Mrs. Kemi Adeosun: A Casualty of the War Against Corruption in Nigeria

by Adekunle Akinyemi
Kemi Adeosun

Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, a Nigerian British-born Technocrat who was educated in Britain and worked there until she returned to Nigeria for an appointment with a multinational corporation. She later served her fatherland so diligently and sincerely, first as a Commissioner for Finance and later as Honourable Minister of Finance. She has been smeared and called bad names for an offence which is ‘commonplace’ and which has nothing to do with her qualifications and performance on the job. She was an excellent, indefatigable and impeccable Minister of Finance according to what we saw of her and read about her. She has voluntarily resigned and left the country for good after her awful experience with the powers that be, on whose toes she has stepped. What an unfortunate and sad way to end her success story on the war against corruption in Nigeria? I have always wondered why corruption has been feared and dreaded so much by everyone including those charged with its struggle. It has been severally described and defined by writers as an ubiquitous cankerworm, which is present anywhere, everywhere and in everyplace in one form or another and which has been in existence since ages past! No wonder why some highly placed people have found it difficult to call it what it is, by inferring that ‘corruption is not stealing’! What else is corruption if it is not stealing and looting? I stand to be corrected.

This article is sequel to my previous articles on the Kemi Adeosun saga as it concludes my expressions on the saga published in the Nigeriaworld News about Nigeria. My first article was titled, ‘When it rains it pours, the Kemi Adeosun Saga: Heads must roll’ and the second article ‘The Kemi Adeosun Saga: Federal Government in a Dilemma’. At last the incessant clamour for removal and imprisonments are over and some are breathings sighs of relieve while many hail Kemi for being magnanimous by resigning voluntarily. Nerves are now cooled and emotions lowered. The did has finally been done as Kemi has made her glorious exit from office. Their jubilation has been on, in certain quarters since she resigned. One can only pray that those behind the saga would not have begun crafting their new wave of corruption and loopholes in readiness for looting our nation dry. The ruthless Treasury Gatekeeper (KEMI) has finally bowed to their machinations. Who knows how many Millions or Billions of Naira the next snake will swallow from the Federal Government coffers, when the TSA losses its steam? Only God knows how many Ghost Workers will return to the Federal Personnel Payroll, now that Madam IPPIS is out of the way and how soon the GHOSTS re-surface and resume duty in full swing? What about the ‘obnoxious’ Procurement Bottleneck innovations introduced by Madam Kemi Adeosun? Indeed, I am convinced that corruption stings and fights back viciously. What a pity Madam Kemi Adeosun has been conquered? We can now see that we are all vulnerable and any careless blackmail can get the best of us out, when the enemy wants it so. It remains for all who wish our nation well to wish Kemi Adeosun well where ever she goes from here. Some of us will remember her for good and as a woman who dared many men and got them crying after she successfully blocked their avenues for looting and defrauding our nation.

This is end of story as no other allegation has been weaved on her as a thief, rogue or plunderer. I hereby join others in congratulating Kemi for her honourable voluntary exit from that office. It is very unusual for people to leave a ‘plumpy’ office that clean, without one blemish or another. She will never forget Nigeria as a very difficult terrain and all of us know this. Like I wrote in my previous articles, I had in the past obtained a birth certificate from legitimate government office that was branded fake by the American Consulate in Lagos. In 1969 I paid one hundred and fifty Pounds as a required deposit for a Nigerian Passport and had the passport recalled because the official stub of the issued receipt from the Passport Office showed only fifteen pounds instead of one hundred and fifty Pounds! I have also got similar bizarre reports, in recent times from fraud victims like myself and possibly Kemi Adeosun. Whatever your case was KEMI, it is now all over. Whether your agent put you in this mess or whoever got you the NYSC Exception Certificate in question, put all these behind and let posterity judge those who orchestrated your exit. In all situations let us give thanks to God.

Some of us know the genesis of it all and those who masterminded your exit will get their payback in due times. The TSA gods and the IPPIS gods will not forgive them as the law of Karma will visit them in return. I join others in congratulating you for having your life intact. Being a ‘Former Minister of Finance’ is at least better than being the ‘Late Minister of Finance’! The Lord will be with you in your next adventures in the UK or elsewhere. The anti-corruption crusaders will not forget you and the indelible marks you have left on the WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION in Nigeria can never be erased. How can we forget the meetings you held with many Government Agencies where you all ‘stormed out’ after the inconclusive meetings? We also know that it was after one of such meetings that the NYSC saga surfaced. Even those who should have come in your defense left you in the YOYO state! What a way to treat a friend! You were left to be on your own.

Most painful of all to me is that the three previous employers of yours have escaped unscathed. Your first Nigerian employer who could not detect that the NYSC Exemption Certificate was irregular; the Ogun State Government that snatched you from that private organization and failed to do a good job at the screening process, before you became a Finance Commissioner; and The Almighty Federal Government of Nigeria and the NASS screening who did catch the irregularity in your Exemption Certificate OR chose to compromise. Records have it that two persons or so of the NASS caught the anomaly BUT chose to let it go. What an embarrassment this has brought on our nation? This was the basis of my previous writeups on Kemi Adeosun. At last Kemi Adeosun has brought an end to the dilemma and embarrassments by her resignation. We all need to thank her for making herself the scapegoat of the entire saga. At no time did you (KEMI) process your Nigerian employments, did you? Anyone could find himself in this kind of dilemma. I salute your guts for not cowardly naming the Agent used in obtaining the fake Exception Certificate. Has the Government gone after similar fake academic and other sensitive certificates like this? These are some of the questions the people of Nigeria are asking on the radio and television Call-In Programmes as well as in the Print Media since Kemi bowed out. Opinions are divided on the resignation as many positive comments were passed in favour of this Former Minister of Finance.

You remain a vital yardstick in Diasporeans’ decisions to RETURN TO CONTRIBUTE in Nigeria’s development. This is the reason why many Nigerian professionals and Superstars refuse to return to serve our fatherland. “A Prophet is not without honour except in his own country”. This is such a big lesson for the Nigerian brains that have been lost to other lands and these are many. Nigeria is yet to discover herself on many issues of development and the Kemi Adeosun Saga will forever haunt Nigeria as one of the best anti-corruption Crusaders. If the Kemi Adeosuns of this world, who were born and bred abroad, schooled abroad and demonstrated excellence in their chosen professions to qualify to be invited to Nigeria for service and actually served creditably well, can be treated like this, how many such professionals will be willing to subject themselves to these deplorable treatments from Nigeria, their nation of origin?

Many Nigerians are today wondering what next to expect from/of the war against corruption with one of the arrowheads bowing out. Alas! Kemi Adeosun, the indefatigable corruption fighter, the actualizer of innovative institutional frameworks, currently used in fighting corruption, and the initiator of the plugs for containing corruption has been made to bow out prematurely. I am sure this Government will miss this rare gem. Her contributions in President Buhari’s status as a prime corruption fighter in Africa, can never be forgotten even as she becomes a casualty of the same war against corruption. This simply confirms and corroborate the usual statement that corruption can fight back so viciously. She is the unfortunate Nigerian baby thrown away with the bath water! What a shame!

Together with other well-meaning Nigerians, we are anxiously waiting to see what happens next to the corruption fight, with one of the arrowheads out. We can only pray that the anti-corruption successes to date, do not give way to a grand return of new types of corruption with the prime fighter conquered. One sincerely hopes that Nigeria will not celebrate a grand return of a new wave of corruption any time soon. The remaining of the vanguard against corruption need to retie their girdles and be on their guard, as we do not know who will be the next casualty.

It is unfathomable that to date, no heads have rolled and Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has been left in the YOYO “You’re On Your Own” state. What a paradox? Should the Government have left her in this YOYO state? On whose course was she fighting before stepping on the big toes? Are the values she has added to governance in Nigeria comparable to an ‘exemption certificate’? Are there not many highly placed people with questionable or questioned academic certificates still serving, even in sensitive positions? This is why many Nigerians salute and shower praises on Mrs. Adeosun for resigning voluntarily when the hue and cry remained unabated. At no time did I write that she did not carry a fake certificate or that the purported offence was not real We also know that ignorance of the law is never an excuse. The fact is that in Nigeria, anyone can be a victim of fake documents issued officially from accredited and designated government offices. Most key offices are ‘illegally blessed’ with touts and miscreants who parade themselves as designated officials of the MDAs. Many Nigerians had fallen victims of this and Madan Kemi Adeosun remains one of the STAR VICTIMS among the lesser Nigerians. I respect her for not giving out the name of the agent or individual who obtained this fake document for her. This is one of the lessons of life as we learn from cradle to grave.

The bigger picture remains those individuals, agencies and Governments responsible for the screening before her appointments. While I am aware that no heads have rolled and that no one may be questioned when the dust settles, I will like to humbly suggest that the screening instruments of employment Agencies and Governments be reviewed and amended to catch this kind of insignificant but debilitating OFFENCE. Many talents of Nigerian origin, may be forever lost if no lesson is learnt and corrections made from the Kemi Adeosun saga. The two NASS individuals who were reported to have spotted this problem during screening may need to be called to question, even if they will not be sacked.

Is it a sin to come back home to serve one’s fatherland, even if born in the Diaspora?
Would it be patriotic to think twice before coming back to one’s fatherland?
Why must Nigeria set stringent conditions for citizens’ return to their fatherland?
Are we ready to take back our lost brains from the Diaspora?

Nigeria needs to decide whether she is ready and willing to stem the problem of Brain Drain. Her attitude towards attracting and retaining the Returnees (from Brain Drain) must change. Desperate steps must be taken to retain the available Brains (Human Resources) in Nigeria who are daily struggling to emigrate to the greener pastures around the world.

For the avoidance of doubt, this writer does not know Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and has never met her in person. I am only one of many Nigerians, who appreciate her worth and has kept track of her laudable activities since being appointed as the Federal Minister of Finance. She will be sorely missed as an astute Anti-Corruption Arrowhead, outstanding Technocrat and Financial Guru. Remain blessed Kemi.

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