Senator Stella Oduah’s bid to return to the Nigerian Senate through the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket may have suffered a set back.
This is coming as the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) says the lawmaker representing Anambra-North senatorial district did not complete the mandatory one-year NYSC programme.
The NYSC in a letter marked NYSC/DHQ/PPRU/783/Vol III by the Director-General of the NYSC which was signed on his behalf by the Director, Press and Public Relations, Eddy Megwa, said Oduah commenced her NYSC programme in 1982 but absconded.
According to The PUNCH, the letter was in response to an inquiry by a group known as the Concerned Anambra North PDP Stakeholders.
The group had in a previous letter written to the NYSC accused some of its officials 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 forms 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.
An affidavit she deposed to read in part, “Sometime in 2010 while in transit from Akili Ozizor in Ogbaru local government area to Abuja, I discovered that some of my personal belongings were missing.
“The missing documents are the originals of my West African School Certificate of 1978 from Zixon 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 Lawrence Virginia USA; National Youth Service Corps certificate 1983, national identity card, United States of America Social Security card with numbers in it.”
Oduah had served as Minister of Aviation before she was relieved of her duties by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The PUNCH reports that the group, Concerned Anambra North PDP Stakeholders had petitioned the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu.
The group asked the PDP to disqualify Oduah who has been screened to contest in the primary.
The group in a letter dated April 26, 2022, attached all necessary evidence to the party. However, there had been no response.