Nigeria’s minister of communications and a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State, Adebayo Shittu, has said that he is willing to embark on the mandatory National Youth Service Corps, NYSC.
Mr Shittu, a lawyer, made this known in an exclusive interview with popular Ibadan-based broadcast journalist, Edmund Obilo, on his programme ‘State Affairs’.
Although Mr Shittu was later disqualified from the governorship race by the APC because of his failure to present his NYSC certificate on Thursday, the interview held earlier on Tuesday and was broadcast on Saturday.
PREMIUM TIMES had exclusively reported how Mr Shittu failed to carry out the mandatory one year of service.
The minister told this newspaper that he refused to serve because he was elected a lawmaker after graduating from the university, a reason faulted by the NYSC.
But speaking during the interview on Tuesday, barely 48 hours before he was disqualified by the party, Mr Shittu said he was willing to embark on the NYSC if it becomes necessary.
“Will you still like to go for Youth Service?” asked Mr Obilo. “Of course I will go; it will be a pleasant thing to go after I have been governor by the grace of God,” Mr Shittu said in response to the question. “Yes, why not?”
When Mr Obilo jokingly asked the minister whether he would like to serve in Daura, home of President Muhammadu Buhari, he responded in the affirmative.
“Whichever camp…it doesn’t matter, Daura is part of Nigeria,” he replied, adding that, “I will serve in any place if it becomes necessary for me to go.”
Again, Mr Obilo asked Mr Shittu whether he would serve if he does not become the governor of Oyo state.
“If it becomes necessary I will,” he said. “Court will have to decide whether serving in the house of assembly and being minister is not superior and does not replace service in the NYSC.”
The minister later said his case was, however, different from that of Kemi Adeosun, the immediate past minister of finance.
Mrs Adeosun resigned her position as minister few weeks ago after PREMIUM TIMES blew the lid off her forged NYSC exemption certificate.
“I am not Kemi Adeosun because I didn’t have any forged certificate of exemption,” Mr Shittu said. When probed further on the response, he explained that Mrs Adeosun did not forge her certificate but was only a “victim of circumstance”.
“Who forged (the NYSC certificate)?” Mr Obilo asked again.
“I wouldn’t know. You will (have to) ask Kemi Adeosun,” Mr Shittu said.
It is unclear whether the minister, considered a strong ally of President Buhari from his days in the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), would still go ahead with his governorship ambition having been disqualified by the APC.
It is also unclear how the Nigerian government would react to Mr Shittu’s failure to serve in the NYSC despite holding public office.
The governorship primaries of the party will hold on Sunday. Culled from Premium Times.