Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) prospective candidates in the North-East on Saturday expressed concern over the slow pace of registration process, saying most of them might miss out if the situation did not improve.
They spoke in Damaturu, Bauchi, Gombe, Dutse and Yola that they had been facing series of challenges since registration commenced two weeks ago.
They said they were worried that with only 30 days earmarked for the exercise and the threat by the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) not to extend the days, there was the possibility of a lot of candidates missing the examination.
Ali Musa, a candidate in Damaturu, said many of them experienced system failure and could not complete their registration.
Another candidate, Halima Sani, said her ordeal started with the banks and the poor feedback from the system.
“The banks open by 9.00a.m and it takes long before you finish with them because of the volume of customers.
”We also face some challenges at the Yobe State University registration centre.
“Many of us are yet to complete the exercise because of poor system and feedback from the JAMB portal” Halima said.
Some parents interviewed called for reversal of the registration process to the old system, just as others called for extension of the deadline.
One of the parents, Babale Audu, said one of the challenges faced was the rejection of pin numbers by the JAMB portal after payment of the registration fee.
“My daughter was the first to create her profile at the Yobe State University centre in Damaturu but after paying the registration fee at the Union Bank and acquired a pin number, the JAMB portal failed to verify the pin for her to commence registration proper.
“Many other candidates encountered the same problem and had been asked to await the response of JAMB after complaints had been lodged.
“This is the second week of registration now and they are still awaiting the response; time is fast running out and they may likely miss the mock JAMB coming up on April 8, which is very important.
“Worse still, there is the prospect of their missing the JAMB proper itself if care is not taken,” he lamented.
Candidates in Bauchi also described the registration process as being “too cumbersome and frustrating.
One of them, Istifanus Emmanuel, said it took him many days to create his profile at a business centre, and another two days to make payment in the bank to obtain pin number.
Miss Helen Bale, another candidate, said that she had piled up stress since the commencement of the registration.
“The process is very stressful; there are a lot of people who want to write the examination; you can see the crowd in the queue,” she said at the banking hall of Jaiz, one of the banks collecting payment for registration.
Mr Raphael Ola, operator of a business centre in Bauchi, said they attended to an average of 20 prospective candidates daily, creating profile at the cost of N300 per person.
He said that because of the stress involved as a result of poor network service, the cost was raised to N500.
“We register an average of 20 people, depending on the network. If the network is fast, the work is quicker, but if it is slow, it will be delayed.
“Today, the network is bad so I spend longer time waiting to get approval from JAMB to create each profile,” he said.
In Gombe, candidates and business centre operators are also lamenting the registration process.
A candidate, Emmanuel Aniebola, said that the process was not only cumbersome and stressful, but also difficult to follow without encountering any hiccup.
“After experiencing stress in the café’ creating profile, you go to the bank to join unending queues for payment and generation of pin numbers.
“Sometimes, poor network makes it difficult to access the JAMB portal and your fate remains in the balance,” he said.
Another candidate, Mrs Queen Daniel, said she had spent six days trying to create her profile, which was just the preliminary stage of the registration process.
She called on the authorities concerned to rectify the problem to enable them complete on time.
Malam Abdullahi Muhammad, operator of a business centre in Gombe, told NAN that they were facing challenges of poor network in trying to access the JAMB portal.
He said they were able to register less than 200 prospective candidates since the commencement of the exercise two weeks ago.
He advised JAMB to upgrade its portal to enable the fast-tracking of the process, as well as reduce the hardship faced.
Meanwhile, apart from complaining about the slow process, candidates in Dutse said registration centres in the state were very few.
A candidate, Nura Muhammad, said that because of the dearth of the centres, registration was very cumbersome.
“You have to leave your house very early in the morning to the center just for creation of profile and there is no guarantee of getting it completed that same day,” said Mohammed.
Another candidate, Tanko Musa, said he spent almost three days before he was able to create his profile.
On his part, Ibrahim Mohammed complained of exploitation by operators of cafe’, adding that they (operators) were taking undue advantage of the situation to raise their charges arbitrarily.
In Yola, the major challenge is poor internet services, according to some candidates.
Usman Munkaila , a candidate, said that for the past seven days, he had been ‘struggling’ to get registered, without success.
Another candiate, Charity Bukar, from Numan Local Government area, described the new registration process as “punitive”.
Bukar said she started the registration process seven days ago but could not make any headway due to poor network.
They both called on the authorities concerned to review the process to ease things.
In his reaction, Malam Buba Gashuwa, JAMB coordinator in Adamawa, confirmed the challenge of poor internet service in the five registration centres in the state.
“We have enough personal, registration equipment and security operatives to control the crowd; the major challenge is poor internet network, which is seriously delaying and affecting the entire exercise in the state,” he said.