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The painful exit of Kemi Adeosun

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Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun

Until Friday, September 14, 2018, Folakemi Adeosun (nee Oguntomoju), was Nigeria’s erudite and piquant-witted minister of Finance.

Mrs. Kemi Adeosun (as she is popularly known) is as mannerly, almost inimitably brilliant, talking as though she once kissed the proverbial Blarney Stone in Scotland, as she is stunningly prepossessing, her face bedecked by inviting dimples and a touch of innocence belying her acute intelligence.

Whenever she addressed the press in or outside Nigeria, my pride as a Nigerian knew no limit as she would talk as though her only drink on earth was pure honey!

But, most unfortunately, whereas good things in Nigeria never last, the bad and the ugly enjoy immortality.

So Adeosun resigned from the Muhammadu Buhari-led cabinet on that fateful day, September 14, 2018, and her resignation was gingerly accepted with the promptitude and the alacrity of a practised acrobat!

It took six months to scout for her in 2016; it took less than a week to replace her in 2018!

The journey to her painful disgrace from the federal cabinet started when Premium Times, a social medium, bayed that ‘Kemi landed state and Federal Government jobs in Nigeria without undergoing the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme and that the exemption certificate she allegedly procured from the NYSC secretariat was fake.

Now, let’s look at Kemi’s history, in a nutshell. She was born in the United Kingdom in 1967; she was raised (bred and nurtured) in that country.

She graduated from the Polytechnic of East London (later University of East London) in 1989 at the age of 22.

In England, where she was born and raised, there is no English equivalent of Nigeria’s NYSC scheme; so, she started working in Chapel Hill, Denham, in England, upon graduation, there being no such law (express or otherwise) in Nigeria that any Nigerian citizen, born, bred and trained outside Nigeria must come home to undergo the one-year NYSC programme before returning to his country of birth.

She was in the country of her birth and training until 2002, when she was 35, before coming to Nigeria in response to the strident calls by Nigeria’s federal and state governments on expert Nigerians in the diaspora to “come home and help develop your motherland.”

Before coming home at age 35, unsuspecting ‘Kemi, in all probability, procured the services of some Nigerian consultants to work out for her an NYSC exemption certificate, which was most unnecessary as she was past the NYSC age.

When she came home to Nigeria at age 35, no sensible interpreter of sections 12 and 13 of the NYSC Act (now section 315 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered) under “Existing Laws,” would insist that ‘Kemi should show evidence of her National Youth Service Corps.

That would even be like asking my son, who was nurtured and trained up to the university and post-graduate levels abroad and who, in obedience to the promptings of patriotism, may decide to come back to his fatherland at age 40 or above to help develop his country of origin, being asked to show evidence that he underwent the NYSC programme!

And if an unsuspecting Nigerian, still in the diaspora, inadvertently procured the services of an “Oluwole Company” (which abound in Nigeria) to help him/her get an NYSC exemption certificate, which was even unnecessary in Adeosun’s case, (she was 35 when she came back to Nigeria), the onus of proof of the genuineness of such a certificate should rest squarely on the shoulders of the individual/company which procured it.

Otherwise, we would require a London-based Dr. Hussein Adegboye Okechukwu, 50, born and trained in London as a specialist oncologist, to apply for the NYSC exemption certificate to come back to help develop his fatherland!

A 35-year-old person is no longer a youth as far as the NYSC Act, 2004 is concerned.

The rudiments of Criminal Law is the maxim,“Actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea” (an act does not make the doer of it guilty, unless the mind that did it be guilty; that is, unless the intention be criminal, the act itself isn’t.

The intent and the act must both occur to constitute the crime.

Why then, by the light of heaven, would Folakemi Adeosun, with a hifalutin litany of professional qualifications, forge an NYSC exemption certificate at 35 to serve her fatherland?

I wish to heaven that someone would show me in any extant or even dated law where it is stated that a Nigerian, born and bred abroad, and who underwent the crucible of primary, secondary and tertiary education abroad must come back to Nigeria, his/her country of origin, to do the National Youth Service before getting employment abroad if he/she would ever work in Nigeria!

For how then do we explain the importunate appeals by successive federal and state governments to highly qualified Nigerian technocrats born, trained and resident abroad to “come home and help develop your fatherland”?

When such experts come home, do Premium Times and other Nigerian crucifiers expect them to show evidence of youth service?

Section 2 (1) (b) (d) of the NYSC Act, 2004, which provides that corps members who “shall have graduated at any university outside Nigeria to make himself available for service” does not refer to Nigerian students in diaspora (such ‘Kemi Adeosun) but to Nigerian students who left Nigeria to study abroad.

In all probability, poor Adeosun was subjected to this infernal embarrassment to prove the Urhobo aphorism that the earthworm navigates its way through the softest part of the soil!

Premium Times and other hark writers saw Adeosun, a lady who cannot hurt a fly, an unworldly dame, free from sin, who can be harassed into resignation, being British by nurture, and applied the hammer.

Adeosun is not a thick-skinned, corrupt and nepotic Nigerian politician who would remain glued to her seat in spite of all the odds against her.

There are, in both Federal and state cabinets, countless Nigerian technocrats with noisome skeletons in their cupboards and who will never bat an eyelid in their cesspits of misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance even if the Heavens fell.

Here is an acutely intelligent dove whose only “offence” was that she omitted to serve the NYSC scheme at 35 and/or that the needless exemption certificate procured for her by some identifiable slyboots was fake.

Thank heavens that Adeosun was not accused of not having or of forging her academic or professional certificates!

Adeosun’s harried exit from the Buhari-led cabinet is painful, excruciatingly painful!

Akiri, a legal practitioner, wrote from Lagos.


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