The workers of the National Examination Council, on Thursday, appealed to the Federal Government not to scrap the examination body, as workers were reported to be wondering what their fate will be if the government eventually implements the plan.
Reports on Wednesday said the Federal Government had decided to implement the recommendations of the Oronsaye-Panel that listed NECO among 38 federal agencies that would be scrapped or merged with others. The Federal Government had not confirmed or denied the planned action though, but there was palpable tension in NECO on Thursday.
A senior official, who pleaded anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to the press, told Vanguard there was no wisdom behind the attempt to scrap NECO.
“Let’s look at it this way: Britain is not up to half the size of Nigeria and it has about eight examination bodies. How then can Nigeria have only examination body?
“Secondly, why lump us with the West African Examination Council? WAEC does not belong to Nigeria, so what does the country stand to gain by handing over structures of NECO to WAEC?
“Thirdly, how possible is it for WAEC, or any examination body for that matter, to organise one SSCE in November and organise another one two months later, when they have not released the result of the one conducted in November?.
“Again, we should not be in a hurry to forget when Nigerian candidates suffered untold hardship in the hands of WAEC, which led to the birth of NECO.
“As at that time, open any newspaper and what you see are appeals by candidates asking WAEC to release their results. The coming of NECO stopped all that. Now, we are going back to the era of colonialism, maybe we should even hand over the Presidency of this country back to Britain,” he said.
Also reacting, the Niger State Commissioner for Education, Alhaji Abdulhameed Danladi said though he believes government’s policies are dynamic and can be changed at any time, the decision to scrap the examination body must be given a second thought in the overall interest of Nigerian educational development. He stressed that the nightmare Nigerians went through in the hands of WAEC should not be allowed to come back.
He pointed out that government has the right to make policies, but such policies should have positive bearing on the lives of the people because governance is all about people.
“My concern about scrapping of NECO is about the over 5,000 Nigerians working there that will lose their job.
“Here we are in a country where unemployment is on the high side and because of that, the government is coming up with a lot of programmes aimed at creating employment and mopping up unemployed youths from the streets and now you want to scrap NECO and increase the rate of unemployment in the country.”
He argued that “what I don’t think is right is for government, in an attempt to solve one problem, start to create another. Examination is the only way to evaluate the performance of students and if you now scrap NECO, how do you evaluate candidates? If it is NECO that the Federal Government does not want, let them set up another one, but there must be an examination body that is wholly Nigerian.”
Danladi therefore advised that rather than scrap NECO, the government should reposition it and add value to it for better performance.
Also speaking on the proposed scrap of NECO, Minna-based human rights activist, Evangelist Udoh, urged the Federal Government to analyse the Oransanye report again.
“Why would any sensible person recommend that NECO be scrapped and its structures and statutory responsibility be taken over by WAEC, a regional body?”