Abdulrazak Atunwa, governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara state, skipped the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and forged certificate of the scheme, according to Premium Times.
Atunwa’s certificate scandal is coming four months after Kemi Adeosun, former minister of finance, was exposed for doing same.
Adeosun has since resigned and returned to the UK where she grew up.
The newspaper said Atunwa, a former speaker of the Kwara state house of assembly, stayed back in the UK after his education rather than present himself for the scheme.
“It is not clear if the house of representatives member presented any NYSC certificate in 2005 when he returned to Nigeria and joined the cabinet of Bukola Saraki, then governor of state,” the report read.
But he is said to have presented a fake NYSC certificate to clinch the PDP governorship ticket. The primary election was keenly contested between Atunwa, an associate of Senate President Bukola Saraki and and Bolaji Abdullahi, who is also an ally of Nigeria’s number three citizen.
Citing documents Atunwa’s representative submitted to the PDP national secretariat, Premium Times said he claimed to have participated in the mandatory scheme between 1995 and 1996.
“In the forms the PDP candidate submitted, he backed it up with a signed affidavit stating that he will be disqualified if it was found out that any information he presented is false,” the report read.
“The certificate Atunwa is parading carries the signature Walter Oki but the report said Oki was only made the director-general of NYSC in 2002.
“Soyemi Sofoluwe was the director-general of the corps and signed all discharge and exemption certificates during the period. S.M. Dule succeeded Sofoluwe as the DG between 1996 and 2000.
“Rather bear FRN or FORN (code for foreign graduates), Atunwa’s certificate has KWP (a code reserved for graduates of Kwara state polytechnic) as identification mark.”
Liborous Oshoma, a lawyer, was quoted to have said: “This is the most audacious forgery since Premium Times began investigation into NYSC claims of senior government officials and politicians generally.
“Based on section 13 (c) of the NYSC Act, even being in possession of a forged NYSC certificate is already a crime. And then we now have an affidavit that he swore to and walked himself into perjury, another criminal offence.”
But when contacted on the matter, Atunwa said he did not submit any fake document.
“I fully compliant with all the legal requirements to be elected to the office of the governor of Kwara state. I did not submit any unsupported NYSC certificate as suggested by you,” he said.
“I strongly advise that you verify each and every assertion you wish to make. You may wish to make formal enquiries/verifications of all institutions concerned.
“You should also be circumspect enough to authenticate the provenance of any document you may be handed if it’s not from a formal and official source. An organisation such as yours should not fall short of the required legal and ethical standards.”