All That You Need to Know About Kemi Adeosun NYSC Certificate’s Saga
I have been meaning to do a thread on Kemi Adeosun for a while now, as I considered her to be the most reform-minded Minister in the current govt. We will get to that later but let’s first deal with the NYSC saga that led to her resignation. Here’s A Thread by Dr.Joe Abah.
Let’s start with the Kemi Adeosun resignation letter. She said that she had become privy to the findings of the investigation into the allegation by Premium Times that the NYSC Exemption Certificate she presented was not genuine. She said she was shocked by the findings. We are not yet privy to the findings of that those investigation but it is safe to assume that the investigation determined that the Exemption Certificate she presented was not genuine. She therefore felt that she had no option than to resign. I hope that govt will publicise it.
Mrs Adeosun said in her resignation letter that she did not obtain a Nigerian passport until she was 34 years old & she admitted that there was a debate as to whether the NYSC Act applied in her case. She was born & raised in London. NYSC admitted that she applied for exemption. She also said in her resignation letter that she was cleared by the Ogun State House of Assembly when she was appointed Commissioner of Finance in 2011 and by the DSS and National Assembly when she was appointed Minister of Finance in 2015. This raises a number of questions.
First, the NYSC Act is clear on who is entitled to an exemption and the process for getting it. Section 2(1) of the NYSC Act of 1993 lists the categories of people who could be entitled to an exemption from national service. It was always unlikely that she would qualify.
The following classes of persons are exempt from NYSC:
1. People older than 30 when graduating from university, polytechnic or college of education. She didn’t qualify here.
2. People that had served in the Nigerian Police or armed forces for at least 9 months. Not applicable.
It was, therefore, with great sadness and a very heavy heart that I called for her to be sacked AND prosecuted if she was found to have forged her NYSC Exemption Certificate. Even if she had been naive, it is a grievous error of judgment for someone managing the national treasury.
Let’s now go to the issue of the clearances she had previously received. First of all, State Houses of Assembly are in the pockets of state governors. The Ogun State House of Assembly dared not question whatever the governor wanted. They wouldn’t have checked anything. Next, the DSS clearance. As far as I know, the DSS doesn’t check the authenticity of certificates presented directly with the issuing authority UNLESS there is reason for doubt. That means that she could even have presented fake academic certificates, not just NYSC & been cleared.
Proof of this is that the Vice President, as Acting President, initially appointed someone who was under investigation by ICPC into the ICPC Board. The DSS should have known this. This only happens when the bureaucracy of the civil service in the SGF’s Office is bypassed. I believe that then screening by the National Assembly follows the same pattern. They don’t check back with the issuing authority & rely instead on the DSS. Some have alleged that NASS was aware that Kemi Adeosun’s Exemption Certificate was fake & were using it to blackmail her.
I think that this overestimates the capacity of the National Assembly, UNLESS someone had blown the whistle. I also think that the allegation that she was being blackmailed is likely to be far-fetched for two reasons.
1. She is not responsible for Appropriation. That is MBNP.
2. NASS’s money is a first line charge which is outside the control of the Minister of Finance. The only issue within her control is release of funds for “Constituency Projects” already appropriated for. I don’t know about blackmailing her for that one but I think it’s unlikely.
A number of issues remain for the government to address:
1. The review of the NYSC Act and Scheme
2. Nigerian citizens with dual nationality working in Nigeria without NYSC.
3. The control of state governors over State Houses of Assembly.
4. Screenings by DSS
5. NASS Screenings.
6. Record keeping in the public service
7. Speed of response to allegations by the government
8. Confidence in the anti-corruption fight, with particular regards to the people advising government.
9. Leaks in government documents.
10. Building the confidence of the people.