A High Court in Abuja has ruled that graduates who did not participate in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme are qualified to run for the governorship election.
Justice M.A Mohammed gave the ruling in a pre-election suit filed by Senator Iyabo Anisulowo, challenging the eligibility of Ogun state governor, Dapo Abiodun, contesting the state governorship election.
Abiodun in his CFOO1 form submitted to INEC last year indicated he did not have NYSC discharge certificate. Abiodun did not participate in the compulsory NYSC program, even though he finished his first degree in 1986.
Anisulowo had asked the court to disqualify Abiodun as the APC governorship candidate since he failed to participate in the mandatory NYSC scheme.
At the hearing of the case yesterday June 26th, Wale Ajayi, the governor’s counsel, requested that the court set aside the case, since it was never stated that the participation in the NYSC scheme was a criterion to hold public office.
Delivering judgment, Justice Mohammed held that the NYSC Act does not make provision for the disqualification of a candidate who failed to participate in its scheme. He said that a candidate can only be disqualified under Section 177 of the constitution which states that
“a person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a State if:
(a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
(b) he has attained the age of thirty-five years;
(c) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party; and
(d) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.”