Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, has said President Muhammadu Buhari can decide to hold any meeting anywhere in the Villa because he enjoys benefits of incumbency by virtue of his election as President.
Shehu, who spoke on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’, was responding to criticism by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the use of council chambers for the dissolution of the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“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.
He added that the President used the chambers over the COVID-19 pandemic. He also argued that no law was broken in the process.
“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,” he said.