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Scrapping of post-UTME a calamitous mistake, says Afe Babalola

By Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head South West Bureau Ado Ekiti)   |   04 June 2016   |   3:38 am
Afe Babalola

Afe Babalola

… calls for return of regionalism, parliamentary system

Elder statesman and lawyer, Aare Afe Babalola (SAN) has described the scrapping of the post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (post-UTME, otherwise called post-JAMB) by the Federal Government as a “calamitous mistake.”

The founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), said he was “more than shocked by the announcement” from the Minster of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, that post-UTME as part of the qualifying procedure for admission into Nigerian universities, has now been cancelled.

On governance, he called for a return to regionalism and parliamentary system of government, saying for Nigeria to come out of its myriads of socio-political and economic problems, it needs a restructuring that would make the regions stronger and control their resources.

Babalola, who was in the vanguard of those who canvassed for the qualifying examinations as the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, said: “This, to me, is nothing but a most calamitous mistake, which poses danger and an irreversible adverse effect on the quality of education in this country.”

He said he was particularly surprised and worried that such a far-reaching decision could be taken without due and adequate consideration for how the concept of the post- UTME came into being.

“It is rather unfortunate that human memory is very short. In 2003, it was discovered by university administrators in this country that many of the students admitted into Nigerian universities through JAMB were not only academically deficient, they could also not justify the high marks scored in JAMB examinations.

“Cases abound whereby JAMB examination papers were being openly compromised and sold to students at examination centers, while some examination centers, mischievously dubbed miracle centres, were openly, but unofficially designed to guarantee high marks for some candidates.

“The most pathetic aspect of this perfidy is that we later found out that most of these students with such high marks were unable to cope academically upon their being admitted to the universities.”

He added: “It was at this point of this national embarrassment that the Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, under my chairmanship, met in Abuja, x-rayed the cankerworm and recommended to former President Olusegun Obasanjo that JAMB should be scrapped, because the integrity of its examinations has been called to question.

“I must stress at this point that the introduction of post-UTME was not decided by the Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities alone; the matter was thrown open, with contributions from stakeholders and interested and concerned members of the different strata of society.

“However, government in its wisdom, decided to adopt a middle-way approach to the matter by saying that JAMB should continue to be and conduct its business of qualifying examinations to tertiary institutions in Nigeria, while post-UTME should be introduced.

“This translates to the fact that JAMB will be used as the basis for admission into Nigerian universities, but the universities are free to conduct screening exercises, which include administering questions in relevant courses, for their would-be students.”

According to him: “The post-UTME had proved to be a veritable quality control measure, which I believed had been working and working well.

“For example, the first post-UTME we conducted at the University of Lagos, where I was then the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, yielded positive dividends.

“There was this student with a very impressive result, who applied to study Law. Since English Literature was and still central to the admission of students to study Law, he was asked if he knew a novel called Things Fall Apart and he answered in the affirmative. We then asked him if he knew the author.

“The hall was filled with consternation when the young man named the late Gen. Sanni Abacha as the author of Things Fall Apart.

“With the above scenario, it became crystal clear that Nigerian universities were no places candidates should come to with compromised and procured results.

“This singular example underscores the place and import of the post-UTME, which is being touted as having been cancelled. As a result of the introduction of the post-UTME, the quantum of students who were asked to withdraw, because they could neither defend the high marks they were parading nor cope academically upon admission, dropped considerably.

“Besides and in any event, those who were using JAMB to get jumbo marks also reduced, while JAMB and its results became more credible.”

Babalola said with the innovative measures introduced by JAMB’s Registrar, Prof Dibu Ojerinde, to re-invent the examination body, its results have become a lot more credible.

“It must be emphasised that every university has the right to screen the candidates it wants to admit.

“It also has the right to embark on other exercises, whether written or unwritten, to make it and its products stand out.

“For example, in the University of Oxford, any student applying to study Law is mandatorily required to take the Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT). Any student applying for Biomedical Sciences must take Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT). Any student applying for Chemistry must take Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA), while any one applying for Classics must take Classics Admission Test (CAT).

“However, such universities should not set out to profit from such exercises, as they are not money-making ventures. Students should only be made to pay minimal fees to cover the cost of papers and other logistics, like we do in our university, where each student pays only N10, 000 for the post-UTME.”

He also called for the convocation of a sovereign national conference, where the “the fundamental flaws of the 1999 constitutions will be corrected.”

The legal luminary, in an exclusive interview with The Guardian, noted that so far as the country continues to run a powerful central government, the constituent units would continue to be weaker and unproductive.

He specifically called for a conference with the mandate to discuss how the regions would be the centre of administration.

Babalola, who disclosed that he had attended three constitutional conferences in Nigeria, regretted that reports of those conferences were never implemented.

“We have to revisit and revise our constitution, which to me, gives us what can be described as semi-unitary government.

“We should go back to what it was in the post-independence era, where we had strong regions and a weak centre, a development which allowed each region to develop at its own pace and the attendant healthy competition and rivalry.

“This time around, the six geo-political zones in the country should be allowed to develop the resources in their respective domains and used the proceeds to enhance the development and welfare of their people, like it was immediately after independence,” adding that the current presidential system is too expensive and allows for corruption.

He noted: “I still stand by my earlier position that we should run a parliamentary system of government, as we did immediately after independence in 1960.

“For obvious reasons, the parliamentary system is cheaper to run. It will checkmate the scandalously and damnably high cost of governance for which Nigeria has earned the notorious and unenviable accolade of being the most expensive democracy in the world.

“During Nigeria’s first republic, legislation was part-time and cost of governance was minimal as legislators only went to the centre for meetings when the need arose.

“The same could be tried again with the cost of the princely accommodation, exotic automobiles and frivolous allowances freed for use for some otherwise worthwhile and beneficial programmes to the people.




  • Orji Obasi

    ‘EACH STUDENT PAYS ONLY TEN THOUSAND NAIRA’. AND YOU CONSIDER THIS NOT EXPLOITATIVE, AFTER HAVING ING PAID TO JAMB. YOU ARE ALL IN BUSINESS WITH APPLICANTS.

  • Oladapo Olaomo

    If you say Ojerinde has done well to make JAMB now credible, why do you still advocate for the statue quo to remain when the flaws that created post UTME no longer exists. More so, you ‘tactically’ expose your exploitative action on vulnerable jambites collecting 10,000 naira to conduct post UTME and you don’t see it shameful to publicly acknowledged. Sir, if you were to have paid 100 naira in your own days, how many family around you or in Nigeria then would have been able to afford it. Baba, please let the decision remain. No more ‘post UTME’. The circumstances that gave life to it no more exist. God bless the Nigeria. Ha! 10,000 naira.

    • Alex O.

      Good response.

    • Iskacountryman

      because nigerians are born crooks…the moment they sense the relaxation…they would mount pressure for the jamb expo to restart…

  • NI’IMATULLAH

    I support POST-UTME, because it has been observed that there are many JAMB examination centers across the nation where a small part or portion of the center known as special class. I knew most of the Universities are aware of such illegal act during JAMB examination.
    I hope Federal Ministry of Education and Minister of Education quickly observe underground activities going on during JAMB CBT examination in all centers across the nation.

    • Oladapo Olaomo

      We should not deny the fact that even the universities have their side of the evils. However, with the scrap of post UTME the universities in their 100 level can fish out this people with certificate they can not defend. Post utme is not the only solution to ensuring preventing the ills. Post utme has become a money spinning venture for the heartless managers of our institutions. Are u aware that beyond advertising courses they are not accredited to run, they went further to conduct this their screening at the end of the day, money is made admission is not given and so much has been wasted by the students. May God be merciful to Nigeria. Amen

      • Iskacountryman

        those boys and gals radiate to cults and cause dislocation within the system…let them not even get in…

    • BALIST

      All those clamouring for POST-UTME never sat for it in their days and also who says the universities don’t manipulate the POST-UTME in favour of the rich? My daughter scored 119 in jamb and did POST-UTME the score was never made known to her.Its the university girls are subjected to sexual harassment to earn score.

  • woro

    There’s must be a call for reactions! When the roads to exploitation had been block! Soooo touching! The reaction is not for the students is for their purse! If u know you still want the law reversed, ready to conduct the post UTME for free! Without any monetary attached to it sire! Garbage inn! Garbage out! The student performances are result of what you taught them!

  • Bobino

    I expect some outcry because post UTME was a money making opportunity for both private and public institutions. Why not scrap Jamb completely and concentrate on your dubious post UTME exams? How many exams did you write in your time to get admission? After some poor students have struggled to make Jamb, they will be skimmed out stylishly while big men children who can barely write their names correctly will be selected (money changed hands). If there is anything good so far in this present administration, it is scrapping of post UTME. Afe babalawo opened his ram mouth to talk nonsense.

    • 100%Iboguy

      You have made a very intelligent point but your last statement was in bad faith. I think we should avoid the Vanguard culture of abusing people here.

      Overall keep up the good intelligent contribution.

      • tnx. nice remark. we need to take dx ur msg to vanguard also.

    • ade

      You are so insulting to Afe Babalola a man of sterling qualities. Obviously, you werent well brought up and you are disrespectful but try to change your character for the better. Rude human being.

  • Chef David Ebunosa

    Many Nigerian rich men are not for poor as psalm 41 said, for this reason they will never buy to the FG announcement concern the POST-UTME.

  • Agara Olufemi Oladipupo

    A whole 10K for each student to write post-utme, absolutely disgusting to even admit it. This is what I called FANTASTICALLY CORRUPT

    • Jonathan Oniore

      That is high level of exploitation. This is why am against the Post UTME when it was introduced in 2004. Universities in Nigeria turned it to money making venture. The scraping of the Post UTME is very much in order in respective of the exercise merits. JAMB should be strengthen further to deliver on their mandate. Simple! God bless Federal Republic of Nigeria.

    • Iskacountryman

      he of the galaxy backbone…has forgotten that he could not pay school fees in his youth…

  • Akhabue

    Our respected elder statesman needs to be presented with overwhelming, widespread and nation-wide evidence to convince him that the tertiary schools have used the post UTME examination to exhort money from intending students.
    In some cases, the money spent by the hapless students on transport, accommodation and examination fee, in addition to JAMB fee, are more than the school fees of the admitted students. This, of course, translates to “double tragedy” for the applicants who are not admitted.

  • Nigeria’s educational sector is indeed at the cross roads. It is a sad development that after 56 years of independence, we are yet adopt an acceptable assessment procedure for admissions into the nation’s higher institutions. The adoption of a two-pronged processes, UTME moderated by JAMB and post-UTME moderated by the institutions was highest level of injustice meted to students, parents and guardians, and the society at large. It amounts to waste and duplicity of functions. No serious nation, you can afford to have multiple examinations on the same matriculation.

    The options now are clear. If the consensus is that JAMB has outlived its usefulness, then it should be scrapped to avoid waste of scarce resources. The second option is to empower each institution is empowered by law to conduct its matriculation examination and admission process independently, using basic guidelines to set by the National University Commission. It is rather shocking that in the 21st century, operators of Nigeria’s education system are yet to understand the raison d’etre for matriculation exams.

    Again a situation where the institutions of higher learning reduce matriculation exam to another opportunity for revenue drive in a contradiction to the real essence of learning and scholarship, which these institutions are designed to promote and uphold in good conscience.

  • Ademola

    Well, you have all spoken well, but you know each person will interfare to this according to how we are affected, i dont think theres any reason for post UTME to be conducted by all these Universities, its just a terrible source of income for them, in as much JAMB’s integrity retains and going to work more on, no point for post UTME , as per the University boss’s speech, i feel he should review those statements because, if the minimum wages of civil workers in the country is jst 18k, how on earth would he have expected a mere civil servant’s child to be able to come up with 10k for another exam (post utme) after paying for jamb itself….. You dont see the masses the way you see yourself,… Let it be scrapped forever and let schools buckle up with their exams at 100level to know and be ascertained of its students…. Shikena

    • LadyRosely

      Afe is a private university. Not for the poor.

      • Iskacountryman

        how much did he make from galaxy backbone?

  • LadyRosely

    You’ve spoken well Afe. My respect for you is unceasing

  • Tantolorun

    Thank you so much sir. I quite agree that the Presidential system of Government is too expensive, and worse still, its not being practiced as it is done by the countries we borrowed it from. One wonders why a great decision like this, that affects the generality of the people across the country, was not first discussed on the floor of both Houses, or worse still, the govt requesting for inputs from stake holders before a decision was made. Perhaps, this kind of argument would not have come up in the first place. Whatever may be the rationale behind this decision by the govt, we must have one thing in mind, the govt either opt for quality or quantity, we can not have both at the same time.

  • na 10k u dey call only? no wonder it was scrapped.

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  • Tosin Otitoju

    I need to read the full Afe Babalola interview. He has experienced a lot.

  • ade

    Please still conduct some form of screening exercise for students with scores of 260 and above in JAMB.

  • Tonair

    These supporters of post UTME should know they don’t have a point. If the reason why Post UTME was introduced back in 2003 was the malpractices of JAMB, then the solution is not necessarily an extra-test like Post UTME which cannot be immune to its own malpractices or even worse evils if the universities are also run by fantastic Nigerians. Moreover, a better solution is to strengthen the integrity of the JAMB exams which is largely being taken care of by the current Computer-Based Tests. This can keep on improving. Any further screening by schools should be on Character using the Nation’s security agencies like SSS,DSS and Police records and establishing the authenticity of certificates and documents of prospective students through WAEC, NECO etc. These do not require a student criss-crossing the nation at the risk of their lives just to write several Post UTME tests out to fleece the candidates. I do not agree with Pa Afe Babalola on this one. LET POST UTME GO.

  • wale

    Post UTME is good, but let it be FREE. I have guys who passed Jamb exam, but because they could not afford the cost of Post UTME they did not do the exam which means no admission. To me all those who qualify should be admitted, no how, fake ones will be sent parking at the end of first year. The fake ones are not many compared to genuine ones who will be denied.

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