The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu says the controversy about the discharge certificate of Peter Mbah, the state’s governor-elect, is borne out of a willful misrepresentation of facts.
Mbah has been in a row with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) over the authenticity of his discharge certificate.
The governor-elect had claimed that after graduating from the University of East London in 2000, he returned to Nigeria and was admitted into the bar part 1 programme of the Nigerian law school.
He said he was required to wait for the bar part 2 programme upon completing the first leg and was told to enrol in the one-year NYSC programme instead of wasting time sitting around.
After six months of NYSC, Mbah applied and was granted approval to defer the one-year mandatory programme to enable him to complete the bar final exam, after which he was re-mobilised to finish the service, which he did complete, Emeka Ozoani, his lawyer told a court.
However, in February, NYSC issued a letter signed by Ibrahim Muhammad, the scheme’s director of certifications, saying the certificate belonging to Mbah was not issued by the corps.
Consequently, Mbah sued NYSC for what he described as conspiracy, deceit, and misrepresentation of facts, demanding N20 billion in compensation.
NYSC INSISTS ON CERTIFICATE FORGERY
Reacting to the development, Yusha’u Ahmed, NYSC director-general, said he had met with the governor-elect and told him that the certificate was a counterfeit.
Ahmed said NYSC was yet to receive a court order or document confirming the suit by the Enugu governor-elect and would continue to stand by the “truth”.
“I wonder how the issue of racketeering would come up when you are talking about an elite: somebody who is a graduate and well-enlightened. Where did you obtain your certificate? You do not know how we issue our certificate? You cannot go and collect certificates on the street or in a hotel, you should know better,” the NYSC DG said.
“The governor-elect is a lawyer. I am not a lawyer, but I know as the DG of NYSC, I’m fully aware of this case. He came to me, I was frank with him, and I told him this certificate was not from us, However, he chose to go to court and sue. But as far as I’m concerned NYSC has not been sued. I’m just hearing about it. I have not seen a court order.”
ENUGU PDP TO NYSC DG: CLAIMS OF FORGERY ARE IRRATIONAL
In a statement released on Friday by Nana Ogbodo, spokesperson of the Enugu state PDP campaign, the party said the NYSC DG’s claim was “in sync with the agency’s conspiracy, deceit, and wilful misrepresentation of facts”.
According to the statement, Ahmed had, during a meeting, admitted to being ignorant about the fact that Mbah had received a discharge certificate from the NYSC and did not challenge the authenticity as his claims alleged.
The party equally described as an irony, a situation where the DG said he would not want to comment on the matter since it was in court, only to go ahead to not only deny knowledge of the lawsuit and consequent court order, but also to act in clear contempt of the court.
“We should have viewed with surprise the false claim by the NYSC DG, Brigadier-General Yushau’u Dogara Ahmed, on national television this morning. But he has not said anything new, as his statements were in sync with the continued conspiracy, deceit, and wilful misrepresentation of facts by the agency and its Director of Corps Certification, Mr Ibrahim Muhammad, which necessitated Mbah’s N20 billion lawsuit against the agency and Mr Muhammad in the first place,” the statement reads.
“The DG lied when he claimed that he told Mbah during a meeting in his office that the NYSC did not issue his certificate. The truth is that he told Mbah that the director in question neither briefed nor cleared with him before issuing the letter dated February 1, 2023 disclaiming Dr Mbah’s discharge certificate.
“He equally expressed surprise when Mbah showed him the letter by the NYSC national headquarters dated 7th May, 2003 (reference number NYSC/DHQ/CM/27/20) to the state director, Lagos, NYSC, re-mobilising him for the remaining part of his service year after a break, by the express and written permission of the agency, to complete bar part II (bar final).
“Excerpt from the re-mobilisation letter states: ‘I am directed to refer to your letter of 24th April, Reference No. LA/01/1532/T on the above subject matter and to request you to re-instate the corps member to continue his service year from where he stopped, with effect from May 2003.
“It is noteworthy that the directors and staff present at the meeting did not deny that the NYSC authored the letter re-mobilising Mbah, while his place of primary assignment, Udeh & Associates, Lagos, has not denied that it authored the letter reabsorbing him to complete the remaining months of his service year as well as the final clearance letter to enable him receive his NYSC discharge certificate at the end of his service.
“The DG actually told Dr Mbah that he was barely three months in office at the time, but would resolve the matter with dispatch. But it is striking that the NYSC is yet to formally respond to Mbah’s petition since February 2, 2023. Instead, the NYSC, through its director of corps certification, has continued to issue letters of disclaimer to various political interests in Enugu state, in clear contempt of a subsisting court judgment upholding the authenticity of his certificate and in relentless disparagement of his reputation.”
The PDP said it was unfounded that Mbah would go through the rigorous process of the NYSC only to end up forging a certificate and challenged the NYSC to produce a contrary certificate as proof.
“NYSC discharge certificates are printed by the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company PLC. They have security features such as watermarks and serial numbers denoting the batches. We therefore challenge the NYSC to produce any other certificate in the series of Mbah’s certificate that has the same serial number as his,” the statement added.
In March, Mbah won the Enugu governorship election with 160,895 votes while Chijioke Edeoga of the Labour Party (LP), had 157,552 votes.