Almost seventy days after she was exposed for allegedly possessing a “fake” NYSC certificate, Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, finally resigned her office on Friday.
In view of the long-expected move by Mrs Adeosun, THE WHISTLER takes a look at the timeline of events that led to the minister’s final and perhaps difficult decision.
July 7, 2018 – Adeosun’s trouble began after Premium Times published an exclusive investigative report on July 7 detailing how the minister submitted a “forged” certificate she claimed she obtained from the National Youth Service Corps.
The NYSC scheme is a one-year youth service programme mandatory for all university and polytechnic graduates in the country who are below 30 years of age. For graduates who attain 30 years before graduation, exemption certificates are issued. But according to the report, Mrs Adeosun, who reportedly graduated from the Polytechnic of East London at the age of 22 with B.Sc Applied Economic, forged an exemption certificate instead of undergoing the mandatory national youth service. It was gathered that the minister, who did not return to Nigeria after she graduated from the institution (now known as University of East London), returned to Nigeria in 2002 after previously working at British Telecoms, Goodman Jones, London Underground Company, PriceWaterCoopers, and Chapel Hill Denham.
Meanwhile, the NYSC certificate Adeosun submitted before her appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari as Finance Minister is dated September 9, 2009, and was said to be carrying the signature of a former Director General of the Corps, Yusuf Bomoi, who had retired from the job even before the date on the minister’s certificate. Ever since her alleged certificate forgery scandal was brought to the fore, Mrs Adeosun has maintained silence concerning the matter.
July 9, 2018 – Following the controversy surrounding the report, the NYSC, in a release by its Head of Press Unit, Mrs Adeyemi Adenike, said that the minister indeed applied for an exemption certificate but said it would need to investigate the matter to provide further information. “Our attention has been drawn to the issue of the alleged forgery of an NYSC Exemption Certificate by the Honourable Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun,” said the Scheme, adding that “Checking our records, Mrs. Adeosun did apply for an Exemption Certificate. We shall investigate the origin of the purported Exemption Certificate in question.”
– Calls For Adeosun’s Sack or Resignation –
July 9, 2018 – Following her refusal to speak on the matter, a number of groups and organization have called for the minister’s resignation. The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) said of the certificate scandal: “What should not be encouraged, under any guise, is a reign of impunity as the country steers towards consolidation of its democratic culture. This scandal in which Mrs Adeosun is presently enmeshed is a vindication of CACOL’s position taken as far back as 2015 that she was not morally upright to hold public office based on her past,” adding that, “We recollect that this scandal- which was first broken by PremiumTimesOnline Newspaper-had resulted in the Finance Minister becoming vulnerable to blackmail from members of the National Assembly.”
July 14, 2018 – Amidst her certificate forgery scandal, Mrs Adeosun was elected the Chairperson board of the African Export-Import Bank. The election was made during the Annual General Meeting of the AFREXIMBANK in Abuja.
July 15, 2018 – The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on its part said, “The failure to address the allegations may create public anger and lead to accusation of cover-up. The public can become passive and cynical if it believes that people in position of public trust are out for themselves. It is the core responsibility of any senior public official to prevent that cynicism.” According to the organization,” adding that, “When those in position of public trust refuse to speak up on allegations bordering on certificate forgery, it invariably creates a psychological climate, a moral culture in which citizens are more likely to embrace illegal actions and choose to undertake them.”
July 16, 2018 – BugdgIT Nigeria said, “The Buhari Administration has often opined its commitments to weed out corruption and other related vices but we find the silence in antithesis to such disposition. We find the certificate saga an indictment on the capability of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Department of State Security, National Assembly and National Youth Service Corps. We affirm that Nigerian institutions are being compromised on the altar on political expediency and the “Change” mantra as advanced by the current governing party is gradually a trite phrase,” said the civic tech organization, adding that, “The current issue is an example of gross misconduct within the cabinet of an administration that prides itself on integrity. We call on President Buhari to take appropriate action regarding this and also for the Minister to provide a response to the allegations. Without a convincing response to this ignoble situation, we call on Ms. Kemi Adeosun to resign from her position as the Honorable Minister of Finance of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and accept the consequences of her actions as stated in the law. We affirm Ms. Kemi Adeosun poses a risk to the treasury with alleged unauthentic documents which she has used to function as the Ogun State Commissioner of Finance and Honourable Minister of Finance. BudgIT looks forward to expedited resolution of this matter,” said BudgIT. It is believed that it in view of the mounting pressure on Adeosun to resign, that the minister finally took the bold step 69 days since the original made rounds in the media.
July 18, 2018 – The Nigeria Police Force said it was not aware of the allegation of certificate forgery leveled against Mrs Adeosun in the media. The Force PRO, Mr Jimoh Moshood had said: “I have not read the report of what you said was published in newspapers. As I said, we can’t investigate the allegations until there is a verbal or written complaint against her (the finance minister).” He also said unless there is a written or oral complaint against the minister, the Police would not be able to investigate the certificate forgery allegation leveled against the minister: “There must be a complaint, either written or verbal to us. You must write to a divisional police station or the Commissioner of Police or to the Inspector-General of Police; we have not received any complaint, so we can’t investigate it (allegation of forgery),” said Moshood.
– The Presidency’s Reaction –
August 10, 2018 – In the wake of the mounting calls for Adeosun’s resignation , some presidential aides had at different points made remarks regarding the matter. The Chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay, had said he didn’t give a hoot if Mrs Adeosun possessed genuine NYSC certificate or not. “Who cares about youth service? I don’t bloody care whether she did youth service or not. It’s irrelevant as far as I am concerned,” Sagay had said, adding that, “Let me tell you my reaction. This woman is a brilliant and extremely valuable member of this government. A lot of the good things happening now – the welfare that Nigerians are enjoying and are going to enjoy, because it takes time, and the way our economy is booming, how we got out of recession – are due to her expertise, her commitment, her sacrifice,” said the presidential adviser.
August 28, 2018 – On his part, President Buhari’s Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity had similarly said Mrs Adeosun’s case not a corruption matter. He equally said of Sagay’s submission: ‘It was a personal comment, that is not the position of the Government and Professor Sagay has a right to his opinion. “It will not be down the aisle of Professor Sagay to advise on that matter because it is not a corruption matter so to speak,” he added.
September 11, 2018 – On this day, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, revealed during a television programme “Kakaaki” on AIT that the Presidency had listened to separate accounts given by both the Minister and the NYSC regarding the certificate scandal and was investigating the matter further. Shehu had said, “It’s an allegation. If it is proven, you will see what will happen. The minister and the NYSC have spoken on the matter.” On how long it would take the Presidency to conclude its investigation, the presidential aide said: “It is not for me to decide (the duration). I don’t have the full facts of the matter, so why the investigation is not out, I don’t know. I hope there will be an early outcome.”