The 2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) scheduled for last Monday in Southeast centres was rescheduled owing to the sit-at-home order hobbling the geopolitical zone. The Monday sit-at-home was ordered by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), which later called it off, with the order yet being enforced by unidentified persons despite repeated assurances by state governments in the zone that normalcy could reign.
Candidates slated to write the Computer-Based Test (CBT) that began on Friday, 6th May and was billed to continue on Monday, 9th May, had their exam shifted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB). Agency reports cited JAMB sources saying the exam was shifted in view of the sit-at-home order. Some centres gave advance notice they would not open on Monday. “We want to play safe for the safety of the candidates as possibility of non-vehicular movement may be experienced and hinder smooth transportation for candidates who will come from far and near for the said examination,” Ngozi Nwude-Nduka, the administrator of Integral Development Consult, a CBT centre in Awka, Anambra State capital, was reported saying as she advised affected candidates to reprint their examination slips to know the new dates for their examination.
In certain places, even JAMB offices were locked up with only few security staff on duty. The News Agency on Federal Republic of Nigeria (NAN) reported some candidates saying they weren’t pre-notified and had gone to their centre only to learn the exam had been shifted. One candidate recalled that because there was no commercial vehicle available, the father took him and a friend in his car only for them to meet the CBT centre shuttered. Another candidate lamented that it was highly risky venturing out on Mondays, and that JAMB should have pre-notified them of the change in examination timetable rather than allow them take that risk.
Considering the unhinged operation of sit-at-home enforcers, it was understandable why JAMB would rather err on the part of caution by shifting the Monday exam. But that was a golden opportunity for helping to restore normalcy to the zone sacrificed. There were reports of students writing the West African Examination Council exam trekking long distances to sit for the Food and Nutrition paper owing to non-availability of public transportation; but the exam held. Governments of Southeast states should have ensured the right environment for the JAMB exam to likewise hold towards defeating the rogue order that has defied revocation by its original author. It was an opportunity missed.