Speak Up Now, Adeosun!

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Since July 7, 2018, when the Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun’s National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Exemption Certificate scandal came into public domain, the minister and her aides have consistently kept sealed lips to all entreaties concerning her status as regards the genuineness or otherwise of the issue at stake. But as the reports continue to gather credibility, and by implication, undermine her integrity, the minister, the Presidency and other relevant authorities, including the NYSC and its supervising Ministry of Sports and Social Development, have remained adamant, thereby lending credence to the suspicion that the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government’s campaign against corruption is a mere fluke designed only to hunt political opponents, real or perceived.
Adeosun reportedly is parading a fake Exemption Certificate of the NYSC, since her public service life spanning from her position as a commissioner and member of the Ogun State Executive Council to the current ministerial position as finance minister. The minister, aged 22 at the time of graduation in the United Kingdom in 1989, had returned to Nigeria in 2002, three years after graduation but failed to enroll for the mandatory one-year national service, which is punishable under Section 13 of the NYSC Act.
By NYSC Act, Section 2, “Every graduate from universities in and outside Nigeria must enroll for mandatory one-year national service” to their fatherland but with a proviso that a person may be exempted at the date of graduation either on age (30 years) or health grounds. The NYSC law also stipulates severe sanctions for Nigerian graduates, who fail to serve their fatherland or be exempted in accordance with the Act. According to a former NYSC Director-General, Brig-Gen Maharazu Tsiga (rtd), “As far as one didn’t serve after graduation and without formal exemption, the NYSC can never grant you exemption at a later date.”
However, indications are that Adeosun, in truth, had applied and obtained an exemption certificate from an NYSC director-general, who left the system nine months before the certificate was issued. It is, therefore, ipso facto, questionable how the NYSC legally issued the alleged certificate. We think that if the minister illegally obtained the certificate, the act, on its own amounts to forgery, which is criminal in its entirety, and unacceptable in a sane society.
However, we are aware of the panels already set up by the Presidency and the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development to investigate the allegations against Adeosun in the heat of this controversy, which are yet to conclude work and submit their reports. Even so, we are amazed by the flimsy defence mounted by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, to downplay the criminal offence underpinning the ‘fake’ Exemption Certificate brandished by Adeosun. We think that the minister’s excuses are not weighty enough to assuage the feelings of millions of Nigerians, who feel very strongly, that the credibility of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has been further tainted by the Adeosun NYSC discharge certificate saga.
The Tide, therefore, insists that Adeosun must speak up now or throw in the towel. We believe that this is the only honourable path left for her. Indeed, the finance minister must prove evidently beyond all reasonable doubts that her NYSC certificate is genuine, and that she followed due process of law in obtaining it.
As a matter of urgency, we challenge the minister to save Nigerians the embarrassment associated with this national scandal by proving to the world, that she, and by extension, the Buhari-led Federal Government she serves, still have some reputation and integrity to protect by redeeming her image. We are particularly pained that the APC-led Federal Government that came on board in 2015 on the much-orchestrated “Change” mantra, by promising more than 180million Nigerians and the global community to depart from the mistakes of the ugly past and fight corruption, is now worse than what the 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governance bequeathed the country.
Like other well-meaning and sensible Nigerians, we strongly believe that the minister’s continued and deliberate silence constitutes a huge insult on the generality of Nigerians, who gave her principal (Buhari) the mandate. We insist that Adeosun must speak up now, resign or be sacked immediately. That is the only path of honour, and we advise the minister to respect the will of the people.