Mr Romanus Ejikeme, father of Ejikeme Mmesoma, who the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board accused of manipulating her Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination result, has defended her daughter, saying she is innocent of the allegation against her.
This was as the founder of Innoson Motors, Innocent Chukwuma, who had offered Mmesoma N3m scholarship, demanded a probe.
JAMB had in a statement on Sunday accused Mmesoma, who hails from Anambra State, of manually inflating her UTME score from 249 to 362, thus parading herself as the 2023 UTME top scorer.
In the statement by its spokesman, Dr Fabian Benjamin, JAMB said it found the case of Mmesoma particularly pathetic as she had allegedly hoodwinked unspecting members of the public, including a businessman, Innocent Chukwuma, who offered her N3m in scholarship, while a state honour was being planned to celebrate her.
JAMB said Mmesoma’s result would be withdrawn and she would be prosecuted for “this her ignoble act.”
But in a telephone interview with The PUNCH on Monday, Mmesoma’s faulted JAMB’s claim, saying his daughter was incapable of manipulating result.
Ejikeme said, “This is a case of foul play. My daughter’s result went viral and she is innocent of the accusation of manipulation levelled against her. She printed her result the same way others printed theirs and she does not have the capacity to manipulate anything on her own.
“She was not aware of the result, it was when the result was going viral that people drew her attention to it before she went to print it out from the Internet. The result has been with her for over a month; it was downloaded and they did not detect anything until now.
“We went to the office of the Commissioner for Education to present the result and on getting there, DSS officials arrested my daughter and took her to their office for interrogation, but later released her.
“My daughter is brilliant and she has always been topping her class right from the beginning. They should make proper investigation.”
In a video on Monday, Mmesoma said she was traumatised while refuting JAMB’s allegation against her.
She said, “My name is Ejikeme Mmesoma. I’m the owner of this result. I went to JAMB portal to print this result and this is the result they gave me. This is my aggregate, 362. This is exactly how I printed and downloaded it from their site. So, they now saying I forged my result is what I don’t know and I am traumatised that they accused me of forging my results; I’m not capable of forging my result.”
Also, the Principal, Anglican Girls Secondary School, Nnewi, Mrs Edum Uche, expressed sadness over the development, insisting that Mmesoma did not manipulate her result as alleged.
She said, “Mmesoma downloaded her result just the way others did theirs. I saw 362 when she downloaded it. It was when we started seeing that someone who scored 360 has been declared as the overall best that we went to the office of the Commissioner for Education in Awka to present Mmesoma’s result.
“On getting to the commissioner’s office on Friday, she put a call across to the JAMB secretary, and thereafter, we were told that Mmesoma’s result was false.
“Shortly after, officials of the DSS stormed the office and arrested Mmesoma and took her to their office in Awka where she was asked to make a statement.
“Mmesoma is a very brilliant girl. In fact, when she could not pay her school fees, it was the teachers that rallied round and helped her to pay, to ensure that she continues her studies.
“She has been the one attending competitions for the school and we are very much surprised at the latest development.”
The principal expressed disappointment at the approach taken by JAMB on the issue.
“They promised to investigate the matter when the result was presented on Friday, but on Sunday, we were surprised to start seeing statement that Mmesoma manipulated her score without any investigation. The girl cannot falsify her result, she does not have the capacity to do so. They should do thorough investigation.”
The Anambra State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh, told The PUNCH that the state was on the verge of honouring Mmesoma when JAMB disowned her and called the DSS for her.
Chuma-Udeh, in a telephone conversation with our correspondent , said having discovered Mmesoma’s claim to be false, the state went ahead to honour another candidate, Nkechinyere Umeh, who scored 360 as declared by JAMB.
She said, “Well, we initially read on the social media that Mmesoma scored 362. But when she was invited to present her result at my office for us to honour her, it took her time to bring her result to my office and by that time, people had already started calling out to us that we were trying to honour the wrong person.
“Eventually when Mmesoma came to my office together with her principal, she brought her result and upon enquiry from the JAMB secretary, it was discovered that what she had was not the real result, so the DSS picked her from my office.
“A certificate alleged to be fake was presented by Mmesoma, who was earlier paraded as the best on various social media platforms and the security agents are investigating the matter.
“The JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, had disclosed in Abuja at the 2023 Policy Meeting for Tertiary Institutions, that Nkechinyere, Umeh, and not Mmesoma scored 360 marks to emerge the best.
“Following the declaration by JAMB, the Anambra State Government celebrated Umeh and she had been awarded scholarship to study any course of her choice in the university.”
Chuma-Udeh, however, regretted that the development was very embarrassing, coming at a time when the state government was repositioning education in the state.
UTME score: Ezekwesili demands independent investigation of candidate
A former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili has called for an independent investigation into the claims made by Ejikeme Mmesoma, an Anambra candidate who was accused of forging her 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination result by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board.
The former minister in a post made via her official Twitter handle @obyezeks said, “This saga between Mmesoma Ejikeme and @JAMBHQ requires an Independent Tech investigation to unearth all facts. Listening to her in this video, it is reasonable to request a forensic investigation to help reveal what really happened. I have reached out to the Registrar of JAMB.
“An Independent investigation would turn this curious episode into a Learning Opportunity for @JAMBHQ and everyone, especially students. I frankly see no downsides in asking a team of Independent Technology folks to investigate and publicly share their findings. Let’s do it.”
The PUNCH reports that JAMB in a statement on Sunday evening noted that Ejikeme manually inflated her UTME result from 249 to 362 and used her manually inflated score to attract a N3m scholarship from Innoson Motors and was set to be awarded by the Anambra state government before she was exposed.
But Ejikeme in a video released on Monday evening claimed she printed the “fake” result from the JAMB portal.