Many candidates for the 2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Lagos, on Friday, battled an early morning downpour to get to their centres as the examination got underway.
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB)-organised examination began in some 750 accredited centres nationwide, with 1.7 million candidates registered to participate.
In centres monitored in Lagos, candidates scheduled for the first session at 7.00 a.m. were mostly affected by the downpour, with some arriving late and being denied entry.
A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent who visited the WAEC Test and Training Centre (WTTC), one of the accredited centres for the examination in Ogba, noticed a group of candidates, who were desperately seeking for help, after having missed the test.
The same situation also applied at the Wisdom House Centre, off Yaya Abatan, also in Ogba, Command Secondary School Ipaja and Lagooz Schools Orile-Agege centres.
Other centres visited by NAN are Timeon Kairos Polytechnic and Professional Institute, Ile-Epo, Lagos Abeokuta Express way.
NAN reports that despite the downpour, however, many candidates, accompanied by their parents, still turned up as early as 6.00a.m. to beat the examination time in centres visited.
Some of the candidates who failed to meet up with their schedule, blamed the heavy rain for their plight, appealing to JAMB’s management to look into the matter.
Miss Esther Oladokun told NAN that she lives at Ajunwon in Ogun, a border with Lagos, and that knowing full well the time of her examination, left her house at 5.30 a.m.
She said that she was, unfortunately, caught up in the rain and could not arrive at the WTTC in good time.
According to her, the vehicle she entered broke down as a result of flood.
She said she had to get down to seek another solution to her challenge only to get to her centre at 8.13 a.m but was not allowed access by the examination officials.
Miss Chiamaka Ezeaputa said left her home at Ota, near Bells University, another Ogun border community, near Lagos, as early as 5: am, hoping to be at her centre before 6.30 a.m.
She said that following the early morning rain, there was huge traffic and this created problems for her.
The candidate said that after being stuck, she had to take a motorcycle at an exhorbitant rate, but arrived the centre at 9.20 a.m.
She said that she was denied access into the hall by the examination officials.
Miss Blessing Akindoyin, who said she lives at Sango, also blamed the early morning downpour for her lateness.
She claimed there was difficulty in getting commercial vehicles and she got to her centre late for the 7.00a.m. examination.
One of the centre supervisors at the WTTC who did not want her name in print, told NAN that the examination began at exactly 8.30 a.m.
She said that lateness to the examination centre was not allowed.
“This examination commenced at 8:30 a.m. Even with the rain, I got here at about 5:30 a.m. and everything was set.
“All we needed for the commencement of the examination was in place.
“We were actually supposed to start the examination by 8.00 a.m. but because of the rain, we had to give 30 minutes grace.
“At least you can see the hall is almost filled to capacity. These ones too, came here early enough, despite the rain.
“We have over 240 candidates each, in both the centre one and two, out of the 250 capacity benchmark for each of these centres,” she said.
She said that so far, the excercise had been seamless, and all the backup equipment in the centre, were top notch .
The official further lauded the board for efforts put in place to improve the conduct of the examination nationwide, every year.
“As I speak, the board has improved technical facilities such as the Funtronic Scanner for thumb printing.
“With this equipment, you hardly have incidents of inability to capture the finger print of any candidate. It is indeed, a plus for JAMB,” she stated.
Another official at the Wisdom House, which also houses two centres, told NAN that late coming to any examination was considered as an examination malpractice.
She noted that none of the examination officials had the power to change the situation.
The official was of the view that only the Registrar had such prerogative of mercy.
According to her, the examination started at about 8:30 am, as initially, there was a technical hitch, but it was corrected almost immediately.
She said that beyond that, there had not been any other incident at her centre as at the time she was speaking.
Reacting to the plight of the candidates that missed the examination as a result of the rain, Dr Fabian Benjamin, JAMB’s Head, Protocol and Public Affairs Officer, expressed sadness at the development.
“It is unfortunate this has happened. However, technical consideration will not allow us to reschedule the examination.
“If for instance, something happened to a centre as a whole, or there is a technical collapse in a centre, that one is understandable and the board, could start considering a way out of it.
“But a situation where some candidates for the examination at a specific schedule attempted the examination, while others failed to, for whatever reason, that examination will not be rescheduled.
“We do not reschedule examination, it has come and gone. There are rules guiding all examinations; ours is not an exception,” Benjamin said.
The UTME, which started on Monday, will run until May 14, with several sessions daily at the accredited centres