Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has explained that President Buhari’s absence at Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting was not due to ill health.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo presided over the weekly FEC meeting on Wednesday at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, triggering speculations that the President may have taken ill again.
It was the first time Osinbajo would be chairing the FEC meeting when the President is in town.
But Mohammed told State House correspondents after the meeting that the President had other issues he was attending to and that the day’s agenda was light, hence the decision for the Vice President to chair the meeting.
The minister said: “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.”
“He is not ill, he is not sick. I’m sure that later in the day or tomorrow morning he will be back in the office. I just want to clear that misconception.
Mohammed added that “it’s not unusual even if Mr. President is hale 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 of the federation is already 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.”
President Buhari returned to Nigeria on March 10 after an extended medical vacation in the United Kingdom.
Addressing some top government officials on the day of his return, Buhari said he had never “been this ill” in his entire life, adding that he could be returning to London in the coming weeks for medical checks.