Importantly, Madam Adeosun must know that what led to the uproar and strident calls for her removal was not whether she had a NYSC certificate or needed the certificate to be able to hold the office of a minister, but the fact that she presented a forged Exemption Certificate to the authorities. The forgery was not discovered until the press exposed the lie.
On July 7, a Federal High Court in Abuja ruled that Mrs Kemi Adeosun, as of the time she was appointed a Minister in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari, did not need an NYSC Discharge Certificate or any form of waiver to be able to hold such a high public office or contest any election in Nigeria. The Presiding Judge, Honourabe Justice Taiwo Taiwo, declared that, as a British citizen who graduated from a United Kingdom university at 22 years of age in 1989, Mrs Adeosun was unqualified to participate in the NYSC programme meant for Nigerian graduates. As reported in online edition of This Day newspaper of July 8, Honourabe Justice Taiwo argued that when Mrs Adeosun returned to Nigeria and became a Nigerian citizen at over 30 years old, she had become ineligible to participate in the NYSC scheme, adding that it would have been a criminal offence if she had participated in the NYSC under any guise.
For clearly understandable reasons, the former Minister took a victory tour across the social media to congratulate herself, family, lawyers and just about every other person in her orbit. Hear her: “The court, presided over by Honourabe Justice Taiwo Taiwo, ruled that the constitution does not require me to present my first degree certificate or any other certificate, including the NYSC certificate, to be appointed a Minister. More importantly, he also ruled that I was not eligible to perform NYSC by virtue of the constitution.” The triumphant former minister went further to declare that “the ruling vindicates me after a very traumatic spell.” Basking in victory, Mrs Adeosun made sure to throw in a veiled threat, declaring that “in light of the court’s ruling, I will at the appropriate time and without hesitation, take all further steps necessary within the law to protect my reputation.”
Mrs Adeosun deserves our collective gratitude in taking the courage to go to court to challenge a grey area in the NYSC law that affects many young Nigerians born to Nigerian parents abroad with the right of dual citizenship. Like many Nigerian parents and their offsprings who would benefit from Honourable Justice Taiwo’s ruling, I must congratulate Mrs Adeosun on her legal victory. Indeed, Madam Adeosun has every right to protect her reputation, but she must not push her luck too far by threatening legal action against her traducers. Nigerians have come to accept the fact that she was unfortunate to mix with the wrong crowd or some persons who sought and got the forged NYSC certificate on her behalf, only to expose the big lie when apparently they could not bend her to do their bidding. Such shenanigans are some of the reasons not a few decent Nigerians stay far away from politics to protect their reputations. Apparently Madam Adeosun could not resist the lure and glitter of politics; hence she was forced to swallow a poison pill in the public square.
On a personal level, my unsolicited advice to you, Madam, is to not push your luck. Even in your treatise on social media, you conveniently choose not to answer whether you presented a forged certificate or not; a question that agitated the minds of not a few Nigerians while this debacle lasted. You do not need to answer that now, because even though the past may be a prologue, it is not destiny.
Importantly, Madam Adeosun must know that what led to the uproar and strident calls for her removal was not whether she had a NYSC certificate or needed the certificate to be able to hold the office of a minister, but the fact that she presented a forged Exemption Certificate to the authorities. The forgery was not discovered until the press exposed the lie. The former Minister must not also forget that the judgment was silent on the vexatious issue of a forged NYSC certificate, because that was never an issue before the court. The court only made a ruling based on the relief she herself sought, namely, that she did not require the NYSC certificate to be appointed as a Minister. That should be good enough for Madam Adeosun, especially because the threat to retrieve a ruined reputations from a highly charged public interest disputation can be a slippery slope.
Nigerians are a very forgiving people; they have moved on, so Madam Adeosun should let sleeping dogs lie. On a personal level, my unsolicited advice to you, Madam, is to not push your luck. Even in your treatise on social media, you conveniently choose not to answer whether you presented a forged certificate or not; a question that agitated the minds of not a few Nigerians while this debacle lasted. You do not need to answer that now, because even though the past may be a prologue, it is not destiny. Your colourful launch of the DashMe Foundation, with the Vice President in attendance, amply demonstrated your continuing star power and potential for a great comeback. Keep your eye on the ball and do not look back, for the past is gone and only the future beckons. And now, Madam Adeosun, whatever be the case, accept my best wishes for a glorious future where NYSC certificates do not rule the roost.
Wale Oloko writes from Lagos, Nigeria.
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