By Jude Ndukwe
The just concluded examinations (UTME) conducted by JAMB on prospective candidates into universities has unfortunately become another tool in the hands of federal institutions under the APC administration to continue to attempt to humiliate Ndigbo in every area of their success in order to futilely make them appear as villains rather than as the victims of a jaundiced system maturing into a malignant cancerous entity.
Like an already well rehearsed script, no sooner had the exams ended than JAMB came up with a wild and ludicrous claim that more than 10,000 candidates were caught in exam malpractices in Anambra State, one of the nation’s leading lights and foremost fulcrum of the nation’s academic excellence.
It is obvious that since stars of external exams have emerged from the south east on a consistent basis in recent times, the common enemies of Ndigbo would, as usual, devise means of reducing the sterling performances of Igbo sons and daughters to malpractices in order to deny them their deserved accolades and right to higher education. Rather than follow the popular old saying that when you can’t beat them, you join them, these traducers of our people would rather attempt to destroy them.
It is the same script that is playing out in the Ifeanyi Ubah saga. While he is being hounded for a purely transactional/trade dispute, those from other regions of the country earlier indicted in the oil subsidy saga are traversing the length and breadth of our nation like untouchable colossal capitalists.
It is generally the same fate for every Igbo man and woman who either excels in particular fields in this country or who dare to question the criminal lopsidedness of governance.
While Fulani terrorist herdsmen are having a field day turning villages and communities to graveyards with their relentless onslaught on innocent and defenceless citizens, it is Nnamdi Kanu and his comrades who have never hurt a fly that are brutalized, traumatised and wrongly tagged felons by the State.
The same measure has been applied to Ibeto Cement and other Igbo-owned enterprises, yet, the Igbo keep excelling to the utter consternation of riff raffs parading themselves as hegemonists.
Back to the JAMB issue which is the crux of this piece.
How could JAMB have so flagrantly claimed it caught about 10,000 students in Anambra alone cheating at the examinations and handed them over to the authorities?
There are many questions begging for answers here.
Who caught the “cheats” in such a large number and handed them over to “appropriate authority”? What is the definition of, or who are the “appropriate authority”? Let us even suppose that the appropriate authority is the police, which police station(s) have facilities to hold up to 10,000 suspects at once? Even famous stadiums like the Onikan stadium, Katsina stadium, Minna Township stadium, Sardauna Memorial stadium, Uyo Township stadium etc can only hold 5,000 people each at a time. We still await evidence to this obvious lie!
Unfortunately, while the Anambra announcement was released so much in a hurry in a bid to crucify Igbo sons and daughters and consequently deny them admission to universities, a more considered statement was released by the same JAMB 24 hours after where it said it would watch CCTV cameras to know centres where cheating took place and those involved.
If JAMB would need to watch the cameras to ascertain those involved in malpractices before taking appropriate action, why did it not wait to do that before declaring Anambra State candidates guilty en masse? Or is it only CCTV from Anambra centres that would be watched and reviewed? We are watching the watchers and we are reviewing the reviewers. Time shall tell!
Another contradiction that has got men and women of goodwill worried is that in the same statement where JAMB declared that it caught 10,000 candidates allegedly involved in exam malpractices in Anambra State, it turned around to say that the conduct of the exam in the state was “successful” and that “There was no disruption of the exercise in any of the examination centres”.
If Jamb was sincere, how could they tell us that the arrest of a massive 10,000 candidates did not in any way cause disruption of even the tiniest magnitude of the exercise in the state?
The said statement also remarked that the candidates “adhered strictly to the requirements of the examination”. If the candidates did adhere strictly to the requirements of the examination, then, where did the 10,000 “cheats” come from? Something is obviously fishy here!
From the foregoing, I have no doubt in my mind that JAMB seems to have allowed itself to be dragged into the politics of subjugation of the south east in every sector of our nation by the current administration of Buhari and APC!
However, I have good news for them and their sponsors, their time is up, and up for good. No longer will we allow such evil machinations against the Igbo to go unaddressed. The attempt to continue to subjugate our people and malign our sons and daughters for selfish political reasons can no longer work or be tolerated.
Even the NAN correspondent who covered conduct of the exam in Anambra seems oblivious of the “Exam malpractice” development as the only development independently reported by NAN was the monumental failure of JAMB under Prof Ishaq Oloyede to conduct a hitch-free exam.
Apart from the gross incompetence of JAMB which came to the fore under Oloyede in the avoidable hitches faced by students right from the registration processes through to writing the exam proper, parents complained that their children/ward were fleeced by those the examination body engaged as agents in the registration process.
This development so infuriated the ASUU Chairman, University of Ibadan branch, Dr Deji Omole, who lamented the development thus: “How can we ensure that the candidates prepare well for the exams when they spend weeks waiting for Personal Identification Number and are at the mercy of registration officers who force them to go to cybercafe where they have arrangements to first create their profile before they can have their PIN?”
As if that was not enough, this same Oloyede cancelled JAMB’s own organized mock exam for candidates on the same day (Saturday, April 8) that the exam was to hold long after the candidates had arrived at their respective centres for it. The candidates were not told that the examination had been cancelled until after about 2.00pm that day, leaving them infuriated and wondered why such an institution basking in past glory would not inform them of such a cancellation earlier until the day the exam was to take place.
We also are aware of how many times this same Oloyede-led JAMB has postponed their exams due to their lack of planning and ill-preparedness, all of which became obvious on the day of the UTME proper.
Rather than hide under the convenient garb of a phantom arrest of 10,000 candidates in Anambra for malpractices, one is compelled to advise Oloyede to sit down and put on his thinking cap if he has any at all and do the right thing or resign, than allow JAMB to be used to emasculate, malign and tarnish the towering image of Ndigbo in academics and other areas of endeavour just to satisfy the primordial desires of his employers.
For the avoidance of doubt, Ndigbo will not succumb to this blackmail and attempt to deny our sons and daughters opportunities of higher education in order to make space for the largely illiterate north to take their spaces in the universities. They should make do with their shamelessly and ridiculously low cut off points already conceded to them to gain admission. Cutting back the Igbo quota any further through the backdoor will not be accepted!