Agency report with Sopirinye Jaja
A Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled that a candidate does not have to participate in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme to contest in a governorship election.
Justice M A Mohammed delivered the judgement on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 while ruling on a pre-election suit, no FHC/ABJ/CS/34/1019, filed by Iyabo Anisulowo, a former senator, against new Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun.
Anisulowo had protested before the court that Abiodun was ineligible to contest in the March 9 election, which he won as a candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), because he allegedly failed to participate in the NYSC scheme.
The NYSC is a one-year mandatory scheme for all Nigerians who graduate from tertiary institutions in or outside the country before the age of 30.
Even though the presentation of an NYSC certificate is required for employment in Nigeria’s formal sector, Justice Mohammed dismissed Anisulowo’s suit because a governorship candidate is only required to be educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent to be eligible to contest.
The judge ruled that the suit lacked merit since the petitioner could not prove that Abiodun presented false documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Participation in the NYSC scheme has generated a lot of controversy over the past year in relation to Nigerian public office holders.
Kemi Adeosun was forced to resign as the Minister of Finance last year, after it became public knowledge that she had forged an NYSC exemption certificate to qualify for employment and several political appointments.
It was also discovered that then Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, did not participate in the mandatory one-year NYSC scheme, an offence punishable with up to 12-month imprisonment under the NYSC Act.
Even though he never resigned until the cabinet was dissolved last month, he was disqualified from participating in the APC’s primary election for the Oyo State governorship election because of the NYSC controversy.
Culled from Pulse Nigeria