By Chinyere Nwachukwu
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has expressed satisfaction over the conduct of its 2022 mop-up Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) held in 45 centres across the country on Saturday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the examination was for candidates who could not participate in the examination during the main exercise in May.
This was due to various reasons, including examination malpractice.
The board noted that after every exercise, it reviewed various reports from officials in the field and video footages of the examination.
It said this was normally carried out by a team of experts, with a view to detecting activities subversive of the process.
The board’s Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, told newsmen while monitoring the exercise in Lagos that over 42,000 candidates were participating in the examination in five states.
“Yes, we are here to monitor the conduct of this examination in Lagos.
“After a thorough analysis of the conduct of the 2022 UTME in 10 centres spread across five states of the federation where examination malpractice was established to have taken place, it became necessary to cancel the results of all candidates who sat for the examination in the affected states.
“Other categories of candidates rescheduled for the mop-up UTME are those with finger print peculiarities, BVN failure and technical issues.
“However, the fact that we are bending backward to try to accommodate these categories of candidates is not an indication of failure.
“It is an indication of strength and an indication of the fact that we are aware that we are going to be accountable to God,” the JAMB boss said.
He decried the activities of some centres that were involved in aiding and abetting examination malpractice during the main examination held early in May.
“We have an evidence of what happened in those centres. We had security information on when they were planning it.
“And so, we wanted them to do whatever they wanted and let us see the outcome and also the effect of what they had done on the system.
“But we now discovered that even if those who are planning this malpractice are 80 per cent, what about the 20 per cent innocent children; and that is why we are rewriting this examination,” he explained.
According to the registrar, rewriting the examination has cost the board over N100 million.
He said that the fight against examination malpractice was non-negotiable with the board.
Oloyede said that because of the guilt of the centres involved in the malpractice, the owners had yet to come forward for their payment for the exercise.
“My advice, therefore, for candidates generally, especially those writing this examination here today, is that they have seen for themselves what all of us have made of the country.
“They are free to determine whether they want to continue with this system, or on their own, whether they are eager to create a better tomorrow, and the better tomorrow is not to cheat in the examination.
“They have seen for themselves that cutting corners does not pay, they have seen that they are repeating the examination, though it costs us a lot of money.
“The only short cut to success is hard work,” he said.
On the ongoing strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Professor of Islamic Studies appealed for a way out, so that students could return to the classrooms.
“As far as I am concerned, even if ASUU calls off the strike, that will not prevent it from happening again.
“I believe that what we should do is to look at the system and take some dry hard decisions.
“If we do not take such decisions, then we may be postponing the evil day,” Oloyede said.
Francis David, one of the candidates that sat for the mop-up examination, told NAN that the lingering ASUU strike was another challenge.
He said that he hoped the essence of taking the examination would not be defeated by the prolonged strike.
According to him, the end to the strike does not seem in sight, especially as the country prepares for the 2023 general elections.
“All the attention of the country’s leaders now is on the forthcoming elections.
“This whole issue between the Federal Government and ASUU is demoralising, as it leaves the hope of most of us hanging.
“It is giving us cause for concern, especially as there are other students that are also waiting on the brink already,” he said.
NAN reports that centres visited by the registrar include JKK ETC on Ikorodu Road, the WAEC International Office (WIO) Agidingbi, Ikeja and the WAEC Test and Training Centre (WTTC) Ogba.(NAN)