By Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Adedayo Akinwale, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday said that the revelation that the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, allegedly skipped the compulsory one-year national service, “further validated its position that President Muhammadu Buhari has many persons of questionable character in his cabinet.”
But in a swift reaction, the minister said he had not violated the law of the land and therefore has no case to answer over the allegation of non-possession of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) certificate, ThisDay reports.
The main opposition party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, insisted that President Buhari has the moral burden of explaining why he appointed such characters into very sensitive positions, insisting that such action negates his integrity as a leader.
The party noted that by appointing alleged suspects into key offices in his government, Buhari had shown that he “has a weighty integrity burden, contrary to the ‘Mr. Clean’ posturing, which his handlers had always wanted Nigerians to believe.”
Ologbondiyan said: “President Buhari should provide answers to allegations that such individuals are being used as henchmen to fritter away trillions of naira from our treasury to service All Progressives Congress (APC) interests and the Presidency cabal.”
The opposition party noted that the effrontery with which Shittu was trying to justify his alleged crime against the nation was an indication of the impunity in the Buhari administration.
The PDP said that it is very sad that controversial practices of the Buhari administration had continued to smear the nation in the international arena, leading to the current dearth in foreign direct investments and development partnership to the country.
It added: “Nigerians know how President Buhari refused to sack, let alone prosecute the disgraced erstwhile Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, despite her culpability in certificate forgery and how the agents of the federal government escorted her out of the country to prevent her from opening up on the humongous corruption in the Buhari Presidency.
“Mr. President has also not declared why he has refused to sack or prosecute his Special Assistant on Prosecution and Chairman of the Special Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, despite declaration by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) that he parades a fake certificate.”
Shittu: My Case Different from Adeosun’s
In his first major reaction to the allegation that he does not possess the NYSC certificate, Minister of Communications, Adabayo Shittu, said he had not violated any law of the land and therefore has no case to answer.
Shittu, who spoke to journalists yesterday shortly after undergoing the APC governorship screening exercise in Abuja insisted that his case cannot be compared to that of Adeosun.
According to the minister, whereas that of the former finance minister was fake, he didn’t even obtain his, adding that he considered his service at the state assembly, “a higher service”.
He said: “I left in 1978 and left law school in 1979 and the constitution says anyone who qualifies to contest an election or who has gone through an election and wins, he is obligated to move through the House of Assembly, which I did for four years, so it is a form of higher service as far as I’m concerned and even now, I am still in service.
On whether he has violated any law, Shittu said: “I didn’t and I’m not worried. Do you see any worry on my face? I don’t think so except someone has a superior argument and prove it.
“There are walls of difference. Unfortunately, Kemi had a fake certificate, I didn’t present any, I didn’t have one, I simply followed the constitutional requirement that if you are qualified to contest an election, it is compulsory for you to serve the nation in the capacity that you won an election.
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