Former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has opened up on how she was able to overcome the trauma of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate saga.
Adeosun was embroiled in a certificate forgery incident in 2018, after investigations by an online news platform alleged that she procured a fake exemption certificate of the NYSC.
This led to her resignation from President Muhammadu Buhari‘s cabinet after two months of intense political pressure and national outcry.
Recounting her experience at the time, Adeosun said she was badly broken by the incident and cried everyday for three months without working.
Adeosun explained, “That period of life was tough for me. I went to step into the shoes of someone like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. So, I was under fire from day one, it looked like things were not working. Then all of a sudden, the economy started to improve. It was like I was beginning to see the desired result. Then out of nowhere, the certificate scandal came. And before I knew it, everything turned upside down. And that was how the issue went viral.”
The former Minister also rued the fact that she wasn’t allowed the chance to tell her side of the story, and had to throw in the towel when the heat became unbearable.
Adeosun said, “I was born and raised in the United Kingdom; indeed, my parental family home remains in London. My visits to Nigeria up until the age of 34 were holidays, with visas obtained in my UK passport. When I finished school, there was no opportunity for dual citizenship; I either renounce my British citizenship or hold on to it and work here. I didn’t renounce mine. I finished school at 21 and started working at 22.
“I obtained my first Nigerian passport at the age of 34 and when I relocated, there was debate as to whether the NYSC law applied to me. Upon enquiry as to my status relating to the NYSC, I was informed that due to my residency history and having exceeded the age of 30, I was exempted from the requirement to serve. Until recent events, that remained my understanding.
“Indeed, I presented that certificate at the 2011 Ogun State House of Assembly and in 2015 for the Department of State Services clearance as well as to the National Assembly for screening. I sought legal advice and there was no problem I could get an exemption for the NYSC.”
She added, “I was so ashamed at that time because I was into teenagers’ mentoring and all of that. So, the experience negated the lessons I had taught my teenagers. I cried every day for three months; I didn’t do anything for anyone or myself for those months. I just cried, cried, and cried.
“I thought I would feel better when I got vindicated by the court but I still wasn’t happy. The court cleared my name three years later but it took another time of counselling and therapy before I felt better.
“It was thereafter I forged ahead with life and started my charity work.”
Meanwhile, Adeosun had been quoted to have said that the judgement that exonerated her is a victory for Nigerians in the Diaspora under similar conditions who desire to serve the nation.