeting from any of his offices, and he chose the Council Chamber where the digital facilities are located, and other members, including the bulk of National Executive Committee (NEC) members, state party leaders and members of the National Assembly were all linked, using video conference calls.

Shehu affirmed that governors and leaders of the National Assembly joined the president from the Chamber from where he spoke, adding that the participants were all connected via video calls.

He maintained that “these are not normal times in view of the effect of Covid-19 which made the President to place health and safety above courtesy to the party by not going to its headquarters.”


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