THE Presidency on Sunday reacted to the commotions in the camp of the opposition over the recent All Progressives Congress National Executive Council (NEC) virtual meeting which President Muhammadu Buhari addressed NEC members from the Chamber of the Federal Executive Council in the Presidential Villa.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu on Sunday faulted the critics of always raising a fuss about something trivial and argued that as the President lives in the Villa, he is free to address any gathering from any facility in the Villa particularly for a virtual meeting.
He said that the President was more concerned about safety and determinedly wants to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus disease.
“It is necessary that we put records in their correct perspective concerning the recent meeting held by the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress, APC, which has, unfortunately drawn criticism due to lack of understanding.
“Since the President lives in the Villa, no one can, legally speaking, choose or dictate to him where he can sit to hold meetings. 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”, Shehu stated.
He further explained that the idea of the virtual meeting was to observe social distancing in view of health concerns considering the size of the conference hall of the party to ensuring strict compliance to social distancing order.
The Presidential spokesperson admitted that Governors and leaders of the National Assembly joined the President at the Chamber from where he spoke while the larger body of the members in attendance were all connected via video calls.
“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.
“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”, he concluded.