A few days ago, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), barred Barrister Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communications, from contesting the party’s governorship primary in Oyo State over his failure to participate in the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC).
During his screening at the APC headquarters in Abuja, Shittu indeed confirmed that he did not participate in the NYSC scheme in 1979 after he left the Nigeria Law School. In his defense, he said his election into the state House of Assembly in 1979 at the age of 26, prevented him from taking part in the national assignment, adding that being a legislator is another call to national duty.
But investigations have revealed that like Shittu, many elected public officials did not observe the mandatory NYSC after their graduation from various higher institutions both home and abroad. A careful scrutiny of their resume in Wikipedia and other sources lend credence to the widespread suspicion that these officials see participation in the NYSC as unnecessary. Here is a roll call:
PDP presidential aspirant and Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, tops the list of high profile elected officials who shunned the NYSC. Following his graduation from the prestigious London Hospital Medical College of the University of London where he obtained his M.B.B.S, in 1987, Saraki worked as a medical officer at Rush Green Hospital, Essex, from 1988 to 1989. On his return to Nigeria, he joined the Societe General Bank, a family-owned bank, in 1990 where he rose to the position of Executive Vice Chairman/CEO.
He joined public service in 2000 as Special Assistant on Budget to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, resigned in 2001 and was thereafter elected as Kwara State Governor in 2003. From 2003 till date Saraki has been in public service despite his refusal to take part in NYSC.
Also in the league of NYSC dodgers is Hon. Razak Atunwa, a close political associate of the Senate President and member of the House of Representatives.
Atunwa, a Master’s degree holder in Law from the University of East London, the 49 years old lawmaker was called to the Bar of England and Wales in October 1994 by the Inner Temple Inns of Court. He practiced in the United Kingdom until he moved to Nigeria in 2005 to commence a political career.
In August 2005, he was appointed the Commissioner for Lands and Housing of Kwara State. A year later in August 2006, he was redeployed to the Ministry of Information and Home Affairs, and again in July 2007, was appointed as Commissioner for Works and Transport. He was moved to the Ministry of Finance in November 2009.
In April 2011, Atunwa was elected into the Kwara State House of Assembly to represent Owode/Onire Constituency of Asa Local Government, Kwara State, Nigeria
On 6 June 2011, he was unanimously elected as Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly. He was elected into House of Representatives of the National Assembly to represent Asa/Ilorin West Federal Constituency and currently a PDP governorship aspirant in Kwara State.
She is the Minister of State for Trade and Investment. A silver spoon, Aisha is the daughter of former Minister for Finance and Sokoto Prince, Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji.
She had her secondary education at Queens College, Lagos from 1978 to 84, and subsequently got her first degree from University of Warwick, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and International Studies from 1987 to 1990. She also bagged a Master of Arts degree in Development Studies from the University of Leeds. A former top executive at the African Development Bank (ADB), there was no record that Aisha Abubakar participated in the NYSC in her resume.
Abubakar Atiku Bagudu
An elected governor on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), it is doubtful if the Kebbi State helmsman participated in the NYSC after his first and post graduate degrees in Economics from the Usman Dan Fodio University and University of Jos respectively.
Elected as a Senator to represent Kebbi Central in a by-election after Senator Adamu Ailero was appointed as inister of FCT in December 2008, Bagudu, who is, unarguably, one of the closest allies of late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, Bagudu, it was gathered, never participated in the NYSC, as he was said to have plunged headlong into private business after his education.
After his primary and secondary education in Ibadan, the Oyo State Governor subsequently gained admission to the State University of New York in the United States where he bagged a degree in Business Administration and Finance. He also boasts an MBA in Finance from Governors State University in Illinois also in the US.
After his over 25-year career in the private sector, rising to the enviable position of MD/CEO of the defunct National Oil and Chemical Marketing Company, Ajimobi joined public service in 2003, following his election into the Senate to represent Oyo South. He was elected as governor in 2011 and reelected in 2015.
Nowhere in Ajimobi’s resume indicates that he ever took part in the NYSC after he returned to the country from the US after his education.
Malam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai
The incumbent governor of Kaduna State has been in the public eye since 2000 after his appointment as Director General of the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE). He was appointed FCT Minister in 2003.
His education trajectory took him to the acclaimed Barewa College and later Ahmadu Bello University, both in Zaria in Kaduna State.
He got a First Class degree in Ouantity Surveying and also attended post graduate programs at Harvard Business School and Georgetown University in the United States. From 2007 to 2013, El Rufai took a temporary break from public service and within this period completed an LL.B degree from the University of London and subsequently got a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Nasir established a Quantity Surveying and Project Management Consulting firm in 1982 with three other partners. Immediately after his graduation at ABU, El Rufai has engaged in private practice, which fetched him fame and fortune. His resume sourced from several sources was silent on whether or not he participated in national service.
Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar
He was elected governor of Jigawa State in April 2015 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) degree in Accountancy from the Ahmadu Bello University, and he is also a member of the National Institute (MNI).
He served as an Auditor with the Audit Department of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Kano State, in 1987 and resigned in 1991 to establish his business outfit, Talamiz Company. Talamiz Company was later incorporated as Talamiz Nigeria Limited, which later gave birth to subsidiaries such as Talamiz Motors, Talamiz Consumer Company, Talamiz Transport, Talamiz Commodities, Talamiz Properties, Talamiz Poultry and Farms, and Talamiz Petroleum. He is also the Chairman of Talamiz Oil Mill Limited, Socar Talamiz Limited, RMR shipping Bv, AML Bonded Terminal, ALUAFRIC Cairo and a Director of Sahih Nigeria Limited.
Olusola Adeyeye was elected into the Senate in 2011.
He attended Obokun High School when it was merged with Ilesa Grammar School. Adeyeye attended the University of Ibadan, where he was the editor of a students’ newspaper. After the completion of his first degree, there was no proof that the lawmaker was enlisted in the NYSC programme. When the military government lifted the ban on politics in 1978, he worked for the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). After the 1979 general elections, Adeyeye went abroad where he earned his graduate degree. He earned a PhD from the University of Georgia. Adeyeye later became a Professor of Biology at Duquesne University.