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Nigeria: Saraki’s Anointed Candidate for Kwara Governorship, Razak Atunwa, Skips NYSC, Forges Certificate


The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Kwara State within the impending overall elections, Razak Atunwa, didn’t take part in Nigeria’s obligatory nationwide adolescence carrier scheme, PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively file lately.

Instead, he procured a cast discharge certificates of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) which he submitted to the PDP to end up his eligibility for public administrative center.

The contemporary revelation about Mr Atunwa took place 4 months after PREMIUM TIMES uncovered then finance minister, Kemi Adeosun, for attractive in identical behavior, and just slightly over a month for the reason that embattled professional was once pressured to surrender on account of the scandal.

The Kwara flesh presser’s behavior additionally got here to mild precisely a month after this medium reported that the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, additionally dodged the obligatory carrier, making him ineligible for public administrative center and employment in Nigeria.

Although the minister was once later disqualified via his birthday party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) from operating for governorship of his local Oyo State, President Muhammadu Buhari is but to take away him from administrative center.

The NYSC regulation calls for each Nigerian who attended college or polytechnic to take part within the nationwide adolescence scheme for one year after commencement, supplied the individual completed before age 30. Failure to serve would limit such particular person from gainful employment in Nigeria, and making false claims about serving could draw in as much as 14 years in prison.

Also, any individual who graduated before 30 however intentionally declined to serve has dedicated against the law that could draw in 12-month imprisonment, even though the individual didn’t forge NYSC paperwork.

Only an individual who bought a point after 30 or served within the army or gained nationwide honours medal would qualify for exemption certificates under the NYSC regulation.

Mr Atunwa, born on October 17, 1969, mentioned he studied regulation on the University of East London, graduating in 1992 at age 23.

Having earned a bachelor’s stage at 23, Mr Atunwa, going via Section 2 of the NYSC Act, must have participated within the year-long nationwide carrier.

THE AUDACIOUS FORGERY

But relatively than provide himself for nationwide carrier, Mr. Atunwa stayed again within the United Kingdom, returning best in 2005 to enroll in the cupboard of then Governor Bukola Saraki in Kwara State on the age of 36.

Between 2005 and 2010 when he stepped right down to run for administrative center, the flesh presser was once commissioner at 4 other ministries, including Land and Housing, Works and Transport, Information and Home Affairs and Finance.

It was once now not right away transparent whether or not or now not Mr Atunwa offered any NYSC file to government since 2005 when he was once first appointed commissioner, 2011 when he was speaker and 2015 when he was member of the House of Representatives.

But to protected the PDP governorship ticket on October 1, he submitted a counterfeit NYSC discharge certificates and accompanied it with a testimony, indicating he lied on oath, an offence that draws as much as 14 years in prison.

Mr Atunwa — who claimed he certified for regulation apply within the United Kingdom after acquiring undergraduate and grasp’s levels at separate universities in London — indicated within the nomination file he submitted on the PDP nationwide secretariat in Abuja that he partook within the adolescence carrier scheme between 1995 and 1996.

The lawmaker, who’s chair of the House Committee on Justice, then accompanied it with a notarised affidavit sworn on the Kwara State High Court in Ilorin on September 10. The file was once hooked up to his PDP expression of passion form.

He signed the file in spite of a clause indicating he remained mechanically disqualified as candidate if any commentary or knowledge he supplied is located to be false, erroneous, or deceive the birthday party or its brokers from making right kind evaluate of his competence to contest the governorship election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

It remains to be noticed if the PDP will put in force its personal rule and disqualify him on account of this revelation. Governorship elections are scheduled to carry February 2019.

One could see at first look that Mr. Atunwa’s so-called discharge certificates is faux.

For one, Mr Atunwa’s ‘certificates’ purportedly bought in 1996 carried the signature of Walter Oki (brigadier overall on the time). But Mr Oki was once best made NYSC director-general in 2002. In 1996, Soyemi Sofoluwe (brigadier overall) was once director-general of the corps and signed all discharge and exemption certificate throughout the duration. He was once succeeded via S.M. Dule (brigadier overall), who served as director-general between 1996 and 2000.

The NYSC Certificate

To additional crosscheck the authenticity of Mr Atunwa’s ‘certificates’, PREMIUM TIMES when put next his with authentic ones that bore the fundamentals of the file, particularly the ones from overseas college graduates.

At least 3 ministers who returned to Nigeria to serve after finishing from colleges in the United Kingdom and the United States had identical call-up mark of their certificate, which generally carries the acronym of the establishment, the state the place the player served, the place the individual was once referred to as up, the year of carrier and the serial quantity for the certificates.

For example, Ibe Kachikwu, the minister of state for petroleum, has his NYSC certificates marked as NYSC/OY/FORN/82/7101. Mr Kachikwu was once deployed for carrier in Oyo State (OY) on August 16, 1982, passing out a year in a while August 15, 1983. He got here again to Nigeria to serve after finishing his doctorate in regulation at Harvard University (FORN) in December 1981.

Aisha Abubakar, the minister of state business and business, returned to Nigeria after concluding her masters in construction research on the University of Leeds. Her certificates is marked NYSC/LA/FRN/91/18170, indicating that she served in Lagos, after graduating from a overseas college.

Khadija Bukar Ibrahim, the minister of state overseas affairs, additionally schooled out of the country. She attended Roehampton Institute for Higher Education, affiliated with the University of Surrey and completed in 1989. She enlisted within the NYSC on October 2, 1990 and handed out on October 1, 1991. Her certificates is marked NYSC/LA/FRN/90/28750, indicating that she served in Lagos (LA) after graduating from a overseas college (FRN) in 1990.

However, Mr. Atunwa’s certificates, relatively than endure FRN or FORN (code for overseas graduates) has KWP (a code reserved for graduates of Kwara State Polytechnic) as identity mark. But the flesh presser didn’t graduate from Kwara Polytechnic. He claimed he attended the University of East London for the first stage and the University of London for his grasp’s.

“This is the most audacious forgery since PREMIUM TIMES began investigation into NYSC claims of senior government officials and politicians generally,” Liborous Oshoma, a Lagos-based prison practitioner, informed PREMIUM TIMES Sunday afternoon.

WAEC Result

Mr Oshoma mentioned Mr Atunwa looked as if it would have damaged Nigerian regulation two times.

“Based on Section 13 (c) of the NYSC Act, even being in possession of a forged NYSC certificate is already a crime,” Mr Oshoma mentioned. “And then we now have an affidavit that he swore to and walked himself into perjury, another criminal offence.”

Mr Oshoma mentioned Mr Atunwa’s case was once extra unlucky for Nigeria.

“You could say Kemi Adeosun did not know some people gave her fake document, and Mr Shittu was being exuberant, but this particular case is very troubling,” the legal professional mentioned. “He knew of the ones contemporary instances and nonetheless went directly to do it.

“This is amongst the consequences of the president’s failure to act on time or act at all on the already uncovered cases. Since the former finance minister was able to escape from the country without prosecution and the communications minister remains in office despite being found not to be qualified for the job, this man could easily dismiss any legal ramifications of his action,” he added.

“Since it has now come to the fore that if you graduated before 30, either from a Nigerian university or abroad, you know you do not qualify for exemption and you must serve and if you forge your document you would be exposed, I would have expected that all those who schooled abroad would start investigating whether the NYSC document they were given was genuine or not. There is no hiding place anymore.”

MR ATUNWA, PDP RESPOND

PREMIUM TIMES despatched Mr. Atunwa a message informing him of our findings.

In reaction, he mentioned he’s “fully compliant with all the legal requirements to be elected to the Office of the Governor of Kwara State.”

Razak Atunwa’s gubernatorial expression of passion

Razak Atunwa’s gubernatorial expression of passion

Razak Atunwa’s gubernatorial expression of passion

Razak Atunwa’s gubernatorial expression of passion

He added, “I didn’t post any unsupported NYSC certificates as recommended via you.

“I strongly advise that you just examine each statement you need to make. You might need to make formal enquiries/verifications of all establishments involved.

“You must even be circumspect sufficient to authenticate the provenance of any file you will be passed if it isn’t from a proper and professional supply.

“An organization such as yours should not fall short of the required legal and ethical standards.”

He additionally informed certainly one of journalists via phone that he broke no regulation as a result of he didn’t post any pretend file to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). He declined to provide an explanation for why he failed to take part within the obligatory nationwide carrier scheme.

This newspaper’s investigation didn’t display he submitted the file to INEC and our query to him was once now not alongside that line. We best mentioned he submitted the file to the PDP.

However, following PREMIUM TIMES enquiry, the lawmaker, birthday party insiders say, has induced a scheme to exchange the paperwork he submitted to the PDP, and withdraw the pretend NYSC certificates.

“He is now planning to claim that secondary school certificate is his highest academic qualification and that he did not need to serve,” one supply mentioned.

The PDP, when contacted, mentioned it was once now not conscious about the forgery.

“I am not aware of this,” spokesperson Kola Ologbondiyan mentioned of the problematic file Mr Atunwa offered to the birthday party . “Please give me time to find out.”

A GODFATHER’S FAVOURITE

For a number of months main as much as the PDP primaries in overdue September, Mr Atunwa was once now not thought to be a favorite for the Kwara PDP governorship slot.

The race was once in large part noticed as a struggle amongst Shaba Lafiagi, a serving senator; Bolaji Abdullahi, a former sports activities minister; Abubakar Suleiman, a former nationwide planning minister; and Ali Ahmad, the current speaker of the state Assembly.

Bukola Saraki, Senate President

Only Messrs Atunwa and Lafiagi remained within the race when the primaries hung on October 1 in Ilorin, and the House member defeated the senator via 4,555 to 577 votes. Other applicants withdrew from the race in protest, insinuating that Senate President Saraki imposed Mr Atunwa at the birthday party.

A RAGING EPIDEMIC

After the newsletter of Ms Adeosun’s scandal, there are tips via some Nigerians on-line that many Nigerians who schooled out of the country didn’t go back home to serve, however as a substitute opted for both cast exemption or discharge certificate to clinch employments and appointments in Nigeria.

Although the investigation was once printed in early July, Ms Adeosun didn’t surrender till mid-September, after the power from Nigerians home and away was an excessive amount of for the Buhari management to endure, and as a aggressive overall election was once looming.

Rather than being arrested for forgery and prosecuted via federal government, Ms Adeosun was once allowed to quietly go away Nigeria an afternoon after he resignation, a construction for which President Muhammadu Buhari was once fiercely knocked via critics, who used it to ridicule his anti-corruption claims.

Mr Shittu, the communications minister who was once within the race for the All Progressives Congress’ governorship ticket in Oyo State, was once disqualified from the race via the ruling birthday party after PREMIUM TIMES printed some other investigation appearing that he refrained from adolescence carrier upon commencement from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University.

Former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun (Photo Credit: Chronicle.ng)

While the ruling APC discovered Mr Shittu’s place for administrative center untenable, Mr Buhari endured to stay him in administrative center, greater than a month after the scandal broke.

While Ms Adeosun mentioned she didn’t know her certificates was once cast (even if PREMIUM TIMES published she knew a minimum of since 2015 when senators screened her for ministerial place) Mr Shittu mentioned he intentionally have shyed away from carrier as a result of he assumed he had executed a better carrier to the country when he was once elected to state parliament right away after graduating.





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