NYSC Forgery: Prosecute Kwara PDP Governorship Candidate, KMC Tell Police, As It Accuses KWSG Of Culpability
A Pro-Democracy group in Kwara State, popular known as Kwara Must
Change has said it received with utmost surprise, a report alleging
that the Kwara State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship
candidate, Hon. Razaq Atunwa forged his National Youth Service Scheme
(NYSC) certificate to deceive the nation.
‘’We find this allegation very strong and weighty and rather than
allow the issue remain a mere allegation, we call for proper
investigation into the matter by the police to ascertain the
credibility of the story and if true, as eventual prosecution of the
culprit’ the group said through a statement signed by its president,
In an exclusive report by Premium Times newspaper, it was discovered
that the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in
Kwara State in the forthcoming general elections, Hon. Razak Atunwa
did not participate in Nigeria’s compulsory national youth service
scheme. Instead, he procured a forged discharge certificate of NYSC
which he submitted to the PDP to prove his eligibility for public
The NYSC law requires every Nigerian who attended university or
polytechnic to participate in the national youth scheme for one year
after graduation, provided the person finished before age 30. Failure
to serve would prohibit such individual from gainful employment in
Nigeria, and making false claims about serving could attract up to 14
years in jail. Also, anyone who graduated before 30 but deliberately
declined to serve has committed a crime that could attract 12-month
imprisonment, even if the person did not forge NYSC documents.
Mr Atunwa, born on October 17, 1969 and according to his public
profile, he studied law at the University of East London, graduating
in 1992 at age 23. Having earned a bachelor’s degree at 23, Mr Atunwa,
going by Section 2 of the NYSC Act, should have participated in the
year-long national service.
However, rather than present himself for national service, Mr. Atunwa
was said to have stayed back in the United Kingdom, returning only in
2005 to join the cabinet of then Governor Bukola Saraki in Kwara State
at the age of 36.
Kwara Must Change queried that, should the Atunwa’s NYSC forgery
scandal be confirmed to be true, this would be an indictment on the
Kwara State government and the Kwara State House of Assembly in whose
custody; Atunwa has been working for about 15 years.
According to the group, since it is not allowed for anyone without
NYSC certificate to work in Nigeria and contrary to this law, Atunwa
has been working in the country since 2005, serving under the Kwara
State government in various capacities, including commissioner for
Land, Work and Transport, Information and Home Affairs, Finance as
well as serving as speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly and
now a member of federal house of representative, the culpability of
the Kwara State government cannot be under emphasized.
To secure the PDP governorship ticket on October 1, Atunwa was said to
have submitted a counterfeit NYSC discharge certificate and
accompanied it with an affidavit, indicating he lied on oath, an
offence that attracts up to 14 years in jail.
Mr Atunwa — who claimed he qualified for law practice in the United
Kingdom after obtaining undergraduate and master’s degrees at separate
universities in London — indicated in the nomination document he
submitted at the PDP national secretariat in Abuja that he partook in
the youth service scheme between 1995 and 1996.
The lawmaker accompanied it with a notarised affidavit sworn at the
Kwara State High Court in Ilorin on September 10. The document was
attached to his PDP expression of interest form. He signed the
document despite a clause indicating he remained automatically
disqualified as candidate if any statement or information he provided
is found to be false, inaccurate, or mislead the party or its agents
from making proper assessment of his competence to contest the
governorship election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic
According to the newspaper, one could see at first glance that Mr.
Atunwa’s so-called discharge certificate is fake. For one, Mr Atunwa’s
‘certificate’ purportedly obtained in 1996 carried the signature of
Walter Oki (brigadier general at the time). But Mr Oki was only made
NYSC director-general in 2002. In 1996, Soyemi Sofoluwe (brigadier
general) was director-general of the corps and signed all discharge
and exemption certificates during the period. He was succeeded by S.M.
Dule (brigadier general), who served as director-general between 1996
To further crosscheck the authenticity of Mr Atunwa’s ‘certificate’,
PREMIUM TIMES compared his with original ones that bore the basics of
the document, especially those from foreign university graduates.
At least three ministers who returned to Nigeria to serve after
finishing from schools in the UK and the United States had similar
call-up mark in their certificates, which usually carries the acronym
of the institution, the state where the participant served, where the
person was called up, the year of service and the serial number for
For instance, Ibe Kachikwu, the minister of state for petroleum, has
his NYSC certificate marked as NYSC/OY/FORN/82/7101. Mr Kachikwu was
deployed for service in Oyo State (OY) on August 16, 1982, passing out
a year later on August 15, 1983. He came back to Nigeria to serve
after completing his doctorate in law at Harvard University (FORN) in
Aisha Abubakar, the minister of state trade and industry, returned to
Nigeria after concluding her masters in development studies at the
University of Leeds. Her certificate is marked NYSC/LA/FRN/91/18170,
indicating that she served in Lagos, after graduating from a foreign
Khadija Bukar Ibrahim, the minister of state foreign affairs, also
schooled abroad. She attended Roehampton Institute for Higher
Education, affiliated with the University of Surrey and finished in
- She enlisted in the NYSC on October 2, 1990 and passed out on
October 1, 1991. Her certificate is marked NYSC/LA/FRN/90/28750,
indicating that she served in Lagos (LA) after graduating from a
foreign university (FRN) in 1990.
However, Mr. Atunwa’s certificate, rather than bear FRN or FORN (code
for foreign graduates) has KWP (a code reserved for graduates of Kwara
State Polytechnic) as identification mark. But the politician did not
graduate from Kwara Polytechnic. He claimed he attended the University
of East London for the first degree and the University of London for
According to the newspaper, “This is the most audacious forgery since
PREMIUM TIMES began investigation into NYSC claims of senior
government officials and politicians generally,”
Hon. Atunwa was said to have broken Nigerian law twice. According to
the report, “Based on Section 13 (c) of the NYSC Act, even being in
possession of a forged NYSC certificate is already a crime,” “And then
we now have an affidavit that he swore to and walked himself into
perjury, another criminal offence.”
Kwara Must Change is therefore calling on the police to promptly
launch an investigation into the matter to ascertain the truth.
Should the Police investigation proved the allegation correct, Atunwa
must be made to return all the salaries he had received from the Kwara
State government, Kwara State House of Assembly and the National
He must also be prosecuted for forging the NYSC certificate and then
lying on oath.
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