Juliana Taiwo Obalonye, Abuja

Former Head of Interim National Government, Ernest Shonekan, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Goodluck Jonathan are currently attending the National Council of State meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The meeting is being presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Shonekan arrived at the venue at10.36am, Obasanjo 10.51am, Abubakar 10.56 am while Jonathan came in at 11.08am.

The meeting started after 11 am shortly after the president stepped into the council chambers.

The council comprises past presidents and heads of state, chief justices of Nigeria, the leadership of the National Assembly and state governors among others.

Obasanjo offered the opening Christian prayers while Mohammed Uwais said the Muslim prayers. This was followed by a one-minute silence in honour of late President Shehu Shagari, late Aloysius Katsina Alu and Idris Kutigi.

Also at the meeting are the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

State governors in attendance include those of Osun, Kebbi, Zamfara, Plateau, Ebonyi, Adamawa, Edo, Lagos, Niger, Borno, Ogun, Ekiti, Kogi as well as the deputy governors of Bauchi, Kaduna, and Rivers.

Others present are the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd); Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha; Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita; Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello and Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.

In a brief opening remark, Mustapha said that the meeting would discuss five keys issues without providing details.

However, it was learnt that the issues likely to dominate discussions include the national minimum wage, and confirmation of the appointment of the acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.

The forthcoming general elections and security of the nation are also expected to engage the attention of the attendees.

The last time the Council of State meeting was held was 11 months ago, on February 22, 2018, to deliberate on Nigeria’s economy, national security and 2019 elections.

The council advises the president in the exercise of his powers with respect to the: national population census and compilation, publication and keeping of records and other information concerning the same, prerogative of mercy, award of national honours, the Independent National Electoral Commission (including the appointment of members of the Commission), the National Judicial Council (including the appointment of the members, other than ex-officio members of that council) and the National Population Commission (including the appointment of members of the commission).

The council also advises the president whenever he requests, on the maintenance of public order within the federation or any part thereof and on such other matters as the president may direct.

The meeting is in progress at the moment.