Mixed reactions have continued to trail the court ruling on the former minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun’s case, stating that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate is not mandatory for holding political appointments.
Prospective corps members, students and other stakeholders in the country have questioned the ruling, saying it may weaken the spirit of many graduates who want to serve in the scheme.
On Wednesday, July 7, 2021 the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, presided by Honourable Justice Taiwo Taiwo, ruled that the applicant does not need the NYSC certificate for appointment into public office at both state and federal levels.
Adeosun, who served as minister of Finance from November 11, 2015, to September 14, 2018, voluntarily resigned the position over an allegation that she illegally obtained her NYSC exemption certificate.
Although in Adeosun’s case, the judge stated that she could not present herself for National Youth Service because it was under the 1979 Constitution, which was in force at the time of her graduation. Many Nigerians have questioned the relevance of the scheme if such rules were taken into consideration, with some saying it is clear that the NYSC has outlived its relevance in the lives of the youth and Nigerians in general and therefore should be scrapped or amended.
Those questioning the relevance of the scheme, based their argument on the fact that the Federal High Court judgment is clearly in disagreement with the NYSC law, which stipulates that the one year-long service is compulsory for all Nigerians who graduate from universities or equivalent institutions at less than 30 years of age.
This is given that section 13 of the NYSC Law states that eligible Nigerians who skipped the service are liable to a sentence of 12 months imprisonment. While the certificate is a mandatory requirement for public and private job placement, it is therefore considerably irrational that it is not necessary for public office appointment.
A prospective corps member, Jude Amande appealed to federal government to consider cancelling its mandatory requirement for securing public and private jobs. “I want to plead to the government to amend the Act governing the scheme so as to accommodate those who do not want to go to service after graduation.’’
In a chat with a legal practitioner, Justin Mbalaha, he notes that the issue of NYSC is not mandatory for a political appointment, hinging it on the constitution. “That is why secondary and diploma holders are given political appointments,” he said.
However, the director, Press and Public Relations of NYSC, Mrs Adenike Adeyemi said it is a judgment of the Federal High Court and will be interpreted by legal luminaries.