Why I skipped NYSC scheme – Communications minister

Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, may have inadvertently roped himself into a row with reports that he skipped his mandatory National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC) programme in 1979.
The minister, who studied law at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), graduated in 1978 and proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos where he qualified as a lawyer in 1979.
Rather than enlist in the national service, Shittu went into politics after graduation, and was, in 1979, elected member of the Oyo state House of Assembly, according to an online media, Premium Times’ investigation.
The revelation about Shittu, who is currently angling to become Oyo state governor, is coming to light about a week after Kemi Adeosun was compelled to step down from her position as Nigeria’s finance minister after reports that she skipped national service and then procured a fake exemption certificate to cover her tracks.
Contacted Tuesday on the issue, Mr.
Shittu admitted that he did not serve but claimed he thought his first political post after graduation could suffice as national service, a claim lawyers and NYSC insiders consider as ludicrous and untenable.
He said he deliberatively skipped the NYSC scheme because he was convinced that his membership of the state assembly was itself a “service”.
“The constitution provides for the qualification needed for state assembly members, NYSC is not there,” Shittu said.
“I didn’t need it to become a member of the state assembly, and that is already a service,” he said.
Skipping the compulsory national service is an offence under the NYSC law, punishable with up to 12 months imprisonment.
Shittu is a former attorney general and commissioner for justice in his native Oyo state.
He also served as member of the Oyo State Judicial Service Commission from 2004 to 2007.
In 2015, he was nominated minister by President Buhari, and later assigned the communications portfolio upon legislative screening.
(Premium Times)

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