This administration is never tired of scandals. They ride from one storm to another. Ever since, we are being treated with the theatre of the absurd, with several scandals involving some key members of the administration.
Those at the helm of affairs will always close their eyes to these scandals and regard them as inconsequential or non-issue. They will dismiss them with mere wave of hands, as the handiwork of the opposition. Yet, this is an administration that prides itself as Mr. Integrity, as incorruptible!
While we were still ruminating over the fate of Kemi Adeosun, former Finance Minister, who recently resigned her Ministerial position when it was discovered that she had been using “Agege” printed paper in place of NYSC Discharge Certificate, we are also being treated with the case involving Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications, who dodged to serve in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, and Okoi Obono-Obla, Special Assistant to the President on Recovery of Public Property, who was alleged to have used fake WAEC result to secure university admission.
According to the story, Adebayo Shittu who graduated at the age of 25 years from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University in 1977, where he read law, also proceeded to the Nigerian Law School in 1978 to qualify as a lawyer. After his studies at the Law School, Adebayo Shittu went into politics, contested and won election into the Oyo State House of Assembly in 1979, and thereby, skipped participation in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme which is compulsory for every Nigerian graduate below the age 30 years.
At the end of his tenure as legislator, Adebayo Shittu proceeded with his other career activities. In 2015, he was nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari to serve as Minister in his Cabinet. His name was subsequently submitted to all the security agencies for clearance, and they all okayed it. It was also submitted to the National Assembly for screening, and they equally cleared him.
Now, the scandal has blown up. Adebayo Shittu did not participate in the NYSC scheme. He dodged the scheme. He refused to serve his fatherland. He is an enemy of the state. Therefore he deserves to be punished.
Adebayo Shittu himself has admitted that actually he did not participate in the NYSC scheme, that he dodged it, but claimed that his membership of the Oyo State House of Assembly had exonerated him from participation in the NYSC scheme.
We do not agree with this submission, otherwise some of us who worked as civil servants would not have participated in the NYSC scheme, because it is another form of public service. Participation in politics is not equivalent to participation in the NYSC scheme. Politics, as far as we are concerned, particularly Nigerian politics, is self-serving, where politicians have everything at their beck and call, including the huge financial outlay.
The NYSC itself has equally come out to disown Adebayo Shittu. It stated that holding public or political office was not among the category of services exempted from participation in the NYSC scheme. Therefore, Adebayo Shittu has committed an offence and must be punished. He should vacate office immediately and consequently face prosecution in the law court for his crime.
Then, for Okoi Obono-Obla, Special Assistant to the President on Investigative Panel on Recovery of Public Property. He was alleged to have used a fake WAEC result to secure admission into the University of Jos in 1982 where he read law, and from there proceeded to Nigerian Law School, where he came out in 1991.
The story was that the result which Okoi Obono-Obla possessed with which he had secured admission into the University of Jos, in 1982, was fake. According to the story, Okoi Obono-Obla whose original name was Ofem Okoi Ofem had in May/June 1982 sat for the West African Examination Council examination at Mary Knoll College, Ogoja, with examination registration number 09403/247, but did not pass all the papers he took. He then decided to alter the results to enable him secure admission into the university.
But rather than come out clean to defend the allegation, Okoi Obono-Obla, like our President, decided to go to court, even when WAEC iteslf had clearly stated that “available evidence indicate that the results were altered and therefore makes them invalid”.
According to the examination body, “From our record, the genuine candidate is Ofem Okoi Ofem, 09403/247 of Mary Knoll, College, Ogoja. The exam number and number of candidates are the same. The difference is the grade in English Literature in which he claimed to have scored C6 despite being marked absent in the true certified copy”.
These are people who make up this present administration, those who claim to be our leaders, who claim to be laying foundation for our future leaders. Perfidious. And these people will be parading the streets as saints, while painting others black.
When they were coming, they told us that they were coming to wipe out corruption from our land, to make Nigeria clean, and another heaven on earth, and a better place to live. We trusted and believed them, and gave them our votes.
Alas, we were amazed when we begin to see many people who stole in billions, who had in previous dispensation, emptied their states’ treasuries, dumped their former political parties to join them, and they were welcomed with open arms and given red carpet reception. We began to say, this administration self!