Kemi Adeosun (born 9 March 1967) is a UK-born Nigerian finance expert best known as Nigeria’s former Finance Minister and former chairman of the Board of African Export-Import Bank.
Nigeria has seen only three women occupying the office of the finance minister – from Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to Kemi Adeosun and then Zainab Ahmed. The most controversial of the three is Kemi Adeosun, who took over in 2015 and was dismissed in September 2018 on the platter of various political controversies.
Despite serving as a senior cabinet official in the Nigerian Federal Executive Council, many don’t know much about the UK-born Nigerian. Here’s a detailed account of Kemi Adeosun’s biography.
Kemi Adeosun Hails from Ogun State, South-West Nigeria
The former Nigerian minister was born on March 9, 1967, in London, but she originally hails from Ogun state. She was born to her father, a civil engineer who is an Ogun State indigene. Details about her mother and the rest of her family members are not available, but it is said that she is the third of four children. One of her brothers, Dele Ogun, is a lawyer.
Academic-wise, the Uk-born former minister holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Economics from the University of East London – a public university located in the London Borough of Newham, London, England. Kemi also obtained her Postgraduate Diploma in Public Sector Financial Management from the University of London (School of Oriental and African Studies) before she attended various Executive Management Programmes for he professional career.
This includes courses in Strategic Leadership at the prestigious Wharton Business School and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), where she qualified as a Chartered Accountant. She is also a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), with over 22 years of post-qualification experience.
As a Seasoned Chartered Accountant, Kemi Worked with Many Financial Institutions
While it is not clear when Kemi completed her degree and Postgraduate Diploma, the seasoned financial professional worked with several institutions with her expertise spanning Investment Banking, Audit, Risk, Pensions Administration, Public Sector Financial Management, and Management Consultancy. Apparently, she got her first job at British Telecom Lonon, where she worked as an accounting assistant from 1989–1990.
Leaving the British Telcom, she got a job as a senior audit officer with Goodman Jones, London, where she worked for three years (1990 – 1993). In 1994, she joined London Underground, London, and Prism Consulting, and until 2000, she held the office of Manager of Internal Audit. By 2000, she moved to PricewaterhouseCoopers, London, as a Senior Manager.
After a two-year service with the multinational professional services network of firms, Kemi Adeosun returned to Nigeria to join the Chapel Hill Denham group in 2002 as its Financial Controller. She rose to become the company’s Managing Director until her resignation in 2010 to start her consultancy firm – The Quo Vadis Partnership.
Kemi Adeosun’s Career Highlights
|British Telecom London
|1989 – 1990
|Goodman Jones, London
|Senior audit officer
|1990 – 1993
|London Underground, London, and Prism Consulting
|Manager of Internal Audit
|1994 – 2000
|2000 – 2002
|Chapel Hill Denham Management
|Quo Vadis Partnership
|2010 – 2011
A Look at Kemi’s Political Appointments
Aside from her illustrious career with various internationally-recognized companies, Kemi also explored her expertise through some politically-appointed positions. Her first political appointment was apparently as a Commissioner for Finance in Ogun State from 2011–2015. Becoming the first woman to hold that political sit, Kemi was a key part of Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s Mission to Rebuild, which turned around the economic fortunes of her State.
As the commissioner of her state, Kemi Adeosun was applauded for her contribution to the aggressive growth of the state’s Internally Generated Revenue by over 500%. She also received credits for culminating significant fund recovery, reducing borrowing costs, and pioneering the introduction of the Centralized Treasury System (Treasury Single Account) in Ogun State in 2011.
Kemi was also instrumental in the campaign for Residency Rule, which saw over 100,000 taxpayers working outside the State remitting their taxes to Ogun State rather than the State of their employment. In addition to that, she was a key part of the Homeowner’s Charter Project, which attracted over 200,000 applicants, increased IGR, and supported the State’s Urban Renewal Initiatives. While she was busy redirecting her state’s economy, little did she know her career would blossom to the peak with a federal appointment.
She was Appointed Nigeria’s 23rd Finance Minister in 2015
Following the emergence of Mohammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s new President in 2015, Kemi became one of his new political appointees. She was appointed the Honourable Minister of Finance (FMoF), Nigeria, in November 2015. Her appointment came almost five months after Buhari took over, and she was sworn in alongside dozens of other ministerial appointees.
As one who is occupying a seat pivotal to the realization of the country’s economic agenda, Kemi was in charge of the fiscal policy and providing direction for the economy. Pat of her key responsibilities was to liaise with the monetary policy authority, like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and other agencies like the Debt Management Office (DMO), to build economic structures that would ensure the nation’s financial system was stable and growing. However, her appointment was terminated three years after (September 14, 2018) following a controversy involving her NYSC certificate.
Before she resigned, the minister massively impacted Nigerian financial and economic growth. She deployed her experience to initiate policies, mobilize and steer the nation’s economy out of its troubled state. One of her significant achievements was creating the Efficiency Unit in the finance ministry to ensure all government expenditures receive their value for money by reviewing all non-wage-related overhead expenditures, including travel costs, entertainment, events, printing, IT consumables, and stationeries. This reportedly saw the country saving an estimated N34 billion in Travel and Transport alone in 2017.
Her other key achievements include:
- Introduction of Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) that helped to raise the number of taxpayers from 13 million in 2015 to 19.3 million in 2018;
- Full implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) that saw the Nigerian Government saving up to N7 TRILLION in 2018 as against N103 billion between 2010 and 2013.
- The establishment of the Development Bank of Nigeria to alleviate financing constraints faced by MSMEs and small Corporates in Nigeria.
- The introduction of the Whistleblower Policy that led to the recovery of N14 billion, with N440 million being paid out to 14 people as a result.
- Linking the BVN to the government IPPIS Payroll System. This saw the uncovering of nearly 50,000 public servants collecting multiple salaries.
- She facilitated the creation of the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit ((PICA)), which ironically exposed many people with fake degree certificates.
- She instituted the Asset Tracking and Management Project/ Central Asset Register that would help the government to w2locate, identify, assess and evaluate all its movable and immovable assets.
- Settlement of outstanding workers’ pension, liabilities, debts through various cost-cutting measures
- Under her watch, Nigeria was pulled out of recession after it last plunged into such a state during the Babangida military regime.
Amid a strong passion for her country’s economic growth, Kemi also exhibited a passion for women’s financial empowerment. This was one of the key subjects on which she writes and speaks extensively. In July 2018, she was elected as chairperson of the board of directors of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). Kemi was indeed blessed with resounding oratory prowess and skills that would quickly turn the economy of any state or institution around. She ran the country’s finance with much finesse and Midas touch.
Who Is Kemi Adeosun’s Husband?
Kemi is married to Niyi Adeosun, who is a consultant and has other businesses in Nigeria. The former minister got married to Niyi in London in the 1980s and had since enjoyed a blissful union. Although Niyi isn’t as popular as his wife, he is instrumental in her successful career life. Niyi Adeosun has never been a public person, but together with his wife, he led a very successful career.
Although details of his professional career are not available, it is said that he worked as a banker and sometimes worked with his wife on several projects back in the United Kingdom, before he later got into some business in Nigeria and, thus, he began to shuffle between the UK and Nigeria and by 2002, he was already spending more time in Lagos keeping his business together. At this point, Kemi decided to move back to Nigeria. They settled in Lagos and kept on working on marketing consulting. Reports also have it that while Kemi is busy with her political appointments, her husband decided to retire home to take care of the family.
Some rumors made rounds in 2015 alleging that Kemi’s husband Niyi Adeosun was an alcoholic but eventually quit the bottles after his wife was appointed Minister of Finance. Niyi, in a radio interview, reportedly confessed that many paparazzi started snooping on his life. Various news channels also wrote that Niyi Adeosun made an excellent career of capitalizing on doubtful opportunities made by his beloved wife – Kemi Adeosun.
It is unclear what business the former minister’s husband is into, but one thing is sure – he is doing his best to keep off the media or any political affairs of the country. If not in London, Niyi will reportedly be found at the Ikoyi club playing squash. His wife Kemi refers to him as her personal genie who illumines her world with the bliss and charm of a fairy god.
Kemi and Her Husband Have Three Children
Kemi and her husband, Niyi, are blessed with three children. Although we are not certain what gender variation they are as information about them is well hidden away from the public, it is believed that they are all grown-ups and are busy leading their successful lives in their career and profession. They could also be shuffling between Nigeria and the UK as their parents live most of their lives there.
Controversies Involving Kemi Adeosun
Kemi was involved in a forgery scandal that eventually swept her off her political appointment. This came after an investigative report by Premium Times showed she presented a forged National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) exemption certificate to enable her to get a political appointment in Nigeria. The report was followed by a statement of confirmation from the NYSC Director of Press that the former minister did legitimately submit a request for an exemption certificate.
While reacting to the report, many requested her immediate resignation. As one who occupies a most sensitive position as Minister of Finance in which trust is an essential watchword. Kemi could not afford to be found wanting in character and trustworthiness, and so on September 14, 2018, the UK-born former minister tendered her resignation letter to the President, admitting that she used a forged NYSC certificate to be appointed minister.
Meanwhile, to put her case to rest, the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court declared that even though her NYSC discharge certificate was forged, she did not need it to take up a ministerial appointment in the country as Nigeria’s constitution does not require her to present a first-degree certificate or any other certificate, including the NYSC certificate before she could be appointed as a minister.
Where is Kemi Adeosun Now?
Kemi officially vacated her office on September 14, 2018, and since then, her whereabouts have remained a mystery. Even after joining the All Progressives Congress (APC) on May 5, 2018, she has also tried to keep herself away from politics in Nigeria. Meanwhile, sources close to her revealed that she left Nigeria a day after her resignation. Some other sources revealed that the former finance minister has, since leaving office, been shuttling between Nigeria and other African countries, Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America (USA).
It is believed that she is busy with her one-year-long position as chairperson of the board of directors of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). Her once active social media pages have remained obsolete since her resignation. She perhaps needed the hiatus from public consciousness and media space to brace herself though the NYSC certificate saga affected her.