Criticism trails Nigeria’s withdrawal from WASSCE

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Criticism has trailed the decision by the Nigerian Federal Government to withdraw secondary school students’ participation in the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE).

The exam is triennialy conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) across its five member-nations.

Education Minister, Adamu Adamu had on Wednesday announced the decision while stating that it was not yet safe for schools to be reopened as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the country.

This contradicted separate statements from his junior minister, Chukwuemeka Nwajuiba and WAEC Head of Nigeria Office, Patrick Areghan earlier in the week that the exam would hold between August and September.

Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has kicked against the government’s decision describing such move as amounting to the country being burdened with a disintegrated government.

It also called for a rethink to make sure affected students do not lose a whole academic session.

Afenifere gave this position on Thursday in a release titled: ‘WAEC Exams and Disintegrated Government,’ issued and signed by its spokesperson, Mr Yinka Odumakin.

It also observed that “the open countermand” of the earlier directive of the Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, by Mr Adamu was also shameful.

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The group, while saying that a situation where the PTF and the education ministry would hold a far different view on the matter would not have arisen “if we have an integrated government,” however, enjoined President Muhammadu Buhari to call his men to order to enable the students to sit for the coming exams and not lose the entire academic session.

“The open countermand of the directive of the PTF boss, Mr Boss Mustapha on June 30 that schools should resume ahead of August 4 WAEC Exams start by the Education Minister, Alhaji Adamu Adamu, is yet another reason to know that we are burdened with a disintegrated government in Nigeria.

“It is not comprehensible that the PTF would go and announce that schools should go and resume without consultation with the Ministry of Education and that the minister will come on TV and be stamping his feet ‘nobody will tell us when we are to open until we are ready’ if we have an integrated government.

“We advise Mr President to manage his men so our students are not made to lose a session to ego fights of our officials,” Afenifere said.

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According to Afenifere, the disaster of everyone holding his or her corner under the regime of President Buhari and behaving as if they represent different governments has become a daily occurrence, saying “total lack of coordination and directionlessness” had now become a sore point that was making governance a joke.

It counselled that what a serious government should have done was to put the interest of the people first before the petty egos of little men in power, saying that since the August 4, 2020 date for the commencement of the examinations was a bit away, Nigeria should call a meeting of the countries in the sub-region involved and body to manage the examinations in the interest of the students without compromising their health.

“If Afenifere can offer them consultation without a fee, what a serious government should have done is to put the interest of the people first before the petty egos of little men in power.

“Since the August 4 date is a bit away, Nigeria should call a meeting of the West African countries involved and WAEC to manage the examinations in the interest of the students without compromising their health,” the group said.

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“This is how government should run to show it cares for the public.

The way our officials conduct themselves is becoming just too shameful,” it declared.

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