Edo Decides: Retired Judge Faults New NYSC Certificate Issued To Governor Obaseki

A retired Judge of the Edo State High Court, Justice Roland Amaize, has faulted the new discharge certificate issued to Mr. Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo State, by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

Igbere TV recalls that Mr. Obaseki partook in the scheme in 1980 but there was an error on the certificate issued to him. An alphabet was missing in his surname which read “Obasek” instead of Obaseki.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Screening Committee which screened aspirants for the Edo 2020 primary election had cited this error as one of the reasons for disqualifying the governor from the race.

He subsequently defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where he contested and won the primary election while accusing the APC panel of injustice insisting nothing was wrong with his certificate.

Documents available to Igbere TV, however, shows that Obaseki had written to the NYSC to demand rectification of the error and re-issuance of the same certificate, before the June 25 PDP primary which was promptly corrected.

But in a statement obtained by Igbere TV on Saturday, the retired High Court judge faulted the date on the new certificate bearing 2020 instead of the former 1980 issuance year.

Justice Amaize also faulted Governor Obaseki for claiming the APC Screening Committee “unjustly” disqualified him from the race, and yet corrected the error on the same certificate in private.

The statement reads, “I recall that upon being screened by APC screening committee recently, one of the discrepancies noted in Governor Obaseki’s credentials was the way his surname had appeared on his NYSC discharged certificate. There was no problem with his first and given names both of which were correctly spelt but not the surname. Instead of “Obaseki” what was written was “Obasek” – the ground, inter alia, on which he was disqualified by the committee. *In fairness to the committee members they had appreciated the point and so stated that the situation could have arisen from inadvertence but however wondered, rightly in my view, why a certificate issued in 1980 containing such an error was not taken to the issuing authority for correction to the extent that in 2020 it was still carrying the error. Instead of sound reasoning and informed judgment to rule the atmosphere towards public acceptance of such plausible observation by the committee, those who are given to reducing everything to politics got their otherwise open eyes screened off the stark reality and went on a tale best told at a moonlight gathering. Not left out of that side of the bifurcation was the owner of the document, who had contended that there was no error on the certificate. He had added that it merely looked as if the closing “i” was absent because the name was written in cursive handwriting. I personally find no logic in that puerile argument.

“However, it is now a matter of public knowledge that subsequent to that encounter, Gov. Obaseki has now made public what he calls a corrected version of the document said to have been effected by the issuing authority. In that version his surname has now been correctly spelt. What that therefore suggests is that while the committee members were right, Gov Obaseki and others who took a contrary position were wrong. That unarguably being the case, the least that can now be said of the entire scenario is that the committee members and all others who were grouped along with them for vilification were unduly vilified.

“Now to the meat of this message. The document which I saw on the social media and said to be the corrected version may (just may) meet the demands of the now, especially as the PDP, out of desperation, has chosen to field him. However, my view is that after the current exercise he may need to take it back to the issuing authority for proper correction. This view is informed by the fact that the issuing authority, in trying to make good the initial error, did what it ought not to do. It only needed to correctly spell the surname that was wrongly spelt in the first one which gave rise to the correction. In doing, it ought to have left intact all other features on the document. Rather than simply do that, it went on to additionally replace the earlier issuing date of 6th or so August, 1980 with the date of correction, i.e 19th June, 2020 as though the latter is the issuing date. The result, with its obvious and loud incongruity, is that Gov Obaseki today holds and carries with him an NYSC discharged certificate which, ex facie, is dated 19th June, 2020 for a one year mandatory national youth service from which he was actually discharged about 6th of August, 1980 – some 40 years ago. This is a huge incongruity that may again lead to needless long and protracted story in future.

“My advice to him therefore is that after the present exercise for which the document (that is the corrected version) was apparently hurriedly secured, he may yet need to go for a proper correction. Such proper correction is simply to close the spelling of his surname with an “i”, while all other features, including the original date of issue, are left intact. It should not bear the date of correction and allow it to masquerade as date of issue. That will not serve the best interest of the holder of the certificate.”

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