MIXED reactions trailed the first day of the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), which began on Saturday across 642 centres in the country, with internet failure as well as lateness to examination centres reported to have caused hitches to the exercise.
The examination, which was written by more than 57,000 candidates in its opening day took place under tight security, with the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) insisting that the exercise was smooth and peaceful nationwide.
The JAMB Registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, said there was no technological failure throughout the centres.
“I have heard what is happening all over the country and we are pleased with what is happening. Technology is reliable; to have technology problem is an exception. What is normal is for technology to work very well and I think technology has worked properly.
“When the other time, it malfunctioned we did not like it. That was an accident. Now we are enjoying the value of technology and I must thank our partners, MTN and Airtel for doing very beautiful job. I must also thank my colleagues, Vice Chancellors, Rectors and Provosts, who are all over the country participating in the monitoring exercise in the field,” he said.
The examination was held under tight security provided by the operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) who were heavily armed and stationed strategically in all the centres in Abuja.
Sunday Tribune gathered that the examination started late in a few centres including the Digital Bridge Institute centre, where the first session started at about 8 am, an hour behind schedule.
Anger and frustration were clearly evident on the faces of applicants in a number of places, following hitches that marred the UTME, with applicants reportedly lamenting the perceived shoddy preparations by the authorities of the JAMB for the examination.
At the Bafuto College, Egbe, candidates who took part in the morning examination said the exercise was hitch-free.
However, some of the candidates who spoke with Sunday Tribune said a major challenge was the inconvenience occasioned by the commencement of the morning papers.
Slight delays were also witnessed at some centres in Lagos including the CBT Centre at WAEC’s International Office, Agidingbi, where examination was held off for up to an hour in the morning because many candidates did not arrive in time.
Mixed reactions trail exercise
Some of the candidates who spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in some parts of the country decried poor internet network.
According to NAN, some of the candidates in Abuja, Osun, Ebonyi and Nasarawa states expressed dissatisfaction over poor internet networks at their respective CBT centres especially at Kunike International School, Ilesa road in Osogbo, Risewise CBT centre in Kuchikau, Nasarawa State, among others.
Dauda Geoffrey, a candidate at the CBT centre, Kuchikau, told NAN that he experienced some challenges ranging from bad network to system tripping off as a result of power failure.
Miss Faith Attah, another candidate, also noted that the only problem faced in the centre was that of network failure, adding that JAMB authority should look for ways of solving the problems for the next batch of candidates.
Some candidates also decried the unfriendly attitude of some JAMB staff that showed less concern to candidates who needed immediate attention or faced with some immediate challenges.
Master Adebayo Oyelabi, one of the UTME candidates in Osogbo, told NAN on Saturday in Osogbo, that the challenges of bad network and wrong password in the event of logging into the JAMB website, affected him and many other candidates.
He said the computer systems at Kunike denied a lot of candidates’ access to the UTME site, which eventually led to distraction before the intervention of the coordinator and normalcy was later returned.
Electricity failure, poor internet mars exercise in Ibadan
Electricity failure and poor internet connection stalled the smooth conduct of the UTME at the Information Communication Technology (ICT) centre of the Polytechnic Ibadan, as many candidates experienced difficulties during the exercise.
Sunday Tribune gathered that the ICT edifice, which was to host three sets of candidates for the UTME examination at its two centers (centre 1 and 2), only had a smooth exercise at centre 1, while system malfunction causing a serious hiccup at the second centre.
In bid to rectify the problem, the UTME officials swiftly conveyed hundreds of affected candidates to the University of Ibadan CBT centre in two buses, Sunday Tribune gathered.
Sunday Tribune learnt that the hiccups also caused delay for more than an hour, as electricity reportedly went off for 30 minutes, precisely, from 10 a.m. to 10.30 a.m.
The development was said to have made the centre rowdy as candidates as well as parents and guardians raised eyebrow on the development.
Speaking to Sunday Tribune, a furious candidate said “the JAMB officials and the management at large are unfair to us. Though they know that the centre doesn’t have what it takes to carry out the exercise, yet they still brought us here. I hope these problems won’t affect my result.”
An embittered official also lamented the technical hitch, saying “despite several efforts and assurance from the authorities of the tertiary institution to carry out a hitch-free exercise, technical hitches still occurred where some candidates had to be taken elsewhere to write their examination.”
It was gathered that candidates also experienced a similar problem during the recently held mock UTME examination in the centre, with candidates having to leave the centre at 10 p.m.
At the second centre in the same institution, however, the JAMB official in charge of the centre, Mr Jimoh Adigun, earlier confirmed to the Sunday Tribune that they had some issues at the outset, which led to the delay in allowing candidates into the centre.
He said: “We were able to rectify it in no time. Also, we have not encountered any form of malpractice, so far; however, we also have put in place adequate security measures to restrain such act.”