Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
A two-term member of the Benue State House of Assembly, Joseph Ojobo, has substituted his university degree for his West African Examinations Council certificate.
Ojobo said he decided to submit his WAEC certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission in order to avoid the needless controversy surrounding his university degree.
The Peoples Democratic Party member was in 2011 enmeshed in a scandal after it was discovered that he completed his National Youth Service Corps programme before graduating from the University of Jos.
According to Ojobo’s NYSC certificate obtained by The PUNCH, the lawmaker, with NYSC number FCT/Jos/95/58639, served from November 14, 1995 to November 13, 1996.
However, his UNIJOS’ certificate shows that he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management (Third Class Honours) on March 20, 1997.
In a letter signed by the school’s Registrar, Jilli Dandam, the university admitted that Ojobo was a student of UNIJOS but he did not graduate with his mates because he failed some courses and thus remained in school for an extra academic year.
The school added, “As regards his service year, the University of Jos does not allow students with carry-over courses to proceed on NYSC. How he (Ojobo) obtained his call-up letter and proceeded on NYSC is not very clear.
“However, he is in a better position to explain how he obtained his NYSC call-up letter without presenting a testimonial.”
Speaking with our correspondent on Saturday, however, the lawmaker said his opponents were behind his travails.
Ojobo, who is now a senatorial candidate, said it appeared as if he completed his NYSC before graduation because there was a prolonged strike which altered the school calendar.
He said, “I submitted the university and NYSC documents in 2011 when I was running for the House of AssemblY
“The person I defeated took me to court but I won. I graduated from the University of Jos in 1995 and I was given a testimonial.
“Our list was sent but there was a prolonged ASUU strike and we all had an extra year. The school had already mobilised us for the NYSC but we were recalled to come and do an outstanding course.
“NYSC started November 1996 and it was in February 1996 that we were all recalled to do the outstanding course.
“My name then came out a second time for NYSC in 1997. That is the cause of the discrepancy. In my second coming and in my Senate bid, I didn’t bother to attach my University of Jos certificate because of this controversy.”