The weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting failed to hold on Wednesday due to inability of the Secretariat to circulate relevant meeting documents as a result of the Easter holiday.
The government had declared last Friday and Monday as public holiday to allow Christians mark the anniversary of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Presidency on Wednesday also denied speculations that the cancellation could be because of President Muhammadu Buhari’s health.
Similar speculations had trailed the absence of President Buhari last Wednesday when the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo presided over the meeting.
Speaking on the matter on Wednesday, the Senior Special Assistant to the president on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, said that it was canceled because the FRC secretariat staff had no opportunity to circulate relevant documents for the meeting because of the Easter holiday.
He said “I think it is because of the Easter holiday. The secretariat had no time to circulate the necessary documents,
“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 added
On why the documents were not circulated before the holiday since the secretariat knew before hand that there would be a holiday, he explained that as human beings, they also needed the break.
He denied the suggestion that the cancellation was related to the president’s state of health.
Stressing that it would be wrong to make such assumption, he said “That will not be fair.”
Explaining the President’s absence at FEC last week, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had said that Buhari did not attend FEC meeting because he was attending to other issues.
He said: “Clearly when we came in this morning, Mr President was not in the chambers but the Vice President did preside over the council meeting.
“Understandably, that has sparked a lot of controversies and imputations in the mind of people.
“I just want to make this clear, Mr President is in town. Mr. President is attending to other issues. Mr president looked at the agenda, it was a very light agenda and decided that the Vice President should preside.
“It’s not unusual for the kind of interest that is shown especially given the fact that Mr. President was away for a while on medical treatment and is not. We are not surprised that people will be wondering is he ill again?
“He is not ill, he is not sick. Am sure that later in the day or tomorrow morning he will be back in the office. I just want to clear that misconception.
“Is not unusual even if Mr. President is hail and hearty and everything is going on well for the VP to come and preside over meetings of the federal executive council.
“The fact that Mr. President is not in the office does not mean that he is not working.
“I have just been told now that the Secretary to the Government is already with with him in the residence working
“So, the fact that you did not see him in the office does not mean that he is not working at all.” he stated