The National Youth Service Corps has revealed that the lawmaker representing Anambra-North senatorial district, Stella Oduah, did not complete the mandatory one-year NYSC programme.
The NYSC made this known this in a letter marked NYSC/DHQ/PPRU/783/Vol III.
In a letter by the Director-General of the NYSC which was signed on his behalf by the Director, Press and Public Relations, Eddy Megwa, the agency said Oduah commenced her NYSC programme in 1982 but absconded.
The letter was in response to an inquiry by a group known as the Concerned Anambra North PDP Stakeholders.
The group had written a letter to the NYSC accusing some officials of the agency of colluding with Oduah to hide the truth.
In its response, titled, ‘Re: Doubtful NYSC Participation Collusion of Some Unscrupulous Staff of NYSC Concerning Stella Adaeze Oduah (Senator), Save the Image and Reputation of the Scheme’, the NYSC denied colluding with Oduah to hide the truth.
The letter read in part, “In response to your request, we wish to state that the facts of the matter remain as follows: Stella Adaeze Oduah was mobilised for national service in 1982/1983 service year and deployed to Lagos State.
“After the orientation course, she absconded and never completed the national service. The consequence of this is that she is not qualified for the issuance of the certificate of national service.”
Section 2 (1) of the NYSC Act makes it obligatory for every Nigerian who graduates to ”make himself available for service for a continuous period of one year from the date specified in the call-up instrument served upon him.”
According to the NYSC Act, the four categories of individuals exempted from the national service are those who graduated above the age of 30, those who have served in the Armed Forces or the Nigeria Police for a period of more than nine months; those who served in intelligence organisations and individuals who bagged national honours before graduation.
It remains unclear how Oduah’s failure to complete her NYSC escaped the scrutiny of agencies like the Department of State Services which usually vet ministerial nominees.
In her form CF001 form submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission in 2019, Oduah claimed that she completed her NYSC but her certificate was missing along with other credentials.
In her response in an affidavit obtained, it read: “I Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah, Christian, Adult , Nigeria Citizen, Politician of Umuoma Village, Akili, Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State do hereby make oath and depose as follows:
1. That I am the dependent of the affidavit.
2. That I am a native of Akili Ozizor in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State.
3. That sometime in 2010 while in transit from Akili Ozizor in Ogbaru Local Government Area to Abuja I discovered that my personal belongings were missing.
4. That the missing documents are the originals of my West African School Certificate of 1978 from Zixton Secondary School Ozubulu, First School Leaving Certificate from St. John Odoakpu Onitsha, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Certificate 1982 from St Paul’s College Lawrencevile Virginia USA, National Youth Service Corps Certificate 1983, National Identity Card, United States of America Social Security Card with the number on it.
5. That all efforts are to trace the missing documents proved abortive.
6. That I made this affidavit in good faith believing same to be true and correct and in accordance with the Oaths Act.”
However, the Concerned Anambra North Peoples Democratic Party Stakeholders wrote to the NYSC Director General to issue them with a certified true copy of the certificate of national service with the Youth Service Corps issued to Stella Adaeze Oduah in 1982/83.
By the letter, NYSC has confirmed that Oduah served as minister in breach of the nation’s extant law barring anyone who fails to do the National Service after acquiring the necessary educational level should not be employed by government and should also not be allowed to hold public offices.