LONGSTANDING readers of this column will know that I was never enthusiastic about Ms Kemi Adeosun’s appointment as President Muhammadu Buhari’s Minister of Finance in 2015…because, much as I wanted to strongly support a seemingly pleasant fellow female who’d bagged a prestige post, I felt that Ms Adeosun lacked the gravitas and exposure to do the job outstandingly.To be brutally blunt, I’ve always thought that she was not a patch on her clever and classy predecessor, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who was trained at superb Ivy League American universities, distinguished herself within the upper echelons of the World Bank in Washington DC, ran our nation’s economy on behalf of two different Presidents (Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan) and is now a member of the Board of Twitter, the iconic global social media company.
And, as Buhari increasingly came under attack for not maximizing Nigeria’s economic potential – the past three-plus years have been way too tough for the average Nigerian! – it was difficult not to ascribe at least part of Buhari’s failure to the performance of Ms Adeosun, who is widely regarded as being weak within a professional context.
Still, when I watched her being relentlessly hounded for submitting a fake National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate, I concluded that the vitriol that was being directed at her was excessive.
I had no idea whether she was lying or telling the truth when she said that she’d had no idea that the certificate – organised for her by an associate – was forged; but I felt sorry for her.
Understandably and appropriately, journalists and political opponents of the Buhari Administration – as well as regular folks who are neither journalists nor politicians but just don’t like anyone to get away with wuru-wuru – flatly refused to let Adeosun off the hook.
Last Friday, she resigned and returned to the UK, where she grew up. And I don’t know for sure whether she either succumbed to pressure and jumped of her own accord or was firmly pushed over the edge by superiors who were tired of the embarrassment she was generating for a government that is bracing itself for an election.
Whatever triggered off Ms Adeosun’s departure from the corridors of power, she’s gone now. And I think that her departure made sense. But I am angry with the critics who are carrying on as if she committed murder and insisting that she should be further punished!
Some are saying that even if she didn’t have a clue that the certificate was rubbish, they feel that she should be prosecuted because “ignorance is no defence” when it comes to breaking the law.
My view is that being massively humiliated and losing a treasured top job is enough punishment within this context. My view (based on personal experience) is that NYSC is a great idea but so rickety and badly-run that many people (rightly!) struggle to take it seriously.
My view is that even if Adeosun knew that her exemption certificate was a counterfeit document, fudging on the NYSC front is very commonplace and not a major crime by any standards!
My view is that we should focus on the much more serious ethical and practical infractions that public servants, politicians and their sidekicks routinely inflict on our suffering nation.
As I write, there are numerous militaristic members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and main Opposition PDP who are doing truly terrible things in desperate bids to secure their individual interests or parties’ positions, as they gear up for upcoming legislative, gubernatorial and presidential primaries.
I voted for Buhari because he loudly promised to aggressively fight corruption. Yet he remains shiftily silent while gun-running APC thugs go on the rampage in various states of the Federation.
Does Buhari not realize that “corruption” goes beyond governmental theft and that it is his moral responsibility to save us from bad boys who are turning this country into an evil, dangerous jungle?
I didn’t know that Buhari would wind up being as relaxed about violence and general dodginess as the PDP people he replaced.
The APC’s Acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, says that the resignation of Ms Adeosun – and acceptance of her resignation by Mr President – is an act of “honour, strength, character and integrity.”
Some world-weary, disillusioned onlookers, including this columnist (who supports no party unconditionally), reckon that if Buhari was genuinely wedded to real honour, integrity, etc, he’d get rid of the many dubious persons who populate the APC, the Presidency and the many ministries, departments, agencies and state governments that are controlled by the APC and the Presidency.
At any rate, Kemi Adeosun is an innocent and a saint compared to the real villains who are warping and wrecking Nigeria!