The ongoing debate across the country over the alleged forging of the NYSC exemption certificate by the minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun, is unnecessary and should not have arisen in the first place, argues the national coordinator of the Centre for Convention on Democratic lntegrity Ltd/Gte (CCDI), Comrade Olufemi
The president of the Rights Monitoring Group (RMG) also spoke to the Editor, FOLORUNSHO HAMSAT, on other issues of national concern. Enjoy…
Tell us about your latest trip on the United Nations assignment.
The Centre for Convention on Democratic lntegrity Ltd/Gte, (CCDI), a non-profit organisation, has a consultative status of Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), a specialised agency of United Nations ,the Status allowed the Centre to send five Representatives each to United Nations Office in New York, Geneva and Vienna yearly, by virtue of my position as the President, I am a Designate Permanent Representative of CCDI to United Nations, this allow us to participate in many conferences, meetings or draw the attention of any United Nations organs to issues and more importantly to carry out assignment for United Nations or her agencies. The visit gave me opportunity to interacted with some security council members and submitted a paper on the ongoing crisis at security council.
The first half of 2018 has see the Council already in a parlous state after years of ugly diplomacy over the civil war in Syria, the crisis in Yemen and Gaza. The position paper was published by United States based newspaper and ThisDay. I also met with the Deputy Secretary General, Her Excellency, Ms Amina Mohammed and pretending to her an invitation letter as a special guest at Infrastructures Financing in Africa Conference slated for Dubai in August this year.
What are your expectations of the merger talks among different political associations toward the 2019 general elections?
This is not the first or second time alliances (not merger) will be announced, in the First Republic, the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) led by the late Sarduna of Sokoto, had political dominance and influence in the Northern Region and principally dominated the government at the centre. To wrestle power from NPC, there was a merger not coalition called the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA) was formed. The merger comprised the late Chief Awolowo’s Action Grace (AG), Chief Azikwe’s National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC), late Chief Tarka’s United Middle Belt Congress and late Mallam Aminu Kano’s Northern Elements Progressive Union. The NPC did not relax to watch the display of the merger, it formed the Nigeria National Alliance [NNA] with late Akintola’s Nigerian Democratic Party of the Western Region.
In Second Republic, there were six dominant and registered political parties segregated along ethnic lines. There were serious allegations of massive corruption, unemployment and incompetence levelled against Shagari government as being levelled against Buhari govt today. Alliance was formed, the Progressive Parties Alliance (PPA). Shagari’s National Party of Nigeria (NPN) launched a divide–and-rule strategy in the loose knit PPA. Zik’s NPP and Aminu Kano’s People’s Redemption Party reeled under divisions, with factions emerging and some merging with NPN, the rest is history, with massive rigging and lack of cohesion in the alliance, NPN won. The quest for political takeover through merger or alliance in Nigeria had never worked, that doesn’t mean because it failed in the past it could not succeed in 2019 only on one ground that personal interest and politics of MYOWNISATION is jettisoned. APC will not fold her hands many of those who witnessed the alliance MOU meeting days ago are politicians of bread and butter, monkeys who are ready to accept banana from hunter. The situation requires serious work and dedication, many of the parties could have dissolve and form a new party .
What about the Ekiti and Osun forthcoming governorship elections that would serve as template for INEC preparedness; do you have a view?
Probably the seriousness of PDP and alliance force could have been tested in the Ekiti state election by narrowing the contestants to APC and PDP candidates, since some contestants may not get 20 votes. Now, Ekiti election is crucial in many respects to the PDP, APC and 2019 general elections especially the presidential poll. ln 2015, Ekiti State was only state Buhari lost in South West. To win the presidential poll in Nigeria two political zones were the determinant factors, North West and South West, the outcome of Ekiti state governorship election will affect Osun state governorship election in geometric proportion.
For free and fair election to be achieved in Ekiti state it is purely the duty of the political parties, INEC as an umpire for example, cannot stop vote buying. The vote buying started long ago. As an election observer since 2003, l witnessed such ugly incident in many states across the country, in some cases it was done unnoticed but in many states in the northern part, the child voters collected their pay immediately after thumb printing. You would remember during the APC presidential primary election in Lagos before 2015 general election, over 8000 delegates who participated allegedly made $5,000 each from the candidates and in the last Ondo State governorship election, where l served as observer, APC and PDP were giving between N7000 and N4000 respectively. I am from the State, l saw it and took pictures with some of the collectors. The policemen at polling units cannot do anything to stop such incident. Such action in many cases snowball to fracas, destruction and commotion after counting, where a candidate believed he will have won, turned the other way. To stop such incident more awareness and vigorous enlightenment campaign by all the stakeholders is the solution, it can only be reduced, it happens in many West Africa countries, in a situation where poverty and illiteracy level are higher, such aberration would manifest .
If the security agencies could be above board definitely the election would be peaceful. I still want to appeal to IGP to withdraw some police officer, Governor Fayose mentioned that they are working with Dr. Fayemi, in the same manner, the DG of DSS should do the same, l hope the governor is correct .
You have always advocated for active women participation in the political process, do you the forthcoming general elections would offer the womenfolk more opportunities to make a difference politically?
I doubt it, unless there is deliberate policy by political parties to give certain percentage of political office to the women. How many of the women have the resources? In the past, majority of women that are political appointees or elected were either wives of retired Generals or chieftains of the parties, unfortunately the APC as the ruling party is not helping matters, the same thing is applicable to the youths, instead of not too young to rule, the youths could have as well lobby the National Assembly to make it compulsory for certain percentage of political office set aside for the youth by the political parties how many youths between 24-30yrs have N3bn to contest for governorship election, anyway N10B is not enough to win governorship election in Nigeria. Mrs Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations, Mrs Oby, Mrs Yusuf and many others are capable women that could manage the affairs of the nation better, we will get there.
The minister of finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, is under investigation for alleged forging of NYSC certificate, what do you think this portend for her as a female?
Let me start by letting you know my involvement in anti corruption crusade during the tenure of Larmode as Chairman of EFCC. l singlehandedly uncovered what could be termed monumental fraud and reported to the EFCC not for any pecuniary reason. l have been a returnee to the Herld Bank/IMF Boards of Governors Meetings of civil society forum since 2012, my organisations, Rights Monitoring Group and Centre for Convention on Democratic lntegrity Ltd/Gte (RMG&CCDI) had organised sessions during the World Bank meeting in Washington DC on corruption and transparency, to let you know that l don’t condone corruption in any form. This issue of certificate forgery is being blown out of proportion and some people want to build cathedral out of it. From what l have read so far, the minister has no reason to forge the certificate.
Her school certificates are not in doubt and also that she schooled and worked in the United Kingdom is not in doubt. She graduated like many Nigerians in the diaspora. The same certificate was used especially during her confirmation and screening exercise at Ogun State House of Assembly and Senate, when she was appointed Commissioner and Minister respectively. The current controversy only arose from the fact that the Director General that signed the purported exemption certificate issued to her had since resigned from NYSC many months before the date stated on the certificate, hence the idea that it must have been forged. But the NYSC in a press statement has confirmed that she applied for an exemption.
My investigation however revealed that there are hundreds of such exemption and non exemption certificates signed by the same Director General, around the same date the Minister’s own was issued. l have sighted many documents of such by some government agencies especially NYSC and CBN, pre-print of documents, certificates and currency with authorised signatories. Such documents will continue to be issued and in circulation as long as the stock lasts. Let NYSC deny that. The truth behind this noise is that some people believe the infrastructural funds in her care should not be under her control and also the manner she raised issues concerning the withheld billions by NNPC did not go down with some people within APC. That is the simple truth.