Maduka University

May 29: Enugu’s Peter Mbah sailing above the storm

In the face of the raging NYSC discharge certificate saga, one man has remained unruffled.
He has remained focused; and has continuously pointed towards one direction.
Ironically, that’s the same man who should be the most worried.
On the contrary, the incoming governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah has exuded so much confidence that even his detractors are becoming worried.
Speaking with EverydayNews recently, a Professor who would not want his name in print insisted that only one thing could give a man such confidence under the circumstance.
“That man must be on the side of truth. He must be sure of what he is saying. Only the guilty is afraid,” he posited.
Yes, Mbah has been in the eye of the storm not for his Law Certificate from the University of East London, no one is quarrelling with that.
Nobody has also challenged his Masters Degree in Maritime and Commercial Law, from the Lagos State University.
His primary assignment at the Udeh and Associates Law Chambers in Lagos has also not been an issue.
His correspondence with the NYSC in the course of his youths service are evidences that have not been controverted.
And for the fact that ‘this is Nigeria,’ where anything is possible, a N20bn suit has been slammed on NYSC, for the records to be put in proper perspective.
If one ever had doubts about the NYSC issue, 5 minutes with Mbah, you will  understand why he is unshaken even after the NYSC DG’s pronouncement on Television.
In a minute or two, he effortlessly runs down his NYSC experience and how it all happened. How he was permitted to go to the Law School and all that.
The next moment the governor elect returns to Enugu and his campaign promises to the people.
As he discourses his plans for Enugu, the promise of water in 180 days and how far he has gone in ordering materials for the project, one would not help but appreciate that this is what occupies the mind of the new Enugu Governor.
Excerpts of Mbah’s NYSC story
NYSC is not an event you walk into and at the end of that event you’re issued a certificate. It is a process. So, it is either you did it or you didn’t do it. And of course, if you’ve done it, there are people you must have done it with; people who must exist somewhere.
You could have pictures or maybe even if you’re not so careful to put those things together, somebody somewhere can come out and say I know this guy, we did our primary assignment together or we were in the same Community Development Service (CDS) group.
The truth is that I did my service and I was honorably discharged. I was also issued a certificate by the NYSC.
I did my LLB in the United Kingdom and typically once you are a graduate of Law from overseas, when you’re back to Nigeria, you do what is known as Bar Part One. At the end of it, you join Nigerian students to do the Bar Part Two or the Bar Final as we call it. So, I started my Bar Part One and we were just completing it, when the Bar Part Two students were going in, so we did not end on time to join them. What that meant was that we had to stay back at home and wait till the next Nigerian students were ready to go for their Bar Part Two because we cannot go exclusively as Bar Part One to start our own programme.
I did my Bar Part One at the Lagos Campus of the Nigerian Law School. The DG then of the Lagos Campus was Prof. Abayomi of blessed memory. He advised us that instead of staying back at home till the next set of Nigerian students were ready for Bar Part Two, we should go and do our youth service.
Of course, some of us took that advice. Now, midway into the service, the Bar Part Two of Nigerian students were now ready and, so, we were told that our admission was ready for the Bar Part Two programme. Of course, at that time, I had a choice. I had a choice to either defer the admission or defer the youth service.

For me, I was more interested in seniority at the Bar. So, it was a clear choice to defer the youth service. I served in Lagos and the place of my primary assignment was on Lagos Island. My CDS group was in the Federal Road Safety Corps. So, when the issue of Bar Part Two admission came up, I wrote to NYSC that I wanted to defer my service and they responded, saying if you are going to defer your service, we are going to remobilise you at the end of your Law School programme and I also attached my admission for the Law School, saying upon completion of my Bar final exams, I will come back to complete my service and it was approved.

My NYSC started sometime in January and it ran till June, when I wrote to the NYSC that I was leaving for my Bar Final and they approved it sometime in August that I should go. I did my Bar Final exam in March and immediately after that went to NYSC to ask for remobilisation as that was what they said. I wrote that I should be remobilised and they sent a letter to me, approving that they have reinstated me to continue from where I stopped. Note that I had requested for remobilisation and what that means is that I would have started afresh but they sent back their report, saying “let the corps member start from where he stopped.”

So, they gave me a fresh posting letter. By the way, my first posting letter was to Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), but NPA rejected me and I was then given a second posting letter. My first posting letter was on January 28, 2002. My second posting was on March 5 and I went to a Law firm, Ude and Associates and started my primary assignment there. When I broke my service year and came back, I applied for remobilisation and they reinstated me. They sent me another posting letter and this was on May 2003. Don’t forget that by then, my batch had passed out.

Members of my batch passed out in January 2003 and they sent me the second posting letter on May 26.  So, my probable date of discharge was five months after, September 9, 2003, taking into account the previous months I have done. Of course, I continued my service and at the end, I had a final clearance letter from my place of primary assignment, confirming that I have done all the things I needed to do and should be given my discharge certificate and the discharge certificate was issued to me by the NYSC.


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