Chronicle of Adeosun’s certificate saga

[FILE PHOTO] Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun. PHOTO: CNBC Africa

PART OF The Guardian’s Editorial Of July 25

… Adeosun was never entitled to an exemption because, in the words of a former director-general of the NYSC, Brig-Gen. Maharazu Tsiga (rtd), ‘in as much as you have not served…in as much as you were not mobilised to serve at the time you were supposed to serve, (the NYSC authorities) can never give you exemption. You must go for service.’

Adeosun applied for a certificate of exemption in a system that has no room for such application. As a retired director of mobilisation in the NYSC, Mr. Anthony Ani said, ‘you don’t apply for …certificate of exemption; you present yourself for mobilisation.

The system will determine whether you are to be exempted or you are not…’ The NYSC confirmed that Adeosun, in truth, applied for a certificate of exemption, but it is yet to say how it responded, if at all it did and on what basis.  

The certificate of exemption eventually procured by the minister was reportedly signed by a director general of the NYSC, who left the system nine months or so earlier and, ipso facto, could not have legally done so. Again, this is a criminal act under Section 13 of the NYSC law.

Granted that Adeosun deserves to be heard before anyone can pass judgment, her deliberate silence insults Nigerians; it is as if what the electorate thinks and says does not matter.

This attitude of contempt for public opinion ever so evident, one way or another in high places, has degenerated into a norm with this government….

The APC promised the people of Nigeria in its manifesto, that it would ‘prevent abuse of executive, legislative and public offices through greater accountability, transparency and strict enforcement of anti-corruption laws while strengthening the EFCC and the ICPC.’

By allowing Adeosun to keep a disdainful silence in the face of the weighty allegation against her, by dilly-dallying and buck-passing on government’s position in the matter, the APC-led government under Buhari is violating its own documented pledge.

Besides, this government has again demonstrated its contempt for Nigerians and its tolerance of a terribly low standard of probity. Where is character?

If Adeosun cannot explain and conclusively disprove the allegation against her, she should quit her position immediately.

It may be Buhari’s or APC’s preference, but a poor standard of probity is beneath Nigeria.

Reacting to issue Head of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay, a professor of law, said he does not ‘bloody care’ whether the Finance Minister, Adeosun, did youth service or not, but she will remain in office.

Speaking to The Nation during an interview, Sagay said Adeosun is one of the brightest minds in Buhari’s cabinet and the issue of her participation in the NYSC was irrelevant.

“Let me tell you my reaction. This woman is a brilliant and extremely valuable member of this government.

A lot of the good things happening now – the welfare that Nigerians are enjoying and are going to enjoy, because it takes time, and the way our economy is booming, how we got out of recession – are due to her expertise, her commitment, her sacrifice

“There is nothing in this world that will make me remove such a woman from the government.

The PDP can weep from now until there is no tear in their body; she is going to be there. We cannot afford to lose that woman.

“Who cares about youth service? I don’t bloody care whether she did youth service or not. It’s irrelevant as far as I am concerned.

I don’t believe it. I don’t see anything serious about not doing youth service. I don’t see anything serious about it. That’s my own bias, not government’s.

I’m telling you now. If I were President Buhari, I would never, ever touch that woman because she’s damn good,” he said.

Sagay had in July when the report on Adeosun’s certificate forgery was published made similar comments, saying that “as far as I am concerned, there is nothing against her right now.”

“I think the onus should be on the NYSC since she applied and got a certificate. If that is not contradicted, they should just leave her alone but if it is contradicted, then there would be an issue to consider.”

When the news of Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, not participating in the mandatory one-year NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) scheme, instead she forged an exemption certificate many years after graduation broke into the news space on July 7, 2018 by online media platform, Premium Times, many did not believe, as some Nigerians said the story was written by a self-aggrandizing journalist, who was paid to serve an interest, and incapable of producing a balanced or objective report.

According to the online newspaper, Adeosun’s official credentials obtained show that she parades a supposedly NYSC exemption certificate issued in September 2009, granting her exemption from the mandatory service on account of age.

The yearlong service is compulsory for all Nigerians, who graduate from universities or equivalent institutions at less than 30 years of age.

The online platform in its investigation reported that Adeosun graduated from the Polytechnic of East London in 1989, at the age of 22.

The institution changed name to University of East London in 1992.

According to the minister’s curriculum vitae, she was born in March 1967. Having graduated at 22, it is obligatory for her to participate in the one-year national service for her to qualify for any job in Nigeria.

However, at the time of her graduation, Adeosun then known and address as Folakemi Oguntomoju did not return to Nigeria to serve her fatherland.

Upon graduation in 1989, the Applied Economics graduate pursued fast-paced career in the British public and private sectors.

The online newspaper gathered that upon returned to Nigeria in 2002, Adeosun still did not deem it necessary to participate in the NYSC scheme.

She simply accepted a job offer at a private firm, Chapel Hill Denham.

However, ostensibly concerned that she might run into trouble for skipping the mandatory scheme, she, sometime in 2009, procured a purported NYSC exemption certificate.

On investigation, top officials of the scheme informed Premium Times that NYSC does not issue exemption certificate to anyone who, like the minister, graduates before turning 30.

The minister’s ‘certificate’ dated September 9, 2009, was purportedly signed by a former Director-Deneral of the corps, Yusuf Bomoi. Meanwhile, officials at NYSC said Brig-Gen Bomoi step down, as DG NYSC in January 2009.

Hence, he couldn’t have signed any certificate for the corps eight months after.

By the provision of Section 12 of the NYSC Act, employers must demand NYSC certificates from prospective employees.

The law also mandates employees to present only genuine certificates for that purpose.

Section 12 of the Act reads: “For the purposes of employment anywhere in the Federation and before employment, it shall be the duty of every prospective employer to demand and obtained from any person who claims to have obtained his first degree at the end of the academic year 1973-74 or, as the case may be, at the end of any subsequent academic year the following:- a copy of the Certificate of National Service of such person issued pursuant to section 11 of this Decree

b. a copy of any exemption certificate issued to such person pursuant to section 17 of this Decree
c. such other particulars relevant there to as may be prescribed by or under this Decree.”

The online newspaper reported that Adeosun, despite this provision, used the certificate in question to clinch high-profile jobs at Quo Vadis Partnership (Managing Director), Ogun State Government (Commissioner for Finance) and Federal Government of Nigeria (Minister of Finance).

On becoming governor in 2011, Senator Ibikunle Amosun nominated Adesoun into his cabinet, where she served as Commissioner of Finance for four years, while President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2015, sworn her in as minister, and assigned the all-important finance ministry, after a supposed security and senate screening.

According Premium Times the Department for State Security Service (DSS), charged with the responsibility of vetting appointees to top government positions, failed to verifying the veracity of the certificate presented the minister, as such could not detect the NYSC certificate was fake.

A cartel in the National Assembly had in the heat of the saga alleged that the certificate scandal was a tool for blackmail, saying that it was being used to coerce the finance minister to keep releasing funds to the lawmaking arm.

The online news platform had reported that some federal lawmakers revealed that the Senate detected the discrepancy during the minister’s confirmation hearing but rather than probe the issue, they turned it into a tool against her.

The report linked the certificate scandal to the minister’s excessive, even illegal, funding of the lawmakers, including the funneling of a N10billion largesse to that arm of government.

A lawyer, Sagir Gezawa, had described the jobs Adeosun has had as illegal.

“The combined effect of sections 12 and 13 of the NYSC Act is that it is illegal to hire a person who graduated but failed to make himself or herself available to serve, or falsify any document to the effect that he or she has served or exempted from serving,” he said.

Gbenga Olorunpomi @GbengaGold on Twitter: “Instead of dragging this out, I suggest she honourably resigns to give the government much needed credibility.

Don’t wait for PMB to do it, Ma. Take the high road.

Sesan Koya on Facebook said: “She graduated in UK and started working in UK, so she didn’t need to serve in Nigeria then.

By the time she came to work in Nigeria, she had already worked many years in UK, so I don’t see any error here.

Are you now saying that NYSC programme that was meant for freshly graduated students should now be taken for Nigerians that have not only studied, but also worked abroad?

If she only studied abroad but didn’t work for many years, and came back to accept a job, that will be acceptable.

How many people that only studied abroad come back home and serve the NYSC programme before gaining employment?

So if you have worked abroad and you get an employment in Nigeria, because you are under 30, the company will hold the job down for you so that you will serve for 1 year? Common, let’s be reasonable for once.

Oluseyi Joseph @Jagunbaba on Twitter asked, “Does this affect her competence? What would wasted 1-year NYSC add to your value. Abeg….go get work Premium.

Omo Eyero @bolu_tokede said, “This is Medicine after death; why didn’t they find out all these before giving her a ministerial appointment?

Didn’t they check her CV? To be candid this is part of our lawlessness.

This is an example for those, who think they are influential. One day, one time, the truth will be revealed.

Receive News Alerts on Whatsapp: +2348136370421


No comments yet

Related