CERTIFICATE FORGERY AND STEALING WHAT YOU DON’T NEED: LIKE MMESOMA; LIKE PETER MBAH; LIKE INEC

Mmesoma Joy Ejikeme is a 19-year-old brilliant student of Anglican Girls’ Secondary School, Uruagu Nnewi, Anambra State. She is from Enugu State and wrote the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) this year, obtaining her results: English: 64, Physics: 54, Biology: 74, and Chemistry: 57 with a total aggregate score of 249 out of 400, establishing a 62% above average result. She is science inclined and certainly situates at the upper chamber of academic prowess.

 

The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has set a low threshold score of 140 as a cut-off mark for admission into the University this year. She scored well above that mark and was graciously on her way to the University until the Devil struck and her village people remembered her. She didn’t have any need to be called a criminal or even be abused by anyone.

 

This is a classic case of someone waking up in the morning and deciding to be her own enemy and stealing what she doesn’t need. Yes, the Devil remembered her, cause the Devil is the only being who was created perfect in beauty and lacked nothing but because of his inordinate ambition to be worshipped like the highest God, wanted to overthrow God, to take over the whole universe and be referred to as the Almighty. He was defeated and dethroned and reduced to a Serpent to eat dust all the days of his life.

 

There’s no doubt that the reason for this ugly turn of events is simple – greed, insatiability and trying to be someone else or beat everyone else. The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) released the scores of candidates who applied for admission and subsequently announced Nkechinyere Umeh as the candidate with the highest score of 360. Obviously being aware of the pomp and pageantry that follow the celebration of the number one in UTME, and the obvious perks that come with it, Mmesoma decided to forge her result and certificate to be the undisputed recipient of such honours.

 

In her phantom world, Mmesoma confirmed that she single-handedly forged the result before approaching a cyber cafe for printing, showing a UTME result of an aggregate score of 362, with English: 98, Physics: 89, Biology: 94, and Chemistry: 81. She consequently protested to the State Government that she scored 362 and ought to have been so honoured.

Her audacity is deafening.

 

Initially, when she flew the kite of her superlative performance, JAMB promptly refuted it, but she decided to fight on. She countered JAMB’S claim that she forged her certificate and even made a video flaunting her certificate and showing her face and defending her actions. It was this brazen act of bravery that rallied people around her because most people believed that an innocent young lady will not be too brave to put a face to her claim if she were lying.

 

Again, since the Devil, who is a liar and the Father of it struck, it turned out that she was lying.

The most troubling revelation in the Mmesoma saga is the fact that she is from Enugu State and may have just adopted the template she may have learnt from the present Governor of her State, Peter Mbah. Recall that Peter Mbah has been having a running battle regarding the fake National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) certificate he filed as part of the requirement for his qualification to be Governor of Enugu State.

 

The law is clear that it’s the institution that issued a certificate that determines whether its certificate is genuine or fake. The NYSC Director, publicly, on a television station, said that Peter Mbah’s NYSC’s certificate is fake and didn’t emanate from them. He made it clear that Peter Mbah had met him privately and he explained clearly to him that the certificate is fake just as JAMB explained to Mmesoma that her certificate was fake. However, rather than towing the honorable path by resigning, he snubbed the NYSC Director and even went to court to prevent NYSC from testifying that his certificate is fake, just as Mmesoma refused to accept JAMB’S verdict and fought on.

 

 

He used the strategy to gain time to be sworn in as Governor, thereby creating the impression that one can benefit from his own wrong and motivating children like Mmesoma to tow that ignoble path of dishonour. After being sworn in, the problem continued, as the court refused to prevent NYSC from testifying. They testified that Peter Mbah’s certificate is fake in an open court. At this stage, even Mmesoma gave up, acknowledged her mistake and apologised.

 

The former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, at this stage, threw in the towel and resigned as the Minister of Finance. Peter Mbah should save the citizens of Enugu State the trauma and shame and resign immediately from office. Students like Mmesoma learnt to have the audacity to forge their certificates from their Governor, who forged his own and is doubling down on this perfidy.

 

The ugly turn of events now in which the embattled Governor of Enugu State is eliciting the assistance of the State Security Service (SSS), whose duty is to protect and secure the country from any internal security threat the country, to meddle with the issue of certificate forgery, is desperation taken too far.

 

What has the forging of the NYSC certificate to do with the security of Nigeria? Getting such an organisation to come to court to testify on such a matter deserves thorough investigation by the Federal Government because the law that established the SSS didn’t grant such powers to it. The rule of law is one of the pillars of democracy and the SSS should know better and remain on its lane and restrict itself to the duties assigned to them by the law.

 

It’s important to note that Peter Mbah didn’t need to have the NYSC certificate to qualify to run as Governor, just as Mmesoma didn’t need to forge her certificate to enter the university. A secondary school certificate would have sufficed (See Section 131(d) of the 1999 Constitution), but greed and dishonesty and trying to be someone that he is not, led him to forge his certificate which is a disqualifying criterion (See Section 137(1)(j) of the 1999 Constitution).

 

Since the Devil has struck and Peter Mbah’s village people have remembered him, the most honourable path of redemption for him to take now is to resign as Governor of Enugu State and apologise to everyone, especially the NYSC, so that younger children like Mmesoma will learn that criminality doesn’t pay and above all it’s not an Enugu State way of life.

 

I was embarrassed when someone confronted me that we are struggling to remove the presidential candidate of APC on account of forgery, yet Enugu State indigenes are artful forgers of certificates, starting from their Governor. I was quick to say that Peter Mbah learnt it from PDP, not Enugu State. I so plead with Peter Mbah to save us from this embarrassment and just leave honourably and immediately. We must learn a great lesson here that contentment with godliness is great gain.

 

JAMB has to be commended. In this era of institutional failures in Nigeria and systemic corruption, it is incumbent on citizens to commend any institution that singles itself out for transparency, accountability, diligence and discipline. Starting from the days of analogue dealings in JAMB, results were written manually, collated manually, published manually and sent to the candidates manually. It took months for the candidates to know their scores and the universities they were posted. Examination malpractices were rife and confidence in JAMB results was being eroded.

 

On the appointment of competent and honest leadership at the JAMB, they made a determination on using electronic technology to conduct the operations at JAMB. The UTME became electronically written and results were transmitted electronically to the candidates in real-time after the examination. They needed not to promise heaven and earth to Nigerians to achieve this or collect N400b from the Government to score this feat, they continued in their determination and dedication to their objectives until they got to the level that they can beat their chest that no candidate of the UTME can effectively forge UTME result without being caught and exposed.

 

That’s why they were confident in their submissions during the Mmesoma saga. JAMB humbly submitted itself and its findings to public scrutiny without let or hindrance. When Mmesoma started insisting that she scored 362, the Anambra State government set up a Committee which invited Ejikeme Joy Mmesoma, the Principal of Anglican Girls Secondary School, and officials of JAMB for interactive sessions with the Committee. JAMB officials led by Dr Fabian Benjamin, the Head of Public Affairs presented the detailed processes and procedures involved in JAMB admissions, the policy changes that have occurred in the release of UTME scores since 2021 and what specifically transpired between the candidate Ejikeme Joy Mmesoma with registration number: 20230639047FF in her quest to obtain her JAMB score.

 

JAMB disclosed that the candidate was well informed of her correct score from JAMB. They were so detailed that they revealed that the template Mmesoma used to forge her certificate was the outdated 2021 template which was no more in existence. They convinced everybody including Mmesoma herself. Her Father apologised alongside her. The sword that the majority of people lifted up to strike the JAMB officers landed heavily on Mmesoma’s head and the severity of the blows landed her on the verge of suicide.

 

Special thanks and commendations should be sent to Prof Ishaq Oloyede for making Nigerians and even the international community believe that they can still trust a public institution in Nigeria or at least give some of them the benefit of the doubt. Whoever is interested in seeing a new Nigeria must be excited at this glorious prospect of a new dawn.

Contrast this with Prof Mahmood Yakubu’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with his Mouthpiece on voter education, Festus Okoye, who promised Mars and Mercury, and who inspired the citizens of Nigeria to demand that the National Assembly amend the Electoral Act to legitimise the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and other technologies for the accreditation of voters and transmission and transfer of election results electronically from the polling units in real time on election day to the INEC Collation System and the uploading of the scanned copy of the hard copy of election results unto the IREV Portal for the viewing pleasure of all Nigerians.

 

Some members of the National Assembly resisted granting INEC this power of electronic transfer of results from the polling units on election day, citing the possibility of network failure that could affect the transfer. INEC fought relentlessly to convince Nigerians that nothing can affect the transfer of results electronically from the polling units on election day, saying that they will have a backup if need be to prevent such network failure. They testified before the Legislators that the network will not affect the deployment of the technological innovations for elections. Indeed the President then refused to sign the Bill passed by the National Assembly without the provision for electronic transfer of results because of INEC’S insistence that with the provision, they would guarantee free, fair and credible elections.

 

They needed the electronic transmission of results to safeguard the manually collated results from manipulation at collation centres which destroy the credibility of elections in Nigeria. The National Assembly was compelled to amend the Electoral Act to accommodate the concerns of INEC.

 

However, on the 25th of February, 2023, INEC conducted the presidential election and refused intentionally to transmit or transfer electronically the election results from the polling units and failed to upload the results electronically on IREV Portal for Nigerians to understand what was going on. To rub salt to injury, INEC refused to tell Nigerians what was going on until they announced their fake results. It was after they announced the fake results that they informed Nigerians that they had a technical glitch that prevented them from transmitting the results electronically.

 

Rather than leaving out the electronic transfer of results completely since they have admitted that they couldn’t transmit on that day, they tried to update the electronic transfer of results with their fake results and this resulted in a scandalous disaster. 18,088 polling units results were blurred, blank, filled with pictures of human beings and animals, mutilated and illegible. Only about 31% of the results were found to be accurate at the time INEC was declaring its results. All attempts to cover up these atrocities failed, prompting the international community and the local election observers to condemn the election as failing to meet up the lowest standards of credibility for acceptable elections.

 

More than four months after the ill-fated declaration of fake results, Festus Okoye, on national television, confessed that he doesn’t know the technical glitch that happened. Yes, he doesn’t know, because no glitch happened.

To date, INEC has not been able to defend its results or reconcile its manually declared results with the electronically transmitted results. Lack of transparency and operational, institutional, systemic failures and corruption compromised people’s trust in the process. If INEC were not hiding anything, they would have come clean to the whole world and presented their facts, supported with their electronic device for storing and processing of information to convince the world like JAMB did and silence their critics.

 

It’s obvious that INEC is the one now that is silenced because INEC is the Mmesoma in this case that has a result it generated which it cannot defend because it manipulated the electronic process to produce fake results.


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