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The weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council could not hold on Wednesday due to the absence of Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, who has just concluded a working visit to the United States.

The development is one of the consequences arising from President Umaru Yar'Adua's health condition, as his absence from office meant that only Jonathan is currently available to convene and preside over FEC meetings.

Only the President or the vice-president on behalf of the President can convene and preside over the FEC meeting.

With the vice-president currently functioning as the Acting President, there is no deputy at the highest level of governance, a situation which means that some vital government commitments will not be met if Jonathan is not available.

FEC was unable to meet on March 10, 2010, following a clash of programmes on the Acting President's itinerary, as he had to attend an African Union Agro Allied Business Seminar at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, at 10am, the same time the meeting normally commences in the Council Chambers of the State House, Abuja.

As a result of the development, the meeting was rescheduled to 2pm, but it was eventually cancelled entirely after Jonathan returned from the AU seminar.

The official explanation then was that the Acting President's schedule was full.

Jonathan's trip to the US, his first trip abroad since Yar'Adua travelled to Saudi Arabia to receive medical treatment, had also prompted some confusion over which official would be in charge of the government in his absence.

Initially, there were insinuations that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, would be in charge of the government pending Jonathan's return from the four-day visit to the US.

But although the Presidency moved to clear the confusion by explaining that the Acting President's trip to the US was a 'working-visit,' meaning that he would still be discharging the functions of the office while abroad, it added to the uncertainty by listing some 'senior officials of the executive branch' of government as those who would 'be fully on the ground' in Jonathan's absence.

The three listed top government officials are the SGF; the National Security Adviser, Gen. Aliyu Gusau (rtd); and the Principal Secretary to the Acting President, Chief Mike Oghiadome.