By Chris Egbuna
TWO Anambra-born candidates came tops in the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, last April. The brilliant top-fliers are Miss Egoagwuagwu Agnes Madufokwa and Master David Okwuchukwu Nwobi.
They scored 365 and 363 to emerge overall first and second respectively among 1.9 million candidates that wrote the examination. The state government has offered a worthy handshake to these youth.
Aside coming from Anambra, we celebrate them as Nigerian youth and leaders of tomorrow. It is delightful that they achieved this feat in the midst of several challenges militating against Nigeria’s socio-economic development. These include lingering infrastructure deficiency in all sectors as well as the debilitating moral decadent adulterating our value system.
Their brilliant performance suggests we have good stories to tell about Nigerian youth – those that remain focused on their education and other life endeavours. Above all, they are products of a refined system that is devoid of corruption and other anomalies, suggesting they are truly worthy ambassadors of their state.
Since 2016, JAMB has been the cynosure of excellence not common among government establishments. This follows frontal attack on the rot that had eaten the fabrics of the 47-year-old institution over the decades by way of examination malpractice and other anomalies.
Before then, the bazaar of indiscipline and corruption had become rampant in the place.They discredited JAMB and dented its reputation to the point that many people and institutions began to lose confidence in the integrity of its examinations.
Besides this outlandish reform, the present leadership of the institution has broken the record of remitting operating surplus of over N7 billion to the Federal Government annually as against about N500 million prior. It demonstrates unusual commitment to prudent deployment of public fund in hard times like this. And many government establishments are reportedly emulating the financial management strategies of JAMB.
The ‘new’ JAMB under the leadership of Prof Ishaq Oloyede as Registrar and Chief Executive has, therefore, created a ray of hope in our lamentable human capital development situation. This is a point the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, IMF, have consistently drawn the attention of our leaders to.
Interestingly, confidence has once again returned to JAMB examinations as candidates that sit for its examinations now face the challenge of honesty, hard work and discipline as against the previous practice of examination fraud that was rampant.
Incidentally, JAMB has prescribed severe punishments for examination centres, candidates and others found wanting in the administration of the examinations. Many accredited examination centres have been de-registered, their owners prosecuted while candidates found involved in examination malpractices are barred from sitting for the Board’s examinations for prescribed number of years. Their names and states of origin are also published in national dailies, so that those who come out in flying colours in JAMB examinations worked for it.
Governor Willie Obiano has expressed great satisfaction over the performance of the two Anambra-born candidates who excelled in the 2020 UTME under the ‘new’ JAMB. According to him, it is evidence of the success the state has recorded in its huge investment in education and other human capital development initiatives.
Anambra has a long list of honour-deserving indigenes in the educational sector over the years. Recently, Prof. Charles Egbu from Abambra State was appointed first Black Vice-Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University, United Kingdom – a development President Muhammadu Buhari described a great honour for Nigeria.
Describing the appointment as a great moment for all Nigerians and the people of Anambra State, Governor Obiano said: “I am in no doubt that Professor Egbu, who hails from Abatete in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, will excel in his new role and consequently market our dear state to the world in a most uncanny way. I have no doubt in my mind that he will not for a moment forget his roots and how he can contribute to our development.”
In August 2018, five girls from Anambra State, representing Nigeria, won the World Technological Innovation challenge in the United States.The Nigerian team emerged top for developing a mobile application called ‘FD Detector’ to tackle the lingering problems of circulation of fake pharmaceutical products in Nigeria.
The group explained that it leveraged technology to produce the device for saving lives through curbing the incessant rate of death caused by fake drugs. About 19,000 girls in 115 countries supported by over 5,000 mentors participated in the competition.
An Anambra school teacher, Rose Obi, emerged winner of the maiden edition of the Maltina Teacher-of-the-Year in 2015. Anambra teachers and schools also excelled at the 2019 Presidents, Teachers and Schools Awards for Excellence in Education organised by the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Education.
Anambra State won prizes in the following categories: best public secondary school in the country, the best secondary school administrator, and for producing both the first and second runners up in the Best Administrator category.
The emergence of the two Anambra-born candidates in this year’s JAMB UTME entrance examinations offers a ray of hope to Nigerian youth who have to make extra efforts to scale through the hurdles that our present situation creates. The steps taken by JAMB to restore sanity in our educational system is equally commendable. It makes success in its examinations meaningful.
Egbuna, a development analyst, wrote from Nnewi, Anambra State