Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) yesterday revealed the identity of the candidates that made highest scores in the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
According to JAMB, 15-year-old boy, Ezenala Ekene Franklin, from Imo State, scored 347 points to emerge the best candidate in the examination. He made the University of Lagos (UNILAG) his first choice institution.
Ezenala was followed closely by a 16-year-old Igbam Emmanuel Chidiebube, from Abia State, who scored 346 points with UNILAG also as first choice of institution.
The third best candidate, JAMB disclosed, was Olowu Isaac Olamilekan from Osun State, who scored 345 points and made Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) first choice of institution.
The JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, who announced the names in Abuja, expressed fear that the best candidate and the runners-up might not secure admission in the 2019 window if they fail to take certain steps quickly.
He said that both candidates chose UNILAG, saying unfortunately, UNILAG does not admit candidates below the age of 18.
“UNILAG sees them as underage candidates. The UNILAG Senate took that decision years ago and they still maintain it. JAMB has no power to compel them to change their decision.
“The candidates might not be aware of the law, but that is not an excuse. They should quickly make some changes, particularly in institution of choice, so they could stand a better chance of securing admission,” he advised.
Oloyede said that other candidates that had outstanding performance in the 2019 UTME include 16-year-old Odo Kingsley Obinna from Enugu State who scored 344 points, with University of Nigeria (UNN) as first choice institution.
He said that 18-year-old Olisakwe David Chukwuebuka from Imo State and 16-year-old Okezie Emmanuel from Abia State, scored 343 points each, while Okeke Franklin Ikechukwu, from Anambra State scored 342.
He equally announced that 18-year-old Shuaibu Abdullahi Maje, from Yobe State scored 342 points to occupy the eighth position on the table.
The Registrar, however, broke down in tears as he was announcing the release of the results.
He was apparently overwhelmed by the discovery made during the period of scrutiny of the examination centres, which was unprecedented as he was deeply shocked by the extent some candidates could go to perfect their cheating tricks.
He told the journalists that JAMB identified large number of impersonators that specialised in writing UTME for candidates, and most of the tutorial masters that also specialised in recruiting professional writers for the candidates.
He said that they used names directly or variants of the names or by multiple registrations.
“In Anambra State, two centres registered large number of impersonating candidates and that led to cancellation of the results and the CBT centres delisted. We also tracked the registration centres and the computers used.
“Another dimension of impersonation was a futile attempt of defeating the biometric capturing of 10 fingers that was introduced in 2017. The fraudsters thought they could beat the system through ‘contributed fingers’ where two or more persons would use their fingers to register for candidates, thinking that any of them would be able to write for such candidates if the system allowed it.
“Another examples was in Aminu Saleh College of Education, Azare, where someone’s fingerprint was discovered in 42 person’s registration, and in Bauchi State University, Gadau, where one person’s fingerprint was traced to the registration of 64 candidates with a view to allowing any of the finger-contributing impersonators to access the examination hall,” he said.
He said that the Board went to the extent of interacting with the principal officers of the institution in Azare and “we appreciated the Council Chairman and Provost of the College whose cooperation led to the confession of the culprit that he contributed fingers in good faith.”
He highlighted another case in Borno State where, in Nassara Computer Academy, Maiduguri, 233 candidates had one particular finger included in each of their biometric registration.
He said that JAMB has made representative arrests through the effort of a Special Task Force set up by Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB), which assisted JAMB tremendously in tracking the offenders.
The Registrar apologised to Nigerians for the unexpected delay in the release of the results and thanked them for their patience throughout the period.
He said: “We are releasing the results of 1,792,719 candidates. Some 34,120 results are being withheld including the results of 15,145 candidates which are being further clarified as identical twins and siblings.”
He advised candidates to use the phone numbers they used to register to text RESULT to 55019, insisting that there was no need to approach any Computer Based Test or cyber café to check the results.
He added: “Those who were absent, got their registration cancelled or had their results withhold would be duly informed.”