Ejikeme: ASUU, ex minister, others call for thorough investigation

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Amidst the ongoing controversy surrounding the 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) result of Mmesoma Ejikeme, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has called for the establishment of a ‘Common Committee’ to address and resolve the matter. This suggestion comes as the issue continues to spark reactions and discussions throughout the country.

In a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday, Prof. Osodeke emphasized the importance of a thorough investigation into the situation. The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) took action against Mmesoma Ejikeme’s UTME result, citing alleged manipulation of her scores, and subsequently withdrew her scores.

As the nation closely follows this development, there is a growing need for transparency and fairness in the examination system. Prof. Osodeke’s proposal for a ‘Common Committee’ seems to be a step towards addressing the concerns and ensuring that the process is just and reliable. Such a committee could potentially comprise representatives from educational institutions, examination boards, and other relevant stakeholders, working collaboratively to examine the evidence and arrive at a fair resolution.

The situation has raised broader questions about the integrity and security of the examination process, necessitating the collective efforts of all parties involved to safeguard the credibility of the UTME results. As the discussions unfold, it is essential to strike a balance between maintaining the high standards of academic integrity and ensuring that no genuine student’s future is unjustly jeopardized by erroneous actions or technical glitches.

In the coming days, more details are expected to emerge about the nature of the alleged score manipulation and the steps that will be taken to address the issue. The public, including students, parents, and educators, eagerly await the formation of the ‘Common Committee’ and its subsequent findings and recommendations. For now, the focus remains on finding a just and equitable resolution for Mmesoma Ejikeme’s UTME result and upholding the credibility of Nigeria’s educational evaluation systems.

Dr. Fabian Benjamin, the Head of Public Affairs and Protocol at JAMB, released a statement addressing the controversy surrounding Miss Ejikeme’s UTME result. According to the statement, Miss Ejikeme claimed to have scored 362 in the 2023 UTME, which earned her a N3 million scholarship and recognition from the Anambra State Government. However, JAMB discovered that she actually scored 249, and the result she was presenting had been manipulated.

Mr. Benjamin further explained that some candidates were falsifying their scores in an attempt to gain unfair advantages. In response, Miss Ejikeme released a new viral video on Monday, denying any manipulation on her part and suggesting that there may have been a technical malfunction in JAMB’s system. She presented what she claimed to be an original printout from the board’s portal, and her father also vouched for her innocence.

Despite Miss Ejikeme’s video, JAMB reiterated that the UTME result she was parading was unequivocally fake and subsequently banned her from sitting for JAMB examinations for the next three years.

Commenting on the issue, the President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, emphasized the importance of a “common committee” to impartially investigate and uncover the truth behind the conflicting claims. He urged the public to refrain from rushing to conclusions and avoid unfairly maligning anyone until a thorough investigation is conducted.

Prof. Osodeke’s call for a proper investigation highlights the need for transparency and the pursuit of truth in resolving the controversy. It is essential to ascertain the facts and uncover any potential system failures or manipulations that may have occurred. Only through a comprehensive investigation can a fair and just conclusion be reached, ensuring that the credibility and integrity of the examination process are upheld.

The ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, expressed his stance on the ongoing controversy, emphasizing the need for a cautious and patient approach. He believed that it was premature to make definitive judgments without a clear understanding of the situation, considering that both JAMB and the candidate were presenting conflicting claims.

Prof. Osodeke advised Nigerians to refrain from hastily drawing conclusions and instead advocated for the establishment of a common committee. This committee, comprising representatives from the Federal Government (as the owner of JAMB) and the Anambra State Government (the candidate’s home state), would conduct an independent and thorough investigation into the matter.

The ASUU President emphasized the importance of determining the truth through an impartial investigation. He called for patience and urged all parties involved to await the central report from the committee before forming definitive opinions. By conducting a comprehensive investigation, the committee would be able to shed light on the situation and provide clarity.

Furthermore, Prof. Osodeke suggested that JAMB should focus on its core mandate of conducting examinations and setting benchmarks. He proposed that the board should limit its involvement to conducting examinations and forwarding the results of candidates to the respective institutions of higher learning. By doing so, JAMB could potentially avoid finding itself in similar situations in the future.

The ASUU President’s statements underscored the importance of maintaining the integrity and transparency of the examination process. He highlighted the need for clear demarcation of responsibilities and the avoidance of potential conflicts of interest. By adhering to their core functions, examination bodies can ensure a fair and credible system that upholds the trust of students and stakeholders in the education sector.

Prof. Osodeke reiterated the need for JAMB to define its boundaries and focus on its core responsibilities. He emphasized that universities should have the autonomy to conduct admissions based on the results provided by JAMB. This approach would allow universities to make independent decisions on admissions, rather than relying solely on JAMB’s recommendations.

Prof. Bola Oboh, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics and Research) of the University of Lagos, expressed concern over the unfolding drama and called for a thorough investigation. She found it alarming that such manipulations could occur and stressed the importance of addressing the issue comprehensively. Prof. Oboh also highlighted the need for universities to be vigilant in their screening processes and ensure the integrity of the candidates they admit.

Prof. Chinwe Obaji, a former Minister of Education, shared her view that the situation was disturbing and suggested that JAMB’s position on the matter might be justified based on past experiences. She acknowledged that with advancements in technology and artificial intelligence, various possibilities exist. Prof. Obaji expressed confidence in JAMB’s systems and software, designed to authenticate and protect candidates’ results. She questioned the motives behind the Commissioner of Education of the candidate’s home state reaching out to JAMB for result authentication just before the state government planned to honor her. Prof. Obaji emphasized the need to unravel what went wrong and cautioned against the misuse of technology and artificial intelligence.

These statements from academic professionals underscore the significance of conducting a thorough investigation to ascertain the truth behind the controversy. They raise concerns about the potential for result manipulation, the importance of universities’ screening processes, and the need to uphold the integrity of examination systems. The opinions reflect a desire for transparency, accountability, and fair practices in the education sector.

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