By Chinyere Nwachukwu
Lagos, May 14, 2022 The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) says it will do everything to ensure that the integrity of its examinations is not compromised, irrespective of challenges.
The council’s Head of National Office (HNO), Mr Patrick Areghan, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen on Saturday, in Lagos.
He reiterated that the council was fully set to conduct of the 2022 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for School Candidates, which would begin on Monday.
More than1.6 million candidates, from 20,221 schools nationwide, have enrolled for the examination.
Areghan restated the council’s call on the federal and state governments to provide enabling environment for the examination, especially in areas with security challenges.
“We are reiterating that where there is high risk, these candidates should be moved to safer grounds,” he said.
The official said that the council would continue to foster good working relationship with stakeholders who show commitment in securing and protecting the future of the Nigerian child.
Areghan, however, expressed regret that despite efforts in ensuring cordial working relationship with stakeholders, they still faced challenges.
He said that an allegation that the council
failed to provide Sokoto State with Tax Identification Number (TIN), leading to non presentation of its candidates for this year’s WASSCE for school candidates, was misleading.
“We are an assessment body and we conduct examination for states that subscribe to your examinations.
“We have very good working relationship with stakeholders and we do not force anyone to sit for our examination.
“We work in partnership with governments of our member states. And in the case of Nigeria, because it is a Federation and Education is in the concurrent list, we work with both the Federal and the various Ministries of Education.
“So, by this, we have very good working relationship with all the states in the federation.
“And we are not in anyway prepared to change such existing relationship with any state or stakeholder for that matter,” he said.
He said it was not in the council’s character to deny any Nigerian child the right to a better future.
Making further clarification, the HNO stated that the TIN had nothing to do with requirements for the enrollment of candidates for the said examination.
“If anyone wants to pay for the enrollment of candidates for our examination, we provide number to pay to, same for schools.
“We want them to bring the letter, where WAEC seemingly requested for the provision of the TIN. They should also provide the letter where WAEC refused to provide the said number.
“Let me also challenge you to go round the various state governments to find out if they had ever needed a TIN to get their candidates enrolled for our examination.
“But in all of these, we still have an excellent relationship with all the state governments, including Sokoto, but for some few elements that may not be telling constituted authorities the truth about what is happening,” Areghan stated.
He also said that the council had requested for, at least, part payment for the enrolment, but that the state government declined the deal, and did not get back to the council on the matter.
Areghan said that the council never requested for upfront payment before the enrolment of candidates from the state, as was being speculated.
“There is a difference between part payment and upfront payment. We requested for part payment before we can consider their request and not upfront,” he said.
The official said that the council told the state that it could not give them credit facility and that something must be paid.
“Meanwhile the Sokoto state’s ministry of Science and Technology is presenting a total 1,817 candidates for the examination and they appealed to us to grant them credit facilities and we did,” he said.
Areghan appealed to states owing the council to pay up, as it was in dire need of funds to conduct its examinations, as well as carry out other services.
He also urged all aggrieved persons to sheathe their swords.
The official explained that if candidates failed to write the upcoming examination, it could hamper their future.
“There is already a high level of out of school children, if we should now add more to it, then what will become of them and our country?,” he queried.
Areghan had at a news conference on May 9, said two states, Zamfara and Sokoto did not present public school candidates for the examination but that private schools from the aforementioned states presented theirs.
The WAEC boss had told newsmen that reasons for failure by these states to present candidates, were not given to council.
The Sokoto State government had, however, reacted, giving reasons for what happened.