Saturday, 10 October 2015

Howard University Faults Diezani Alison- Madueke's Year of Graduation -PREMIUM TIMES

Howard University faults Diezani Alison- Madueke's year of graduation. 
She really was not required to enroll for national service. As Diezani Alison-Madueke settles into her second tour of duty as Nigeria’s petroleum minister, she wouldn’t have been burdened by the raging controversy that she skipped national service had she not needlessly lied about her exact year of graduation from the university, a NEXT investigation has shown.

Our months-long investigations in Nigeria and the United States, where Mrs Alison-Madueke attended university, showed that the minister actually graduated from Howard University in 1992 when she was already 32 years old.
Under the National Youth Service Corps Act, the one-year compulsory national service is only mandatory for Nigerians who graduate before the age of 30. Given the age at which she graduated, Mrs Alison-Madueke did not need to serve and is eligible for exemption from the programme. She cannot, therefore really be held liable for ducking it.
But it was the minister herself who created the confusion about her NYSC status by lying about when she graduated. In the resumes she personally circulated for several years, in search of jobs and appointments to public offices, Mrs Alison-Madueke claimed she obtained her Bachelor’s in Architecture from Howard in 1987 when she was 27. She also created the impression that she had more post-graduation experience than she actually had.
Based on that claim by the minister, this newspaper had conducted a comprehensive investigation into her national youth service status, which led us to report that she skipped the one-year programme.
Howard faults Mrs Madueke’s claim
But our investigations in the past months have revealed that Mrs Alison-Madueke actually backdated her graduation date by five years. Responding to a May 24 enquiry from NEXT, Howard, though its official, Kerry-Ann Hamilton said the minister graduated from the university and was awarded a Bachelor of Architecture degree under her maiden name, Diezani K. Agama, on December 8, 1992.
To be sure that the Diezani of Ms. Hamilton’s record is actually the oil minister, our reporter wrote the university again on June 3, providing her maiden as well as her married name. The Howard spokesperson responded same day indicating that Diezani K. Agama and Diezani Alison-Madueke were one and the same person.
She added, “Our alumni database shows an update to married and female in 2010. This database is different from the records database. It is most current. The records database showed what applicants indicate prior to enrolling.” In a telephone interview with our reporter two weeks ago, Ms Hamilton dismissed the suggestion that Mrs Alison-Madueke graduated in 1987 but that the university held on to her certificate till 1992. She said Howard was not in the habit of withholding the certificates of its students who had fulfilled all requirements for graduation. She further explained that the university authorities could not have withheld Mrs Alison-Madueke’s certificate if she had completed her course work for a degree five years earlier, saying the Minister could only have finished her programme and graduated in 1992.
“In the back and forth that we’ve had, I kept checking her records. I did not come across any evidence that her certificate was withheld,” she said.
A narrative of lies
It is not clear what Mrs Alison-Madueke’s motivations were for backdating her year of graduation in her personal records. Mrs Alison-Madueke and her spokespersons would not comment for this story. The minister refused to respond to telephone calls and text messages seeking her comments. When NEXT contacted Malachy Agbo, her spokesperson, he listened patiently to our enquiry and promised to get back with his response. He did not as at the time this newspaper went to press. He also did not answer subsequent calls made to his mobile telephone.
But sources suggested that she could have used it to curry favours in the early years of her life.
“You know when applying for jobs, some employers demand for some years of post-graduation experience. She probably did that to prove she had some years of experience in her early post-graduation life,” a source close to the minister told NEXT.
“By claiming that she graduated earlier than she actually did, the minister has fooled her previous employers, and enjoyed an unfair advantage over those who competed for positions with her,” said an official at the Ministry of Petroleum, who did not want to be named for fear he might be victimised. “What she has done is perjury. It is criminal and such a person is not fit to hold public office.” In her most widely circulated curriculum vitae, which she also provided to senators for her confirmation hearings, Mrs Alison-Madueke claimed she attended Howard University between 1983 and 1987 for a five-year professional degree in architecture, a statement her publicist repeated in a press release after she was reappointed minister early this month.



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