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Saturday, October 01, 2016


Written by: Abraham Adejare Adekunle

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Last week, I sat in my GCE exam hall and watched in amazement as some special cabals—who have paid for “the expo written in paper”—were called to the back of the hall. I mean, candidates are supposed to sit according to their examination number, so why would some candidates with examination numbers wide apart like the height of an Iroko tree be called to sit together?

As a Nigerian who studied and wrote exams—especially WAEC—in Nigeria, you understand what that means. To plainly put it, they were being given answers. No, scratch that. They were being given answers and tutored on how to write it down.

One thing I noticed among we remaining candidates was that there were chatters, whispers, and who knows, exchange of the same paper the cabals at the back were given. One invigilator even came to a candidate, collected his question paper, and gave him another one, obviously with answers in it. He left saying something like, “When they call your number again, you answer.”

What? Someone just told a candidate to wait for answers and grab it as if his life depended on it?

I couldn’t believe my ears.

First, these invigilators knew what they were doing is wrong. They were old enough to be my father and mother. They studied when something like this was viewed like a plague. They never had chances near what they are now aiding. Instead, they worked their butt off and sweated in the exam hall, coming out with A’s. But what did they do when their chance to continue it came? They overlooked the good, old examination ethics.

Sure, you could say that their salaries weren’t enough. You could say that they needed to make ends meet. Guess what? They didn’t have to resort to aiding examination malpractice to make it meet.

On the day of my first paper, the supervisor and invigilator told us we were to pay a token of N500 for maintenance fee. I swear I believed them and I’d already devising ways to pay it up as soon as possible. Not until they were calling numbers. They said the candidates had paid. So, they moved them to the back of the hall. What! So the maintenance fee could get me to the back of the hall where fountains and rivers of answers flow freely? I was enraged. I vowed I wouldn’t pay a dime.

You see, it’s not because they weren’t told to collect that money. It’s because of what they were doing after they collected that money.
I swear I would have paid up if the maintenance fee was put in good use.
I would understand that the economy is bad.
I would accept that they needed to make ends meet.

Although that’s also a form of corruption, I wouldn’t accept the most damaging one they were infecting multitudes of candidates with. They were simply saying, 
“Hey, kid. We know we didn’t cheat during our time, but that’s time naaa in the past. Time changes. This is your own time. Enjoy the change.”

However, I find a case study fascinating. Amongst the “cabal at the back of the hall” was someone we live in the same compound. Yes, I know her as a somewhat egoistic lady at home, but at the exam center, she was at the back, passionately copying and pasting answers into her sheet whenever I looked back.

At home, you would think she’s the most serious student on heart. She will also come out after writing the exam that, “Hey, look, I made all my papers.”

That’s one of our problems in Nigeria—the foundation.
First, how would the invigilators who moved some people to the back, be able to correct or discipline anyone cheating among the rest of the candidates? The answer is, as you expect, no way. No friggin’ way. Instead, it would turn into a business opportunity.

INVIGILATOR: Hey, hey, hey! What are you doing?
CANDIDATE: *hides paper* Nothing, sir.
INVIGILATOR: Don’t you dare lie to me again. Or else, I’ll make you end your paper right now.
CANDIDATE: *realizing he’s been caught, becomes sober*
INVIGILATOR: When we say you should pay, you refused. Do you think you can do it on your own? When you know you cannot do it on your own, why can’t you pay? Give me the paper.
CANDIDATE: *extends paper*
INVIGILATOR: *snatches paper and walks on*

Do you know what just happened? I call that a Mentality Reprogramming. That candidate is being taught that he/she can’t pass without resorting to cheating. He/she is being taught that you can bribe your way through school and exams. He/she is being taught that even if you don’t have money to pay, you can still bring in some masquerade—just be smart about it and not get caught.

Tell me, when a candidate like that becomes a senator, governor, president, or any other position of power,
How will he/she not loot?
How will he/she not tweet that recession is just a word?
How will he/she not point to Mister B when being probed?
How will he/she not say that everybody is doing the looting when he’s been programmed to believe that everybody in the exam hall is cheating?
How will he/she take responsibilities for failure, man up, and re-fire?
How will he/she not blame the failure of the government on past administration?

I met a boy on my seat writing something like “1. ABADDDDADD.” When I saw it, I was angry and I asked him to leave immediately. He started laughing and others with him joined in, too. 
Why wouldn’t he? 
What about others at the back? 
What about the one whose question paper was being exchanged for another with answers on it? 
He didn’t say anything like that, but I knew it wasn’t entirely his fault.

If some candidates had been sent out and their papers ended abruptly after being caught, would he even have the gut to write fake answers from the internet? If maintenance money hadn’t taken some candidates to the back of the hall, would he even have the gut to laugh?

The Righteous will only stand his grounds and not join the crowd.
Lets wear our thinking Cap.

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