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How Nigeria’s Finance Minister was forced to resign over forged certificate

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Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, on Friday resigned her appointment from President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. The journey into resignation started on Wednesday, with an order for her to resign.

Impeccable sources told PREMIUM TIMES the minister was barred from the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting and told to submit her resignation to the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.

The verbal instruction, which was relayed to her by Mr Kyari on behalf of the president, rattled Mrs Adeosun who went home downcast from the villa.

“She has been downcast and at home since she was given the order,” a source close to her told PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday.

The option of resignation was handed the minister as a way of giving her an opportunity to salvage whatever remained of her integrity.

A leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, also reportedly advised President Buhari to ask the minister to resign.

That was, however, not done before the president left for London on vacation in July.

At least two officials who met with Mr Buhari around the time confided in PREMIUM TIMES that the president assured them that he was consulting before taking action.

“He said he spoke to about seven persons, including the Ogun State governor who brought her, to seek advise on the way out,” a chief executive of one federal agency told PREMIUM TIMES at the time.

After the communication of the presidential decision to her on Wednesday, Mrs Adeosun knew the game was up. But she soon activated an intense lobby to reverse the order hours after overcoming the initial shock.

Governors sympathetic to her cause made spirited attempts to change her fate on Wednesday, but met brick walls.

Seeing that her fate was sealed, Mrs Adeosun reluctantly called a meeting of senior finance ministry officials on Thursday.

A senior ministry official who requested that his name should not be revealed, as he was not authorised to speak on the issue, said the minister turned in her resignation letter late Friday.

At the brief meeting Thursday afternoon, Mrs Adeosun directed her staff to commence the process of tidying the books and preparing her hand-over note.
The meeting was attended by the permanent secretary and the ministry’s departmental heads.

Two senior finance ministry officials said there was directive to all the departments to immediately begin work on the hand over notes.

The official said the directive to officials to delay the formal announcement of Mrs Adeosun’s departure from the Executive Council of the Federation was given by the presidency to allow the minister sufficient time to complete her hand-over note.

After spending the entire day in her office working to clean up her table and pack her personal belongings, the minister handed over to the ministry’s permanent secretary, Mahmoud Dutse, Friday evening.

But in its statement late Friday, the presidency directed the minister of state for budget and planning, Zainab Ahmed, to oversee the finance ministry.

Mrs Adeosun graduated from the Polytechnic of East London in 1989, at the age of 22, having been born in March 1967.

Having graduated at 22, the Nigerian law made it obligatory for Mrs Adeosun to submit herself for mobilisation to participate in the one-year mandatory national service, for her to qualify for any job in Nigeria.

Following the report, the NYSC in its initial reaction disowned the purported exemption certificate the minister claimed she had.

Read also: Mauritania polls: Opposition alleges ‘serious signs of possible fraud’

Days later, the NYSC asked for time to investigate and carry out verification of the minister’s certificate.

The result of that verification was never made public but PREMIUM TIMES learnt it played a key role in Mrs Adeosun’s exit.

In resigning her appointment, the disgraced Minister, in her letter to Buhari, wrote as follows:

“Dear Excellency,

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 Corp (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.”

Kemi Adeosun (Mrs)

Politics

5 parties now part of South Africa’s unity government— ANC

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South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), has announced that negotiations with other parties are still underway as the party forms a government with five opposition parties.

The ANC was obliged to form coalitions with other political parties after last month’s election because it was unable to secure a parliamentary majority for the first time since the 1994 election that brought an end to apartheid.

The Democratic Alliance, led by white people and supportive of business, supported ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa in his reelection as president of South Africa’s parliament on Friday. Two smaller parties, the right-wing Patriotic Alliance and the socially conservative Inkatha Freedom Party, also supported the party.

The ANC said on Monday that GOOD, a smaller party, has also committed to join the unity government agreement. According to an ANC statement, this group holds 273 seats in the National Assembly or 68% of the total.

South Africa’s 400 seats make up its parliament. The IFP has 17 seats, the PA has 9 seats, the DA is the second-largest party with 87 seats, the ANC has 159 seats, and GOOD has one seat. According to the ANC, the unity government would guarantee that all involved parties had representation in government and would reach decisions by consensus.

The ANC stated that the unity government will prioritize land reform, infrastructure development, job creation, fixed capital investment promotion, and quick, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth.

“The president will exercise the prerogative to appoint the cabinet, in consultation with leaders of GNU (government of national unity) parties, adhering to existing protocols on government decision-making and budgeting,” the ANC said, adding it was still in discussions with more parties to join the government.

With 39 seats, the Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters party has declared that it will not serve in a government with the Democratic Alliance (DA) or the Freedom Front Plus, two organizations that receive support from the white minority.

The former president Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto we Sizwe party is likewise not a member of the unity government. With 58 seats in the National Assembly, it has declared that it will join the EFF and the center-left United Democratic Movement in the “Progressive Caucus,” a group of minor opposition parties in parliament.

The unity government will face official resistance from this alliance.

“With populist parties choosing to reject the GNU, and the ANC’s bigger partners in the governing coalition centre-leaning and favouring more liberal economic policies, we think the GNU opens the possibility for more growth-friendly structural reforms and prudent macroeconomic policy choices,” HSBC economist David Faulkner said in a note.

“But the GNU could also face ideological divisions and exacerbate fractures within the ANC, factors that could make establishing a stable policy framework difficult.”

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Politics

South Africa: Parliament reelects Cyril Ramaphosa as president

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President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has been re-elected for a second term. He was nominated for re-election on Friday by a member of his African National Congress (ANC) party during the first sitting of parliament following last month’s election.

Julius Malema, the opposition Economic Freedom Fighter, was also put forward for the nation’s presidency, necessitating a vote in parliament to determine the winner.

With a majority of votes in the National Assembly, Chief Justice Ramaphosa was proclaimed president. Julius Malema, the leader of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party, received 44 votes, while Ramaphosa received 283.

The Democratic Alliance party said earlier in the day that it would support Ramaphosa in the election as part of a deal to establish a unity government with the African National Congress.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has been re-elected for a second term. He was nominated for re-election on Friday by a member of his African National Congress (ANC) party during the first sitting of parliament following last month’s election.

Out of the 400 seats in the recently elected National Assembly, 246 are held by the ANC and DA.

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