Breaking News
Translate

Kemi Adeosun : A denouement

By Yinka Odumakin
F
ORMER Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun must be rueing her foray into public life in Nigeria which just ended abruptly and in unpleasant circumstances. Her last months in office were dodged with  a celebrated allegation of forgery of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, discharge certificate.

Minister for Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun

I have watched with keen interest her very loud silence over the allegation for several weeks and tempted to conclude that she must be full of impunity with deep contempt for the public to have carried on as if nothing was amiss. I had already composed special words for her denunciation whenever the matter came to a close.

But last Friday, she did the unexpected by throwing in her resignation letter, a rare occurrence among public officials in Nigeria whose style is to treat public office like some family inheritance no matter the weight of the allegations against them. It is a paradigm shift !

Her silence while the allegation raged seemed golden now as it more honourable for her to come clean with the public the way she did  rather than tell lies that would have worsened her case the way politicians are wont to do in Nigeria

Her resignation letter was laced with words that touched me and I quote:

“Your Excellency, kindly permit me to outline some of the background to this matter. I was born and raised in the United Kingdom, indeed my parental family home remains in London. My visits to Nigeria up until the age of thirty-four (34) were holidays, with visas obtained in my UK passport. I obtained my first Nigerian passport at the age of thirty-four (34) and when I relocated there was debate as to whether NYSC Law applied to me. Upon enquiry as to my status relating to NYSC, I was informed that due to my residency history and having exceeded the age of thirty (30), I was exempted from the requirement to serve. Until recent events, that remained my understanding.

On the basis of that advice and with the guidance and assistance of those, I thought were trusted associates, NYSC were approached for documentary proof of status. I then received the certificate in question. Having never worked in NYSC, visited the premises, been privy to nor familiar with their operations, I had no reason to suspect that the certificate was anything but genuine. Indeed, I presented that certificate at the 2011 Ogun State House of Assembly and in 2015 for Directorate of State Services, DSS, Clearance as well as to the National Assembly for screening. Be that as it may, as someone totally committed to a culture of probity and accountability I have decided to resign with effect from Friday, 14th September, 2018.”  In accordance with the National Youth Service Corps Decree 1993 section 2 subsection (1) it is stipulated that;

“With effect from 1st August, 1985, a person shall NOT be called upon to serve in the service corps if, at the date of graduation or obtaining his diploma or other professional qualification” :

He is over the age of thirty (30) years

He has served in the Armed Forces of the Federation or the Nigeria Police Force for a period of more than nine months; or

He is a member of staff of any of the following:

The Nigerian Security Organisation or

The State Security Service, or

The National Intelligence Agency or

The Defence Intelligence Service

He has been conferred with any National Honour.

These categories of persons are therefore exempted from service and issued with the Certificates of Exemption.

With the above provisions of the ACT, Adeosun  ordinarily ought to have still observed the one-year mandatory service though she returned to the country at 34. The only snag here is that those who drafted the law did not envisage a situation where individuals like her who are citizens of other countries when they graduated and also of Nigerian parentage. She did indicate she was getting visas on her UK passport until she was 34.We need to look at this aspect of the law not because of her but for the sake of thousands of Nigerian children born in other lands who may be in similiar situation.

Another important issue this incident has raised is the penchant for wantonly  breaching our processes. The trusted associates who put Adeosun in trouble by obtaining a fake exemption for her in a black market arrangement could not have been ignorant of the processes involved in obtaining an exemption certificate by graduates. For foreign graduates these are the processes :

The process begins with the evaluation of credentials and other related documents i.e. International passport.

After the evaluation of credentials, the foreign trained graduate is then registered and this is physically done at the NYSC directorate headquarters, Abuja. It is at the point of registration that the classification of who to be called-up or who to be exempted; is determined.

Certificates of Exemption are therefore produced for those exempted from service.

Such Certificates of Exemption for foreign graduates are to be collected at the NYSC directorate headquarters at the stipulated time communicated.

Those who obtained the fake certificate for her obviously did not pass through the processes because we live in a country where driver’s license can be issued to somebody who cannot start the engine of a car or even the blind. Every process can be skipped once cash is involved.

But by far more scandalous is that her resignation letter stated  that the forged NYSC certificate was submitted when she was screened for commissionership in Ogun State in 2011 and for Ministerial in 2015. That the certificate was not detected to be fake at these stages shows the flaws in our verification exercise. Little wonder our political leadership today is  made up of certificate forgers, veteran perjurers and allied criminals.  A senator once rose on the floor of our Senate to scream: “Mr. President,this chambers is filled with criminals”. There is nothing like background checks here as all you need to access leadership is plenty of money.

The lesson for all technocrats from the Adeosun ordeal is that when they want to have anything to do with the political class as it is,they should take charge of their own documentation and follow through all necessary processes so they are not embarrassed down the line. Adeosun is the one carrying the can today but she handed her life to trusted associates which has landed her in this whole saga .This is her blame in this matter and it has been very fatal.

The  former minister  needs time to lick her wounds and get on with her life. At some point, she must go to the NYSC directorate and follow the appropriate steps to show she has character and that she would not have got into all the mess if she had done it herself.

I have also come across her major interventions in critical areas of our finance system through which she proved that you don’t need to have been an IMF-World Bank guru to be impactful. Her guts in questioning frivolous expenditure in aid of anti-corruption would not have been sustained if she had to hang on with the allegation on her NYSC credential. If her successor could not sustain this her exit would have been a loss to Nigeria.

She has done the right thing by resigning her office. She must move. We  the public should be able to empathise with her for owning up to her error in a country where people with worse offenses are marching over our heads with an air of impunity.

For Adeosun and anyone in her shoes,”Fall To Rise” by Persofone is a good music for your lowest moment :

Life in every breeze of air

In every cup of tea

When fear holds your heart beating

Cowardice stabs your will

Drowning you in doubts

To get to the agonic point of giving up

Self-destruction, the only path for you to find strength

You’re weak to the bone

Poisoned for the fangs of lie

 

Feelings drown in chaotic thoughts

Face the fear, rise against the dawn

Raise your soul with pride

Your sword is faith

As you feel the death

The harder life becomes the more you must stand

You are alone in your life

But brave in your fight

 

Suffering, wounded

Again and again

Seven times ahead to fall

Rise, Rise an eight

And keep the fight

Keep the fight and

Become a warrior

 

Feeling drown in chaotic thoughts

Face the fear, rise against the dawn

Raise your soul with pride

Your sword is faith

As you feel the death

The harder life becomes the more you must stand

You are alone in your life

Alone…

 

Feeling drown in chaotic thoughts

Face the fear, rise against the dawn

Raise your soul with pride

Your sword is faith

As you feel the death

The harder life becomes the more you must stand

You are alone in your life

But brave in your fight

Feedback

Re:Garba Shehu as new EFCC chair?

HELLO Yinka,

Nigerians dey hear word? No wonder Charlie Boy is shouting his voice hoarse with “Our Mumu don do”. People are pretending that all is well, when impunity in Nigeria today, has been cascaded to its zenith. Our Christian folks are as divided as the sand of time. Nigeria is in a cross road.

For the sake of national unity and progress, nobody wants to cede an inch, and nobody wants to take the new vision of development. Nigerians are so complacent and contented with their status quo, therefore, do not wish to venture to the other side. They tend to forget that ‘no venture, no success ‘.

To have omelette in our breakfast table, we must break some eggs. Society develops further when success is challenged. But when failures stare us at our face, Hmmmm!

Victor Puegeren.

Asaba.


Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.