The presidency has been described as baseless, criticisms by the main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and others members of the public who have faulted the use of the Executive Chamber of the Presidential Villa to conduct the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC.
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity gave the reaction, saying what took place was virtual and that the chamber has facilities for social distancing.
He also said that as a legal occupant of the seat of power, there is no law that specifies where Buhari must hold any meeting.
“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?
“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,” he said.
“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.
“Yes, it is true that Governors and leaders of the National Assembly joined the President from the Chamber from where he spoke. But the larger body of the members in attendance was all connected via video calls.
“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.
“In the end, a wise thing has been done because the President wants to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus disease,” the presidential spokesman said.