2023 : Prince Otu And The Hullabaloo About His Certificates-
——By Ojong Amba (Prince)
The popular cliché that stones and sticks are only thrown at fruit-bearing trees typifies what Cross River State All Progressives Congress, APC governorship candidate, Sen. (Prince) Bassey Otu is currently facing since it became clear that he is the most fruitful trees of all those in contention to secure the tenancy of Peregrino lodge, Calabar after Governor Ben Ayade in 2023.
Needlessly, some people have been working tooth and nail to discredit him on all fronts. He’s been a target of well coordinated campaign of calumny by both the opposition and some people working for the opposition within the ranks and files of his party, the APC.
One area they’ve built their calumny around is his academic qualifications. They started their vain and voodoo calumny on this issue with a sponsored faceless petition backed with humongous amount of money to the APC Screening/Appeal Panels to get him disqualified for not presenting his First School Leaving (FSLC) and West Africa Examination Council’s (WAEC) certificates.
But just as the holy book admonishes in Psalms 37: 17 that “the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord supports those who do right”, the power of those who were trying to subvert the wishes of majority of APC members nay Cross Riverians was broken when Otu produced his clean academic certificates from primary to University levels.
As expected, the combat-ready social media armies of the evil plotters went on rampage trying to do everything to discredit the certificates without any verification efforts. Failing to find fault with the FSCL and degree certificates, they redirected their focus sharply to his WAEC.
They’ve not only questioned his subjects combinations but also ignorantly and arrogantly claimed that his WAEC result is not good enough to have secured him admission into the University as he hadn’t a credit in English. When he tendered his attestation from WAEC, these sets of benighted people questioned why the passport on the attestation was a recent one and not the one in uniform in 70s.
But a quick check on WAEC websites would have convinced them that the requirements for the request of attestation letter is a recent passport amongst others. In fact, the requirements include: Full name used during WAEC registration, name, month and year of examination, index number, recent passport photograph and a valid means of Identification.
The people, mostly born in the early 90s and 2000s are a manifestation of what the scripture says in Hosea 4:6 that “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children”.
Truly, they lack knowledge and God has left them and rejected the request of those they’re working for to be made priests. If this is not case, how would educated people think that requirements for admission into Universities in Nigeria only covers pre-JAMB (Joint Admission and Matriculation Board) National Council For Education (NCE) days?
All their argument on qualification for admission has been centered on the modern day standard set by NCE that to be considered for a course at any university, college of education or polytechnic, candidates must meet the minimum admission requirements which emphasizes possession of five O’ Level credits, including compulsory, English Language and Mathematics.
But before 1978 when JAMB was established, universities were allowed to set their own qualifications for admission and organize distinctive examination called concessional examinations. Qualification for admission into tertiary institutions in Nigeria at the time wasn’t uniform as it is today.
Around this era and up to the 80s, credits in English and Mathematics in O’level were not necessarily compulsory for all courses. Waivers were granted to non-science candidates seeking admission with a pass in English and a credit in Literature in English just as Prince Otu’s result reflects.
The emphasis that candidates must have five credits, compulsorily including Mathematics and English for all courses was pre-1993 when NCE was established. In the late 70s and 90s, some universities were admitting candidates into courses that require Mathematics compulsorily through remedial courses so they can run extra subjects to make up for any defency required O’level results.
Similarly, at the time, candidates were allowed to register seven subjects for WAEC and not compulsorily nine as it it today. Besides, IJMB was one of the most popular admission programme at the time. Most Universities were recruiting students through this programme and the entry requirements for IJMB was based on mock O’level results and not WAEC.
Sen. Otu attended the University of Calabar which was a very young University at the time and graduated in 1984. The entry requirements for his course at the time did not require compulsory credit in English as his pass and credit in Literature in English were enough to earned him admission. He could have also gained admission into the University through IJMB.
Clearly, the hullabaloo from opposition about his WAEC results is nothing as his O’level result was good enough to qualify him for admission not into Unical at the time but most universities in Nigeria, including the famous Ahmadu Bello University, Abu, Zaria.
It’s also important to remind the naysayers that while they’re using the current admission requirements to measure the standards in the 70s and 80s, stakeholders in the education sector are already agitating that admission benchmark that requires a uniform compulsory credit pass in English and Mathematics be reviewed. JAMB Registrar, Professor Is-haq Oloyede is leading this agitation.