Mesoma, the girl in the eye of the storm has admitted to forging her JAMB result, which has steered up controversies in the past few days. Miss Ejikeme was on the brink of becoming a millionaire for scoring the highest point in the recently concluded JAMB examination before her fortunes changed. She was on the verge of being honoured by the Anambra State Government before her luck took a turn.
Miss Ejikeme had earlier expressed her surprise that a result she printed from the JAMB portal could be termed fake by the Board, wandering why the they would rush to conclude that she faked the result when investigation was going on.
The spokesman for the board, Dr Fabian Benjamin, remained skeptical of the candidate’s assertion and clarified in an interview that JAMB had discontinued the use of the specific print-out format presented by Miss Ejikeme as her genuine result since 2021. Describing her result as “patently fake,” the spokesman emphasised that Miss Ejikeme was the only one displaying the “obsolete” notification slip among all the candidates who took the 2023 UTME.
The Foundation for Investigative Journalism, in its independent investigation, further confirmed this discovery and provided evidence of the existence of a mobile application known as ‘JambFun-Fake Jamb Result Maker,’ capable of generating results that are similar to the one presented by Miss Ejikeme.
The board has not only refused to back down on their position despite the national outrage, emphasising that Miss Ejikeme’s actual score is 246, but has also, through their spokesman, insisted that their system hasn’t been compromised as some critics have wondered: “The board would like to reassure Nigerians that its system was neither tampered with nor compromised as the candidate simply falsified a copy of a result slip of a candidate named ‘Asimiyu Mariam Omobolanle,’ who sat for the UTME in 2021 and scored 138.”
Regrettably, each attempt made by social media users to scan the QR code on Miss Ejikeme’s result yielded a result belonging to Asimiyu Mariam Omobolanle, aligning with the position of the JAMB spokesman.
Although some have argued that it was unfortunate that a distinguished institution like the State Security Service, the country’s state police, has become entangled in this controversy, I think it is crucial for the nation to unravel how Miss Ejikeme ended up as the focal point of this scam and was on the brink of becoming a millionaire before her fortunes changed. She had been awarded a 3 million scholarship by Chief Innocent Chukwuma, the Chairman of Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing company, and was on the verge of receiving an honour from the Anambra government before her luck took a turn.
However, what she needs at this point isn’t institutionalised harassment. She needs, first and foremost, a good lawyer and then a fair trial to present her case. The circus she has found herself in, jumping from one media platform to another won’t help her case, especially against the institutions convinced that she’s a scammer and must have worked with others to achieve this.
But the idea that a secondary school finalist or graduate isn’t capable of masterminding fraud on the scale Miss Ejikeme is being accused of is ridiculous. We left secondary school between the ages of 15 and 19, and what we were capable of then was shocking. We had both the intellectual capacity and the criminal capability of adults, and there were just as many masters of examination fraud back then.
Similar to the present time, there was a robust exchange of ideas on online forums, accompanied by the widespread abuse of digital skills. One of our favourite platforms was Yahoo Messenger. While some of us utilised it to establish lasting friendships and romantic relationships during our teenage years, others opted for engaging in cybercrimes. One of our acquaintances encountered his future Russian wife through Yahoo Messenger when he was barely 16 years old. He now lives in St. Petersburg with his younger wife and their kids.
That era also witnessed the boom of the so-called Yahoo-Yahoo scam, and our peers occupied the front seats in this criminal enterprise. These were teenagers in Miss Ejikeme’s age group, some even younger than her. So, the idea that a high schooler, a 19-year-old, isn’t capable of tampering with her UTME scores, even with the help of her classmates, doesn’t hold water.
Secondary school provides sufficient education to develop one’s mind. Miss Ejikeme might be innocent, but her age, appearance, manner of speech, or educational level cannot serve as proof of her innocence, as some have attempted to do. What she needs is a fair hearing, not harassment, and definitely not these social media excuses that attempt to shield her from responsibility.
Fortunately, the possible holder of the highest score in the 2023 UTME in Nigeria, which has gained attention online but has yet to be verified by JAMB, is from the same state as Miss Ejikeme. This circumstance might help alleviate the whispers suggesting that the troubled candidate is being put on trial because of her ethnic origin, which is a predictable deflection tactic.
The situation at hand extends beyond Miss Ejikeme. It is not solely her trial; it is an examination of an institution that has faced longstanding allegations of unsubstantiated compromises. Now is the opportune moment to satisfy the nation’s curiosity and address the larger issues at stake.