The report of the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Anambra State Government, an independent and unbiased body, as demanded by some Nigerians to look into the Mmesoma saga, has vindicated the Board. This has further reinforced the position of the Board that its system was not and cannot be compromised.
It is to be noted that the Board has built a reputation in terms of the conduct of credible examinations over the years and cannot afford to fail the nation at this critical juncture of its development.
Therefore, we will not despair in spite of the painful realisation that some Nigerians would do anything to cast aspersions on the good name of the Board.
However, in spite of all the posturing of its detractors, the Board remains resolute and uncompromising in its commitment to give Nigeria the best as far as credible and fair assessment is concerned.
In fact, the Board is, more than ever, determined to continue to forge ahead unmindful of the shenanigan of those who desire its fall.
For the benefit of those who are still doubting the capacity of Ms. Mmesoma to commit this egregious crime and those who are pushing the narrative that the girl is just 16 years old even against all available data that indicate her age as an adult of 19 years, Ms. Mmesoma has owned up to committing the heinous infraction, which was carefully crafted to destroy the very foundation of one of the nation’s agencies charged with the critical role of apportioning the limited educational resource of the nation based on fairness equity and integrity.
It is, therefore, highly regrettable that some Nigerians, who do not believe in the strength and resourcefulness of their nation’s institutions, would latch on to any opportunity to pull the Board down to their level of perfidy.
One vital lesson that Nigerians should learn from the imbroglio, is to learn to appreciate the genuine efforts of their critical national institutions to chart the course of national rebirth. Hence, this attitude of attacking everything that makes the nation proud even by people who should know better, is disheartening. The flip side of this is to infer that some ethnic jingoists had perhaps been elevated to public office and recognition beyond their mental and emotional capacity.
The Board would continue to be guided by the principles of inclusiveness and fairness as demonstrated by its seamless and unprompted deployment of a dedicated software called the Central Admission Processing System (CAPS), which not only eliminates human interference in the admission process, but also engenders equity, fairness, transparency to all as we do not know tribe or religion.
The public is assured of our unwavering commitment to upholding sanctity of the fabric of the nation’s educational system hence our resolve to always deliver credible and fair assessment remains unshaken.
We appeal to all those well-meaning Nigerians, who may wish to support and encourage healthy competition by awarding scholarships and other honours to deserving candidates not to be discouraged but should always endeavour to verify from us any claim, no matter how innocuous, put forward by candidates.
Candidates, on their part, are warned to stay away from fraudulent Apps that promise to enhance their scores as the end result would always be anguish and misery.
The Mmesoma case should serve as an eye-opener especially to those who hold the view that anything goes in Nigeria. Ours is a great agency with great potential, which requires everybody’s collective and patriotic support as no nation develops beyond the wishes and trust of its people.
The Board, on its part, will continue to appreciate the unalloyed support of those who even risked being attacked by the social media mob to stand on the side of truth. Your trust in us would never be taken for granted as we also appeal to our detractors to sheathe their swords and be part of the movement to build a greater Nigeria.
To those who have sent apologies after seeing the truth, we call on them to continue to believe in the capacity of the Board to deliver.
We commend Anambra State Government for its patriotic and unbiased posture all through the period of the national challenge.
Let us all put our hands together to build the Nigeria of our dreams as we congratulate Miss Umeh Kamsiyochukwu Nkechinyere as the best scorer in the 2023 UTME exercise.
Fabian Benjamin, Ph.D.
Ag. Director, PAP