ABUJA – Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, Finance Minister, has turned in her resignation letter.
President Muhammadu Buhari has accepted her resignation from his administration.
The president on Friday thanked the minister for her services to the nation and wished her well in her future pursuits.
A statement by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, confirmed her resignation.
President Buhari also approved that the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, should oversee the Ministry of Finance with effect from Friday.
Mrs. Ahmed is said to be a cousin to Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai.
However, sources told Saturday Independent that the minister may have tendered her resignation letter nearly a month earlier but was held on to by the presidency, allegedly to forestall political backlash ahead next year’s general election.
A presidential aide, it was gathered, persuaded Adeosun to hold on for a while longer only to release the letter from the minister as measure to forestall the expected tension over the sack of Matthew Seiyefa, Director General, Department of State Services (DSS) and his replacement with Yusuf Magaji Bichi.
The social media have been rife with reactions after the presidency announced Bichi as the new helmsman for the DSS barely weeks after reports alleged that Seiyefa had a face-off with Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, over re-organisations of the spook agency. The episode and latest sack event had generated angry voices from prominent Nigerians from the Niger Delta and the Middle Belt. Saturday Independent was further informed that news of Adeosun’s resignation may have been released as a measure to take away steam from the raging controversy of newly appointed DSS boss at the expense of Seiyefa, who hails from Bayelsa State.
President Muhammadu Buhari has been serially accused of nepotism in his appointments especially in the areas of security. Bichi enlisted in the defunct National Security Organisation (NSO) in 1982. He retired after 35 years of service in 2017 as Daura’s Finance & Admin Director but was retained by Lawal Daura, the former DG sacked by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo while Buhari was on short leave in London, for a few months and then released February 2018. There are suggestions that Daura may run the DSS through proxy, a reason Adeosun’s alleged resignation may draw attention away from. “It could get worse,” reacted Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, former chairman, National Human Rights Commission(NHRC).
Some online portals hinted at the minister’s resignation over the three months old controversy involving her alleged forgery of exemption certificate of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Government officials have refused to comment as repeated calls to Yinka Akintunde, Media Adviser to the minister, yielded no result. Femi Adesina, Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, would neither respond to repeated calls nor to text messages sent to him.
However, Malam Garba Shehu, senior special assistant on media to the president sent a tacit response via text stating: “If there is any letter to that effect, I have not seen it.”
In a highly damaging expose by an online newspaper, the Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Adeosun, was reported to have declined participating in the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) after schooling in the UK. Instead, according to the report, she forged an exemption certificate many years after graduation which qualified her for the ministerial appointment.
The year-long service, organised by the NYSC, is compulsory for all Nigerians who graduate from universities or equivalent institutions at less than 30 years of age. In addition to being a requirement for government and private sector jobs in Nigeria, the enabling law prescribes punishment for anyone who absconds from the scheme or forges its certificates. Eligible Nigerians who skipped the service are liable to be sentenced to 12 months in prison.
Saturday Independent findings at the finance headquarters in Abuja, on Friday, showed a largely unruffled staffers going about their duties without any much of hint of tension that such news normally provokes. Some staffers told the newspaper too, that the minister was still at her office working.
By protocol when a minister resigns, the letter is forwarded to the presidency through the Office of the Chief of Staff (CoS), and such official begins handing over procedures to the permanent secretary of the ministry. While normal activities went on at the ministry on Friday, it was gathered that Adeosun had actually offered to resign and had followed up with a letter to the effect.
“She handed the letter to the presidency after which a powerful aide to the president then prevailed on her to hold it off until after the election in 2019,” explained a ministry top official.
Below is the full text of Mrs. Adeosun’s resignation letter:
Let me commence by thanking you profusely for the honour and privilege of serving under your inspirational leadership. It has been a truly rewarding experience to learn from you and to observe at close quarters your integrity and sense of duty.
I have, today, become privy to the findings of the investigation into the allegation made in an online medium that the Certificate of Exemption from National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) that I had presented was not genuine. This has come as a shock to me and I believe that in line with this administration’s focus on integrity, I must do the honourable thing and resign.
Your Excellency, kindly permit me to outline some of the background to this matter. 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 thirty-four (34) were holidays, with visas obtained in my UK passport. I obtained my first Nigerian passport at the age of thirty-four (34) and when I relocated there was debate as to whether NYSC law applied to me. Upon enquiry as to my status relating to NYSC, I was informed that due to my residency history and having exceeded the age of thirty (30), I was exempted from the requirement to serve. Until recent events, that remained my understanding.
On the basis of that advice and with the guidance and assistance of those, I thought were trusted associates, NYSC were approached for documentary proof of status. I then received the certificate in question. Having never worked in NYSC, visited the premises, been privy to nor familiar with their operations, I had no reason to suspect that the certificate was anything but genuine. Indeed, I presented that certificate at the 2011 Ogun State House of Assembly and in 2015 for Directorate of State Services (DSS) clearance as well as to the National Assembly for screening. Be that as it may, as someone totally committed to a culture of probity and accountability I have decided to resign with effect from Friday, 14th September, 2018.
Your Excellency, It has been an exceptional privilege to have served our nation under your leadership and to have played a role in steering our economy at a very challenging time. I am proud that Nigeria has brought discipline into its finances, has identified and is pursuing a path to long term sustainable growth that will unlock the potential in this great economy. Under your leadership, Nigeria was able to exit recession and has now started to lay the foundations for lasting growth and wealth creation. Repositioning this huge economy is not a short term task and there are no short cuts, indeed there are tough decisions still to be made but I have no doubt that your focus on infrastructural investment, revenue mobilisation and value for money in public expenditure will deliver growth, wealth and opportunity for all Nigerians.
I thank His Excellency, the Vice President and my colleagues in the Federal Executive Council for the huge pleasure and honour of working with them. I also thank most specially, the team in the ‘Finance Family’ of advisers and heads of agencies under the Ministry of Finance. Your Excellency, this group of committed Nigerians represent a range of backgrounds, ethnicities and ages. They have worked well above and beyond the call of duty to support me in the tasks assigned. The diversity in my team and their ability to work cohesively to deliver reforms, convinces me that Nigeria has the human capital required to succeed.
Your Excellency, let me conclude by commending your patience and support, during the long search for the truth in this matter. I thank you again for giving me the honour of serving under your leadership, it is a rare privilege, which I do not take for granted. As a Nigerian and committed progressive, I appreciate you for your dogged commitment to improving this nation.
Please be assured, as always, of my highest regards and best wishes
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