Beyond Adeosun’s Resignation

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When on July 7, 2018, the Social Economic Right and Accountability Project (SERAP) and other well-meaning individuals and groups in Nigeria broke the news that the immediate past Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun was parading a fake and forged NYSC Exemption Certificate dated September 7, 2009, most Nigerians, especially the members and leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) merely dismissed the issue with a wave of the hand.
Until the erstwhile embattled Minister, a key cabinet member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration resigned a forthnight ago, after 69 days of studied silence by the former minister and her aides, the issue of her participation in the one year mandatory national service after graduation was shrouded in secrecy. The Presidency strived hard to down play the criminal offence punishable under NYSC Act, Section 13.
While the controversy, now popularly known as AdeosunGate raged on, Frank Tietie, the Executive Director, Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER), Francis Obahim, a constitutional lawyer and Action Peoples Party (APP) filed separate legal suits demanding the sack and prosecution of the former Minister. The issue occupied the front burner of national discourse when it was first raised by Premium Times and SERAP.
Indeed, the media was awash with reports of the scandal, thereby putting the ex-Minister under intense pressure prior to her resignation and miraculous escape from Nigeria’s shores a forthnight ago.
The Tide sees the entire AdeosunGate episode as very unfortunate, embarrassing and a national shame, particularly against the backdrop of the anti-corruption posture of the Buhari administration. That a top official of this administration is caught in the web of corrupt practices is unbelievable and to a great extent rubbishes its anti-ccorruption crusade.
We had on several occasions in our editorials described the war against corruption under the current dispensation as a mere fluke, specifically designed and targeted at perceived political opponents, real or imagined.
The fact that the Presidency did not arrest and prosecute Adeosun buttresses the point and lends credence to our earlier position. Better put, the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption campaign is vindictive, vengeful and selective in all ramifications.
It is infact, ironic that Adeosun served as a Commissioner and member of the Ogun State Executive Council and later as Finance Minister for three years under Buhari, since she returned from the United Kingdom in 2002, and passed through several security and legislative screenings, without being detected to have committed forgery. This, indeed, portrays Nigeria as a country where anything goes undetected.
We, therefore, make bold to say that if the Buhari administration should be taken seriously on its anti-corruption war, the former Minister must be extradited, prosecuted and brought to justice for forgery and conspiracy offences in accordance with the laws of the land.
Moreso, Adeosun ought to have been suspended and kept on close watch while investigations are ongoing. That she was let off the hook and allowed to escape to the United Kingdom smacks of the highest level of conspiracy by the powers-that-be.
The former Minister must face the law and be subjected to thorough investigation as well as be compelled to name all her accomplices in the AdeosunGate if the APC-led Federal Government must come clean of this shameful scandal.
The soft landing given to her by the Federal Government, by allowing her flee the country is unacceptable and it is a way and means of shielding her from prosecution. Until Adeosun is arrested and prosecuted, her likes in public offices will think that they can eat their cake and have it at the same time.
The integrity of the Presidency and the ruling APC-Federal Government is under scrutiny and anything short of her extradition will be unacceptable to Nigerians. The increasing dearth of integrity in high places in Nigeria must stop now.