By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
It was failure galore in the recently released results of the 2014 West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). The scandalous revelation was that just31.29 percent of the candidates cleared the five credits benchmark alongside the compulsory subjects of English and Mathematics. An immediate reading of the released results shows that Anambra State led all the other States of the country with a percentage pass of 65.92. The selfsame Anambra State equally came first last year with 67.85 percent. It is indeed very curious that arm-chair commentators almost always profile Anambra as a state of only traders. The dangerous dimension of this kind of profiling is that the beaten states will continue to lag behind while believing the lies being told about their betters.
Another Southeast State, Abia, placed second with a score of 58.52 percent this year, a position it also won last year with the higher score of 65.17 percent. The remarkable achievements of the Southeast States of Anambra and Abia ought to inspire the competitive drive of the other geo-political zones. It is this spirit of competition that ought to be highlighted for national development instead of hiding behind lies to malign high-achievers. An exemplification of the competitive charge comes from Edo State that jumped ahead by taking the 3rd position from Rivers State that dropped to 5th place. It has to be stressed that Edo was conspicuously absent from the Top Ten list of last year. In the competition mode, Bayelsa State was placed 4th as against its 6th placing last year.
The case of Cross River State is quite pathetic given that it fell from the Olympian height of 5th last year to a distant 21st in the result sheet currently on display. Cross River had 53.34 percent last year only to drop this year to a lowly 22.49 percent.
A striking aspect of the statistics available happens to be the somewhat uninspiring performances of the Southwest States, especially in the light of the fact that most commentators would have the world believe that education is the mainstay of the geo-political zone that produced Chief Obafemi Awolowo of the Free Education fame. Lagos State which is actually a cosmopolitan hive of diverse Nigerians stood out as the topmost of the Southwest States at 7th place, as opposed to its 4th placing last year. The one Northern star is Kaduna State at 10th place.
All the States of the Southeast deserve salutation for surpassing the national average that stood at 31.29%. In all, 13 states towered above the national average, notably: Anambra (65.92 percent), Abia (58.52), Edo (57.82), Bayelsa (52.83), Rivers (52.78), Enugu (51.91), Lagos (45.66), Imo (40.64), Delta (40.12), Kaduna (36.38), Ebonyi (36.05), Ekiti (33.80) and Ondo (32.40). Only Kaduna State, from the Northwest, represents the entire North in scoring above the national average. The national average was well beyond the reach of all the States of the Northeast and North-Central. The Southwest States lagged behind the national average thusly: Ogun State placed 18th with 26.92 percent pass rate; Osun was 22nd with 19.54 percent pass; Oyo placed 24th with 19 percent pass rate.
The lies underwhelming the Nigerian nation are exposed by a closer examination of the WASSCE figures. For instance, we are asked to believe through the census figures that Kano State is more populated than Lagos yet could only register 66,079 candidates as against 146,564 Lagos candidates. Let truth be told: we are not telling ourselves truth in this country! Then there is the issue of Northern champions wanting to superintend over the country as rulers even as 13 States of the North took up the rear of the chart. If these leaders cannot improve their own people, how can they be trusted to improve the entire country in this modern age of digital sophistication?
There is the other evil dimension of admission into the Unity Schools where a pupil from Anambra State is expected to score at least 139 points to gain admission into the schools while a male pupil from Yobe State and a female pupil from Zamfara State are required to score only 2 paltry marks. Yobe was incidentally the lowliest of the lot in WASSCE ranking list with only 4.85 percent pass rate. The State boasted of a registration figure of 11,049 candidates out of which just 743 candidates had pass marks. Northern states such as Bauchi, Gombe, Kebbi, Zamfara, Sokoto, Jigawa and Adamawa had less than 10 percent pass rate. The title of the novel of South African novelist Alan Paton rings true here: Cry, the Beloved Country.
Uzor Maxim Uzoatu is reachable on linkedIn