Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun
Section 13(3) of the NYSC Act prescribes a three-year jail term or a fine option of N5,000 for anyone who contravenes provision of the relevant section.
The year-long NYSC scheme is compulsory for all Nigerians who graduate from universities or equivalent institutions before their 30th birthdays.
What the law really says
Section 13(4) prescribes a three-year jail term for anyonewho provides false information or who illegally obtains the NYSC certificate.
Section 12 of the NYSC Act reads as follows:
“For the purposes of employment anywhere in the Federation and before employment, it shall be the duty of every prospective employer to demand and obtain from any person who claims to have obtained his first degree at the end of the academic year 1973-74 or, as the case may be, at the end of any subsequent academic year the following:-
a. A copy of the Certificate of National Service of such person issued pursuant to section 11 of this Decree.
b. A copy of any exemption certificate issued to such person pursuant to section 17 of this Decree.
c. Such other particulars relevant there to as may be prescribed by or under this Decree.”
Here are the three options before Mrs. Adeosun at the moment:
1. Wait for the noise to die down
Nigerian public officials often don’t respond to allegations “as e dey hot” (to borrow a local parlance that translates to "when news is trending"). Instead, they wait for the public to point all the fingers, make all the noise, while they simply carry on with their jobs undeterred.
They usually wait for it all to naturally blow away.
With a bit of luck, Nigerians would move on to other matters by next week and forget everything that has to do with whether Mrs. Adeosun forged an NYSC exemption certificate or not.
We wonder if this is the strategy Mrs. Adeosun and her team are currently deploying. It’s worked in the past and may well work again.
2. Adeosun can actually resign
Hey, there is still some honour left in the world, even if in Nigeria, not so much.
Mrs. Adeosun didn’t even receive most of her education in Nigeria, so she should know what it means when your reputation and name is being dragged in the mud.
In civilized climes where Adeosun acquired her education and all that cockney, you resign when you are accused of a crime this grievous, not because you are guilty, but because carrying on with a baggage affects your job performance and the administration you are serving in.
Adeosun can spare us all the trouble by resigning actually. It isn’t even that hard.
3. The minister can wait for President Buhari to sack her
Fat chance here because Nigerian presidents really don’t like to fire for political and other reasons.
However, if this allegation drags on and Buhari begins to feel like all of the noise could affect his re-election campaign, he won’t mind throwing one of his better ministers under a bus for some political, public capital.
Adeosun can actually wait to see if Buhari fires her or not. That may well be a risky strategy, but hey!