Mmesonma: A post mortem, laurel for Oloyede

The simple truth about the Mmesonma saga has come to light with her confession before a panel of scholars set up by the Anambra state government to examine her claims and its counter by JAMB. I believe that she owned up to her forgery in the face of overwhelming evidence of her misdeed.

On the fundamental question of how she did the forgery and the motive for it, she did not clarify. We are told in the panel’s report that when asked about the latter, ‘’she said nothing’’, stating only that she undertook the forgery all by herself. One hopes that the teenager has learnt her lessons, albeit the hard way, given the negative publicity the entire episode has brought to her family, her school and those that ‘believed’ in her.

I hope too that the counselling promised her would truly reform her and make her strive to always toe the right path, notwithstanding ephemeral material gains to the contrary. It is time to move on from this Mmesonma episode but not without reflecting on some of the things it threw up.

For me, one of the realities that this issue brought to the fore is that objective reasoning has taken flight in our country generally. It has been replaced by deep seated prejudice, mistrust. And this has nothing to do with educational level or social class. It cuts across all classes. To think that many people were ready to bet their last kobo that the teenager was being victimised, that JAMB it was who changed her score; leading to them demanding that her answer sheets be remarked by independent ‘scholars’.

How on earth could a reputable organisation as Innoson still be in doubt after it had heard from the horse’s mouth, JAMB, that Mmesonma is not the highest scorer in this year’s examination and that her actual score is 249?
Even columnists like my humble self were not left out of the darts. I thought my last article titled, “A new low in examination cheating”, was clear and fair enough. In that column I concluded that Mmesonma might have been hoodwinked by some fraudsters to change her score for some pecuniary reasons and I called for a thorough investigation to fish out these fraudsters behind the scene. While some thumbed up my article and considered it ‘’unbiased’’, others thought otherwise.

One of such was from phone number +2347034396729 and it reads: “Your article in Blueprint titled ‘A new low in examination cheating’ written on July 4, 2023 5.43p.m. is very provoking, biased and judgemental. Wait for the investigation by Anambra state government and DSS to be completed before accusing that young girl of corrupt ways. Some of us had fallen victim of this kind when we checked results on line. Different scores uploaded for the same candidate due to technical or tribal issue. What you don’t know is bigger than you”.

As a columnist, one must have a thick skin, fully aware that there shall be comments for and against whatever you write, no matter how objective your article is. What is more, in today’s Nigeria, reactions towards an article sometimes veer towards insults. I am constrained to conclude that some people do not fully comprehend a write up. It appears to me that our sense of comprehension is diminishing especially with the younger generation. Writing in satire is fading off because some people would take what is written in its literal meaning.

It is this lack of reasoning, deep thinking amongst Nigerians generally that made some people believe the patent falsehood that former President Muhammadu Buhari died during his tenure, was buried in a foreign land and that an ‘imposter’ named Jibrin El-Sudan was the one piloting affairs of state. A little thinking would show that this is impossible. However, not a few persons believed that story.

Even with the truth of the Mmesonma saga unearthed, some people are pushing the narrative that she did nothing wrong, that she was only following the footsteps of our presidents who, according to them, ‘forged’ their certificates. They even said that they are illiterates because they did not attend any school. Anyone that believes these (unfortunately there such persons) is empty headed. Former President Buhari attended primary school of the good old days in his native land after which he was trained in military schools abroad. He has a photo of his classmates as proof. And a few of his classmates are still alive to attest to it.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had tendered his educational certificates to both INEC and the Presidential Election Tribunal. Besides, his former colleagues at Mobil (Nigeria) where he rose to the position of the company’s auditor had, on his declaration by INEC as president-elect, taken a full page of a newspaper to congratulate him. Among them was Chief Victor Oyofo, a former chief chip of the Nigerian Senate. Would a multinational company like Mobil employ Tinubu if he was a ‘certificate less illiterate’? All of us, Nigerians, of whatever background should make it a point of duty to weigh and examine issues, to do so with our sixth sense (intuition) before taking a stand.

Admittedly, our country reels of corruption generally. Nevertheless, there are still some honest, upright Nigerians. They may be few but still around. And they cut across all faiths and tribes. One of them is Professor Ishaq Oloyede, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin in North Central Nigeria who has been the boss at JAMB for some years now. I have not met Professor Oloyode but I have read about his good works as Vice Chancellor of Unilorin. Prof. Oloyede won my heart and those of other well meaning Nigerians when in his first full year as JAMB’s Registrar he turned in one of the largest amounts into the federal government’s coffers. Before then, JAMB remitted practically nothing to the federal government.

Without doubt, the professor has made judicious use of monies accruing to the organisation to upgrade its system in order to enhance credibility of its examination results. Of course, there is no perfect human being on earth. But Oloyede has given a good account of himself. He richly deserves commendation, not condemnation from those who sought to taint his character through unreasonable ‘mob action’ by largely unthinking persons, those whose thinking faculty is beclouded by sentiments.

Ikeano writes via [email protected] 08033077519