By Osita Chidoka
Unheard-of things happen in Nigeria. It happens so often that it is not unheard of for unheard-of things to happen. Last time, a Minister was sacked for forging the NYSC discharge certificate. The country was shocked. It was unheard of, but we heard it.
Another Minister served without an NYSC discharge certificate.
Minister Shittu of Ministry of Communications argued, and President Buhari agreed that serving in a state House of Assembly is a “higher service” than the statutory and mandatory NYSC. This was unheard of, but we heard it.
Now, we have a Minister, according to media reports, who, unlike the former Minister of Finance, did not forge the NYSC discharge certificate. She also did not argue that her efforts at the Presidential Campaign amounts to “higher service”. I believe that after her fruitless spirited effort to forcibly obtain her certificate from NYSC since 2020 failed, she dutifully turned up for remobilisation. And NYSC remobilised her. I commend NYSC for standing firm.
Let us ignore her claim in 2020 that her certificate got burnt at an inferno in her house ( which turned out to be false). We would also forget that her appointment to the PENCOM Board stalled ostensibly due to the non-provision of her NYSC certificate at that time. Those were not unheard of. Now we have a conundrum of a youth corps member as Honourable Minister, despite her mouthing legalities. Some questions to consider.
Where was Minister Hannatu posted for her primary assignment in Abuja? Where does she attend her weekly community development work? How much does she earn as a corps member? If she does not report at her place of primary assignment, is she still serving? If she takes another employment without NYSC posting, how would the NYSC treat her case?
As a Patriot who is interested in the peace and progress of our dear country, even if justice and truth are the victims of this progress, I propose the following:
- NYSC should repost the Minister to Ministry of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy.
- As a youth corps member posted to the Ministry, the Permanent Secretary should then post her to the office of the Honourable Minister as Minister.
- The NYSC should create a new Community Development to be known as the Federal Executive Council CD. Once a week, she should attend FEC as her community development in her full NYSC uniform. At the end of her service, Mr. President will sign her CD attendance register.
- The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry should ensure her salary is that of a Youth Corps member as she is not entitled to a double salary. Since a youth corps member can only be a level 8 or 9 officer, the PS should designate an officer as her boss to write her clearance after service.
- If the SGF has issued her a letter of appointment as Minister, he should withdraw forthwith to avoid conflict between the youth corps member and the appointee.
This is the way out of the conundrum. In the words of Arthur Nzeribe, “a simple solution to a complex problem”
On a serious note, If Minister Hannatu Musawa is a serving youth corps member, then any employment or appointment to a place other than her NYSC place of primary assignment is illegal.
If she does not attend her weekly community development assignment in NYSC Uniform, it is a violation of NYSC rules.
Only NYSC can post her.
Normalising bad behaviour is increasingly becoming a national norm.
Making unheard of things heard is unheard of. I so submit.
TimetoReset is now.
Osita Chidoka is a former minister for Aviation