Kemi Adeosun: Let her be
It was not until I read the full report, first cursorily, then with full presence of mind, did I heave a sigh of relief.
The relief that it was not her academic certificate that was in issue.
Forgery is forgery and it is a cardinal sin, a stain on the character of the person involved.
There is no where forgery can be condoned; nor is there anywhere it can be acceptable.
However, I asked myself: Could Kemi Adeosun have been involved in forgery—forgery of any kind? I have my very serious doubts.
Yes, as Shakespeare said ages ago: There is no art to read the mind’s construction in the face.
But does Kemi Adeosun look it, sentiments aside; does she look like someone who would forge?
To achieve what? Here is a lady who has had everything going for her.
Was she even aware that she had a fake document forged on her behalf in her hands? If she was aware, the risk of carrying it about would have been too much for her and scary, especially if as she has now had to do, present the document before a group of people who must have gone through National Youth Service themselves or have been exempted and are, therefore, familiar with the nature and colour of the document.
The picture that floats before my mind is that she must have been a victim of a scam. The scenario I see is that in a fit of absent-mindedness, she fell into the hands of do-gooders who talked her out of any desire to serve.
Do-gooders are practised in their ways, and a young girl coming from Europe totally unfamiliar with the terrain could easily cave in especially with assurances that they would handle it, after all, do you see the children of big people, the prime movers of the society there.
So must have been their argument. They would then proceed to list everything they consider was wrong with the scheme! This probably happened at a time the scheme fell into some disrepute.
There was a time the scheme was only in name and the youths in several places trooped out to satisfy all righteousness.
It was a time Youth Corpers were seen roaming the streets, going from one company to the other in search of placements.
Companies were reluctant to absorb them because of cost implications. There are a lot of improvements now.
My hunch tells me it was in such circumstances do-gooders took advantage of Kemi Adeosun.
She did not have to forge a certificate that was easily available if she was minded to have one.
I am therefore unable to flow with the currents, even if it would mean my standing alone, currents that are unrelenting to sweep her to the gates of a jail house.
Here is a poor girl totally unfamiliar with the terrain called Nigeria, having lived all her life in the United Kingdom.
She was born and bred in the UK and had all her education there.
She graduated at the age of 22 and stayed back to work, a British citizen. Nigeria did not contribute a dime to her education and development.
She returned home desirous of contributing her best to the land of her forebears.
Before you know it she fell into the hands of do-gooders who were aware of the new “fresher” in town.
They are men practised in their ways, but the victim is usually untutored.
They most likely worked on her in her unguarded moments; to dampen her spirit and frighten her out of the thought, cataloguing all that they believed was wrong with the Youth Service.
In all honesty, does Kemi Adeosun strike anyone as somebody who would be involved in forgery of any kind or who is capable of forgery? From her carriage, from application to work and confidence, self-assuredness. What for?
She did not forge her academic certificate which is her meal ticket in any English speaking country in the world which is by far more important than a call-up testimonial.
She worked in the UK and worked in Nigeria. What was her record in those places?
If she has not been speaking, that should suggest to us that she is embarrassed beyond words to discover she carries sawdust in her hands.
It must have been a most difficult moment for her. What in my view she requires at this hour is compassion and love, not demonization.
To prevent this kind of damning occurrence in future, what our embassies where there are Nigerian children should do is they must have records of them, show interest in their studies so they can be advised appropriately on what they are expected to do when they finish and on their return to Nigeria, educating them on how beautiful it is to serve their fatherland.
That is what the British we are quick, and rightly so, to quote on ethical standards would have done and would do any day; they would not wait and then turn round to demonize their citizens, even in matters as obligatory as the driver’s licence!
They would write to you a beautiful letter, and to boot a reminder, of when the licence would expire.
In moments like this, I yearn for Justice Candide Ademola Johnson, for Justice Andrew Obaseki, for our own Socrates Justice Oputa, Kayode Eso, Yinka Ayoola, Nnemeka Agu, Charles Madarikan, George Oguntade, Akinola Aguda, the cerebral and no nonsense John Idowu Conrad Taylor (JIC) et al, all who drank from the same well of wisdom as Lord Denning— Justices you can trust for their illumination, who would go beyond the letters of the law and look for the end of justice the law is intended to serve.
Their pronouncements often deep and disarming then became what lawyers call Case Law.
In the case of The Guardian Vs. the Attorney General of the Federation, for example, Justice Ayoola said in his judgment: “If you were asked to go and kill the dog, were you also asked to kill the goats?”
He was referring to four other companies on The Guardian premises affected by the closure ordered by General Abacha.
We are pressing that a budding star that Kemi Adeosun is, who has demonstrated a grasp of her assignment, should be demonized and criminalized irrespective of the circumstances of her absent-mindedness, at worst naivety, and have her carrier and reputation irredeemably damaged. Count me out, please.
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