The release of the last Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) results brought happy faces to the average Nigerian parent. In most homes, their candidates’ performance was great- with the majority scoring over the average mark of two hundred points. This qualified them to write the post-UTME exams- at least in those institutions were such was a pre-requisite to further process the candidate’s admission.
Let’s take a moment and imagine a candidate who resides in Ijebu or Gusau or Awka, and applied to say, a university in Osun state, with the institution demanding the writing of post UTME as one of its entering points requirement, this means that candidate (hopefully, would be on the corridor of 18 years of age), would have to travel to Osun state for the purpose of fulfilling this criteria (you and I know that 15/16 is the new age when it comes to writing WAEC and seeking admission to higher institutions in Nigeria).
I love adventures and I imagine that for some of these young adults, this may be their first time of traveling (unaccompanied) out of their states. And really, there’s always a first! If you consider that the span of most courses in our higher institutions is four years, then, this is the opening of another life for these youngsters. Another life. Yes. Hopefully.
Sadly, this may be the beginning of years of dreadful thoughts, fears, anxiety, panic, hopelessness, helplessness and the entire ness in between which are just peculiar to us as a nation.
Our roads beg for divine and common sense intervention. In the past, the battle was for basic infrastructure. Now, we battle with a higher risk of insecurity. I recall in my own days as an undergraduate in the prestigious University of Lagos. Shuttling between the campus and my parent’s home in Abeokuta, was, in the words of my roommates, like I was going to Abule-oja (the next bust stop to Unilag gate)! That was how smooth, fast and thoughtless it was!
Today, when our sons and daughters are embarking on the same journey, we go into fasting and prayer warrior mode. For some high blood pressure sets in. Our hearts find no peace until we confirm they are safe and arrived/returned in one piece!
Unfortunately, two of our sons I know didn’t make it back home in one piece- at least, not in a living one piece after the post UTME exam. There lifeless bodies stared coldly at onlookers…
One of the sad victims boarded a motor cycle (popularly called okada or bike) as he headed to his post UTME examination center. With a 297 score in JAMB, I guess he (just as I), was as confident as possible…without a flicker of thoughts that he was on the last leg of his life sojourn… and beginning the journey no one ever returned from… his bike was ran over by another vehicle and in the twinkle, life was snapped out of a bright dream. Oh dear father and mother of the departed! What words can we offer to comfort and soothe you?! The only thing that could have been said about my other young friend was that had departed in the morning of Tuesday for the post UTME center.
And whether he made it there or not, no one could say.
To be continued Tomorrow