Kemi Adeosun’s NYSC certificate scandal will shame at least one Nigerian institution; the more the better

Kemi Adeosun

Following the bombshell report on Kemi Adeosun’s alleged forgery of a National Youth Service Corps exemption certificate, the NYSC directorate has confirmed that the Minister did request to be given the certificate but they did not state when she made the request.

That is very significant; if Mrs Adeosun did not request the exemption certificate before turning 30 in March of 1997, it would be interesting to know on what grounds she made her request and why it was granted, if it was granted.

Without any response so far, her published records provide us a guide on making sense of the events and on what to expect.

As far as can be deduced from the sequence of appointments on her resume published by Premium Times, Mrs Adeosun served as an internal auditor for the Housing Department at the London Borough of Southwark between 1996 and 2000, after which she worked two further years at a leading professional services firm.

These were before taking up the first job in Nigeria from 2003 until 2010 at an investment banking and securities management firm where she established contacts at the Central Bank and rose to prominence within the Nigerian financial sector.

It must have been sometime within the period of this first Nigerian job that the Minister decided it necessary to obtain a cover for her lack of the mandatory National Youth Service.

By September of 2009 when her discharge certificate was signed, Mrs Adeosun was already 42 years and two full decades had passed since her graduation from the University of East London.

Having not considered it necessary to undertake the compulsory youth service for any period between her graduation in 1989 and her thirtieth birthday in 1997, and without an exemption granted for a full decade after that, what made it necessary to obtain one just two years before being appointed the Ogun state Commissioner for Finance in 2011 by Governor Ibikunle Amosun?

By NYSC’s extant laws, it is illegal and criminal to hold a forged discharge, exemption or exclusion certificate.

Never mind the laughable N5000 fine that could be substituted for a jail term if one is found guilty, the sheer disgrace of having such a highly ranked public servant (already under scrutiny for some questionable transactions on the Treasury’s behalf) turning out to be a law breaker on such a grand scale is one that should command national outrage and frustration.

Can a decadent system of patronage and malfeasance be any more depressing?

Have stranger things happened in Nigeria than a Minister having forged a certificate? Perhaps, but this would be no light matter if it turns out to be true.

The Minister has chosen silence as the best response till the directorate of the NYSC completes their internal investigation of the matter.

However, she could easily put the matter to bed by presenting a definite original copy of the debated certificate in a firm show of defence of her and the Buhari administration’s integrity.

Her silence does not immediately translate to a declaration of guilt; since there have been no summons served on her by any law enforcement agency, silence is the tactic adopted to not give the publishers of the report – Premium Times – an air of validation or importance.

Yet, the developments are one which every Nigerian will be following keenly.

This should not disappear after some time to be overtaken by another scandal, killing or some rats-in-the-Villa shenanigan.

Two things seem clear: Nigeria’s Minister of Finance simply cannot be a fraud; it sets off all kinds of wrong alarms to the local and international business community.

She will surely have to be fired and prosecuted should her alibi fail to hold if and when the NYSC disowns her.

Also, the operational integrity of security agencies at both state and federal levels will have been dented as they should have spotted the irregularity in her exemption certificate during her screening for public offices as Commissioner and Minister.

The Directorate of State Services, widely regarded as working specially for the interest of the President, will be a major guilty party here whose code of operations will deserve to be reviewed.

Should Mrs Adeosun come out unscathed based on some solid ground, it will be the NYSC principles will become mocked.

There are no valid grounds according to their laws and in anybody’s mind why the Minister should have been granted an exemption certificate 1997.

If they contrived a reason to do so in 2009, even with the signature of an already retired Director-General, it will become the latest example yet of Nigerian institutions being mere rent shops run according to the whims of landlords.

There will be renewed agitation for the abolishment of the NYSC which many already believe serves none of its original aims.

The scheme has become of no value to anyone who can do without the monthly stipends of N19,800 and those who have the means to not report to places where they are originally posted cannot be said to be “doing NYSC”.

But let’s be patient and see what the directorate says. If it issued the exemption, why? If it did not, it is pretty straightforward what should follow.

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