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HomeGeneral NewsThe Mmesoma Ejikeme and Jamb Debacle

The Mmesoma Ejikeme and Jamb Debacle

The misadventure of Miss Mmesoma Joy Ejikeme by forging her Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) scores in the 2023 examination has thrown up the issue of fraud that attempt to contaminate the integrity and credibility of the well respected and highly regarded external examination body. The JAMB examination, designed to measure the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) of students through aptitude tests in speed and accuracy had been the ultimate test for Nigerian students who complete the six year secondary school education. Candidates with outstanding results line up for admission on merit for choice courses like Medicine & Surgery, Engineering, Law and other professional courses.

Mmesoma, a young girl of about 19years of age, in a fraudulent manner, scored herself 362, earned celebrity status, especially on social media and a scholarship.

The issue created suspense across the country for almost three weeks. But to the relief of Nigerians, a probe panel set up by the Anambra State Government revealed the truth about the issue. The panel said, “JAMB revealed the different times that Ejikeme Joy Mmesoma made several requests to JAMB portal asking for her result at different hours, and each of these times (four in number), she received in her phone, same results from JAMB indicating candidate’s UTME Results to wit: Eng: 64, Phy: 54, Bio: 74, Che: 57 with a total aggregate score of 249. JAMB disclosed that the candidate was well informed of her correct score from JAMB.

Miss Mmesoma has admitted to the fraud, and asked to be forgiven, but her 249 score, a good score on its merit, has already been withdrawn and she has been barred from sitting for JAMB for three years. A punishment which is rather mild considering the magnitude of the crime committed.

The debate about Mmesoma’s case revealed to Nigerians that ‘upgrading’ of JAMB results, also referred to as ‘boosting JAMB results’ had been in practice in the dark underworld of examination malpractices. It further compelled the Registrar JAMB, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, to come out of his shell to tell the world that the body, working with security agencies, had been secretly apprehending candidates and forgery syndicates who ‘upgraded’ JAMB results. Those caught were like Mmesoma who foolishly confronted JAMB with their forged results, claiming that JAMB had two separate results for them. According to the examination body, one of the software that enables the fraud is called ‘JAMB Fake Result for Fun’.

Perhaps the interest generated by Mmesoma’s fake result could equal the examination malpractices scandal in 1977, dubbed ‘Expo 77’, the title of a novel written by the late Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike, a former Registrar of West Afican Examination Council (WAEC). The difference is that in the case of Expo’77 there was a leakage of WAEC question papers that led to widespread malpractices in many centres.

The recent incident created a similar tension, causing the Department of State Security to rise to its feet, for JAMB to publicly defend the integrity of its operations and for the House of Representatives to set up a probe panel. Even though the position of the House of Representatives was rather hasty as it should have conducted a thorough investigation before asking JAMB to withdraw a sanction that it gave to a student for violating its provisions. It must be stated that JAMB is a creation of the law and acted in accordance with its powers to administer the exam and sanction any malpractices relating to it and that cannot be treated lightly.

Worse still was the war of words the fraud generated along Nigeria’s ethnicity fault-lines.

It is unfortunate that delinquents will put the integrity of an exam body like JAMB and that of its leadership into question without sound evidence. And we commend JAMB for coming clean on this controversy in a manner that has reinforced the confidence of the people in the credibility of the institution.

We also commend the Anambra State Government for shunning the raging ethnic sentiment, by disspationately probing the fraud and revealing the truth about the young girl’s misadventure. Also while we encourage philanthropists, like Chief Innocent Chukwuma of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company, to continue to encourage academic excellence by awarding scholarships to outstanding students, we advise that such awards should not be based on social media announcements. Claims of outstanding performances must be verified from examination bodies or institutions involved in the conduct of such examinations.

It is indeed unfortunate that the issue took an ethnic tone, especially by some Nigerians of igbo extraction and all those who toed that line should bury their heads in shame. Crime should not be condoned by anyone, else we destroy the very fabric that holds the society together. As a country, we must try to pull back from ethnicising everything otherwise we will be doomed.

Furthermore, the Mmesoma saga shows the length students go to score high marks in examinations, first to please their parents, secondly to gain admission to study choice courses in our tertiary institutions and lately, to gain attention on social media. But they must realise that hardwork is the only way to success. Any other way can only be temporary as sooner or later it will be uncovered, as has happened in this case.

Culled from Daily Trust Editorial.    

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