NYSC certificate: I’ll take steps to redeem my reputation, says Adeosun

Lesi Nwisagbo and Stephen Angbulu

8 July 2021

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A former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has hinted at a legal challenge to the smear campaign she suffered while in office.

She stated this after the Federal High Court in Abuja ruled that she was not eligible for the one year mandatory service under the National Youth Service Corps scheme as of the time she graduated from the university.

She vowed in a statement titled, ‘Kemi Adeosun reacts to court judgement on NYSC certificate’, which she personally signed on Wednesday to take every step within legal boundaries to protect her reputation.

Adeosun resigned her appointment as minister in 2018 following a scandal over a forged National Youth Service Corps exemption certificate.

The former minister said, “My lawyers have informed me of the judgment by the Federal High Court, Abuja, in the case of Folakemi Adeosun vs The Attorney General of the Federation (FHC/ABJ/CS/303/2021) in which the court, presided over by 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 the NYSC by virtue of the Constitution. This is the position I have always maintained and I am happy for this official clarification.

“The ruling vindicates me after a very traumatic spell. It is, however, not only a personal victory; it’s also a victory for many Nigerians in the Diaspora under similar conditions, who are desirous to serve their country.

“I wish to thank God, my family, friends, my counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), and numerous well-wishers for their love, care and concern throughout this difficult period, which has lasted three whole years.

“I wish to add that in the 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.”

Earlier, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, had ruled that Adeosun was not yet a Nigerian citizen both at the time she graduated and when she turned 30 years.

The court also ruled that she did not need to present a certificate from the National Youth Service Corps before she would qualify for appointment as a minister.

Consequently, the court held that her appointment was neither illegal nor unconstitutional, even without participating in the NYSC programme.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/303/2021, Adeosun had approached the court for constitutional interpretation on the NYSC certificate controversy.

She was represented by lawyers from the firm of Chief Wole Olanipekun.

The court stated that she was under no constitutional prohibition from holding any office on the ground that she did not participate in the NYSC programme.

The court also ruled that she could not be subjected to any penalty in relation to her occupying a public office on the same ground.

Adeosun’s lawyers expressed their satisfaction with the ruling stating that the ruling vindicates their client.

“The court has made it clear that at the time she presented for public service starting from 2011 up till 2015, she was not required to perform the NYSC under 1979 constitution, since the client graduated in 1989.

“Through client’s travail which lasted sixty-nine days, the client was never in doubt about her innocence.

“Client chose to resign on September 14, 2018 because client did not want the case to become a distraction to the government and the public. The client also believed that it would give her the opportunity to vigorously pursue a constitutional remedy to the end to clear her name.”

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