© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Razak Atunwa, Kwara PDP governorship candidate in certificate forgery scandal
FORMER Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly and the current governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, Razak Atunwa, did not take part in the one-year mandatory National Youth Service scheme.
Atunwa, however, submitted a forged NYSC certificate to the PDP screening committee as part of his qualification to be eligible to run for governorship post in Kwara State, according to Premium Times.
This is coming after two top ministers were exposed as having not taken part in the NYSC, without which anyone who graduated before the age of 30 can be employed by either the public or private sector in Nigeria.
Atunwa is the preferred candidate of the Senate Bukola Saraki, who is seen as his political godfather.
Kemi Adeosun, former Minister of Finance, resigned her position and fled the country after she was found to have falsified her NYSC certificate, while Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communications, insisted that he did not need to take part in the one-year service because he had been elected into the Oyo state legislative House immediately after graduation.
According to the Premium Times report, the certificate which Atunwa submitted to the PDP indicates that he served between 1995 and 1996, and the certificate was purportedly signed by Walter Oki, the supposed Brigadier General in charge of the NYSC at the time.
However, Oki only became the Director-General of NYSC in 2002, a whopping six years difference from the time that Atunwa claimed he signed his certificate. The NYSC DG in 1996 was Soyemi Sofoluwe, also a Brigadier General. He was succeeded by S.M. Dule who served as head of the NYSC between 1996 and 2000.
Also according to the report, there were noticeable discrepancies between the certificate allegedly submitted by Atunwa and the certificates awarded by the NYSC to Nigerians who had studied abroad but returned home to observe the mandatory national service.
For instance, while the NYSC certificate for persons that studied abroad bore the acronym FORN or FRN (indicating that the bearer attended a ‘foreign’ university), Atunwa’s forged certificate had the acronym KWP – a code for graduates of the Kwara State Polytechnic – even though he claimed to have graduated from the University of East London, with a degree in Law, aged 23.
When he was contacted, Atunwa maintained that he did not forge any document neither did he present any forged document to anybody.
“I did not submit any unsupported NYSC certificate as suggested by you. I strongly advise that you verify each and every assertion you wish to make. You may wish to make formal enquiries/verifications of all institutions concerned,” Atunwa was reported as having said.
The spokesman of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said he would investigate the allegation and get back to the reporter, but he was yet to do so before publication.
If the allegations against Atunwa proves correct, it could disqualify him from contesting the election. A clause in the PDP governorship nomination form states that a candidate will be automatically disqualified if it is found that any or all of the information he provided was false.
Read the full story here.