Oronsaye’s report to scrap NECO receives knocks
A Minna-based human rights activist, Evangelist Peter Udoh, has attributed the planned scrapping of the National Examinations Council (NECO) as contained in the Parry Oronsaye committee report as part of vendetta against those who may have refused to ‘play ball’ while the committee was carrying out its assignment last year.
Reports of scrapping of the only indigenous examination body that complements the West African Examination Council (WAEC) on the pages of some national tabloids generated more of condemnations than commendations across different segments of the Nigerian populace.
The media reports which claimed to have been based on Oronsaye’s report had revealed that the Federal Government, acting on the committees’ recommendations listed NECO among other 38 federal MDAs slated for scrapping or merging for undisclosed reasons.
While staff of NECO were jittery over what fate could hold for them if the examination body was scrapped, other Nigerians were showing sympathy going by years of shortcomings on the WAEC in successfully conducting examination and as well timely releasing results, a gap which NECO as an alternative examination body has successfully bridged.
Scrapping of NECO as contained in the committees’ report would be the greatest mistake for the education sector, he said as he called on the federal government to scrutinise the Oronsanye report to ensure that those who fell under the panel’s sledge hammer are not only those that refused to play ball while the panel was undertaking its assignment.
The Rights Activist while reacting to the reports wondered why the scrapping of NECO since it was established to bridge the gap which WAEC could not fill in successfully conducting and timely release of results of prospective candidates seeking for admission into tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
“Otherwise why would any sensible person recommend that NECO should be scrapped and its structures and statutory responsibility to be taken over by WAEC, a regional body”, Evangelist Udo further explained.
Meanwhile, normal official activities has returned at the headquarters of NECO in Minna, Niger state capital even as staffers gathered in groups to discuss what fate could have befell them over media reports indicating federal government’s decision to scrap the council alongside other similar bodies.
Though officials from the Public Relations unit of NECO declined comments when approached on the issue as they directed our Correspondent to the Registrar/Chief Executive of the council, Professor Promise Nwachukwu Okpala who was also not on seat at the time of the visit, feelers from the agency indicated that, uneasy calm among all segments of staff over the reports.
One of the senior officials who craved anonymity however told our correspondent that there was no rationality behind the moves 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 scrap its only examination body?
“Secondly, why WAEC? WAEC does not belong to Nigeria, so what does the country stand to gain by handing over structures of NECO to the WAEC? And thirdly, how possible is it for WAEC or any examination body for that matter to organize one SSCE in November and another two months later in January when they have not released the result of the one conducted in November”.
Again, have we forgotten so soon when Nigerian candidates suffer untold hardship in the hands of WAEC the senior staff said, explaining that, “During that time, open any newspaper what you see are pleas by candidates asking WAEC to release their results. The coming of NECO actually stopped all that”.
To me, talking about NECO scrapping is like retrogressing backward to may be to the pre-colonial era, “Now we are taking ourselves back to the era of colonialism. May be we should hand over the Presidency of this country back to Britain”.
( Daily Independent )