The Presidency says only the ruling All Progressives Congress can use the Presidential Villa for meetings because the APC won the Presidential election and the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), enjoys the benefits of incumbency.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, however, said the Peoples Democratic Party and others would not be able to use the Villa for similar activities because they didn’t win the election last year.
Shehu said this on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ programme on Sunday while reacting to criticisms from the PDP that Buhari was wrong to have dissolved the APC’s National Working Committee and inaugurate a caretaker committee at the council chambers.
The President’s spokesman said, “Incumbency confers on a leader a number of advantages. The chairman of the PDP cannot say today ‘give me a room in the Villa, I want to go and sleep there’. They will not admit him because he didn’t win an election.
“The opposition cannot go to the Villa and say give us a conference room, we want to use it. You have to win an election to go in there. Those who won elections before us have used the Villa. When we have finished our own term we will leave and new people will come to come and occupy it. The incumbency advantages are there. That is the essence of winning. If you lose, you don’t get there.”
Shehu said the President could have chosen to use anywhere in the Villa including his bedroom to host a video/telephone conference.
He argued that the COVID-19 pandemic was what forced the President to use the council chambers.
The President’s spokesman said, “If you look at the laws of the country, there is nothing that says a section of the Villa is designated for this meeting or that meeting. So, no law was violated. The President is a permanent resident of the Villa so long as he is serving his elected term in office.
“He was required to present himself before a TV camera and be part of a digital meeting. This meeting had been called not to take place in the Villa but to talk place digitally and the President had around himself some governors who came and some members of the National Assembly and the President chose to do this from the council chambers because no law says he cannot make a conference call from the bedroom or any chambers.”