Former spokesperson for President Bola Tinubu’s presidential campaign, Dr. Josef Onoh, has come to the defense of Minister for Arts, Culture, and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa. He asserts that Musawa has not violated any laws, despite facing criticism for assuming the role of a serving minister before completing her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program.
Human rights lawyers had raised concerns about Musawa’s appointment as a minister while still being in her NYSC service year.
However, Onoh contends that Musawa’s acceptance of the ministerial position during her service year is not a breach of the law. He points out that the constitution outlines the scope of the NYSC’s authority, which includes the option to remobilize her in the future if she chooses not to serve immediately.
Onoh states, “Her current status as a minister, even though she is presumed to be in service, means that the NYSC could at most withhold her certificate upon completion of her service year. By agreeing to become a minister, she has implicitly consented to the possibility of being remobilized at a later time.”
He continues, “There is no requirement for her to submit an NYSC certificate, and she has not been found lacking in meeting the constitutional prerequisites for the role of a minister.”
Onoh also emphasizes that it is time for political office holders to focus on meeting the minimum constitutional requirements rather than fixating on academic qualifications. He argues that Nigerians should prioritize service delivery and competence over credentials.
Regarding security clearance, Onoh remarks that critiquing the Department of State Services (DSS) for not thoroughly screening Musawa is not a constitutional necessity. The DSS provides confidential security assessments and recommendations, which the President can choose to consider. Onoh praises the dedication of security personnel and discourages attempts to discredit their efforts for political gain.
He advises that individuals with concerns about Musawa should seek legal recourse rather than resorting to media sensationalism. Finally, Onoh clarifies that the only potential issue Musawa might face with the NYSC is if she seeks a discharge certificate once her current service batch ends while she is still a minister. If she has no other commitments after her ministerial term concludes, she can reapply for remobilization.