THE Federal Government yesterday explained why Vice President Yemi Osinbajo presided over the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the State House.
It said President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence at the meeting had nothing to do with ill health, urging Nigerians to disregard any report suggesting that the President was ill.
The Information, Culture and Tourism Minister, Lai Mohammed, who refuted the President’s ‘ill’ reports, State House reporters that the President was hale, hearty and attending to other state matters.
With him was the Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehinare and Minister of State for the Environment, Ibrahim Jubril.
Mohammed said Buhari’s absence at the FEC did not mean the President was not at work.
He said: “I want to make some remarks on what I think is trending. Clearly when you came in this morning, Mr. President was not in the chamber and the Vice President did preside over the council meeting.
“Understandably, that has sparked controversies and agitations in the mind of the people. I just want to make this clear that Mr. President is in town, Mr. President is attending to other issues.
“Mr. President looked at the agenda, a very light agenda, and decided that the vice president should preside. It is not unusual for the kind of interest that has been shown, especially given the fact that Mr. President was away for a while on medical treatment. We are not surprised that people will be wondering if the President is ill again.
“He is not ill, he is not sick. I am sure that later in the day or tomorrow morning, he will be back in the office. I just want to clear that misconception. It’s not unusual, even if the President is hale and hearty and everything going on well, for the vice president to preside over the FEC meeting.”
Yesterday’s FEC was the first to be presided over by Prof Osinbajo since President Buhari returned from medical vacation in the United Kingdom (UK) on March 10.
Osinbajo asked the Minister of Defence, Bri.-Gen. Dan Ali Mansur and his Industry Trade & Investment counterpart, Okechukwu Enelamah to the Christian and the Muslim opening prayers.