When an individual makes up his/her mind to embark on an adventure, the direction he goes is determined by several factors. It will be unfair for an outsider who was not privy to the considerations to forcefully redirect the adventurer without due consultations with him.
Similarly, several factors influence the choice of university a candidate makes. A choice of university is made after considering several factors which but are not limited to competencies/excellence in a certain field, candidates finances, University prestige, location of University and stable academic sessions.
Someone who chose UniIlorin as first choice did so probably because he wants to finish a 4 year course in 4 years. We all know that UniIlorin does not join ASUU strikes. He made his choice while aware that the school is number one destination for many Jambites. However, he preferred to fight for his place with others. Nigerians like challenges because we like to brag about our conquests to our peers and juniors. It is a culture. He knows that he could lose admission because of the stiff competition for a place in UniIlorin and yet chose to go there. Jamb has no right to redirect him to another University without consulting him.
A student who chose UI or UNN for medicine for instance should be allowed to try his luck with postutme. The outcome is entirely his business and not JAMB’s. These two Universities are reputed to be the best in terms of medicine according available statistics. I don’t know of any new ranking of medical schools in Nigeria. It will be unfair to send such a student to Afe Babalola University to study medicine. There is a motivation behind a choice made by a rational being.
The total cost of training a medical student at UNIZIK where the tuition fee is less than N50,000 per a session will be far less than the N2.7 million paid per session at Afe Babalola University. What will become of a student (UTME score 280, Medicine, UNIZIK) whose parents are both civil servants on N18, 000 minimum, if his choice of UNIZIK was changed by JAMB to Afe Babalola University? The student will ordinarily forget about admission for the year. That is depriving the student of his right to desired education. Most of those who could afford Private Universities do not bother about Federal Universities. They put the likes of Afe Babalola University as their first choice. The majority that put federal universities as their first choice are those who want affordable and subsidized education. JAMB should back track.
I made up my mind that it was UNN or no other University when I was a Jambite. My dad wanted to fix another university for me when I failed to make the cut off of my preferred course in first attempt, an offer I refused. I preferred to rewrite JAMB for a course I wanted in a university I adore. One of my reasons was that I wanted to be a lion which I became without help on a second attempt. In same way, some individuals like the Great Akokites tag; others want to be an alumnus of UNIBEN while many want to respond to the shout of great Zikites. You cannot deprive them of this aspiration not minding how trivial you may conceive them. There is an attraction that goes with name and there is a degree of success and open doors that go with established names. It is the prerogative of the individual to give up the pursuit after trying many times than for JAMB to force such a decision on him/her.
Finally, the issue of location preference cannot be overlooked. As much as one may argue that it is good to travel to other parts of the country to acquire education in other to mix up with other cultures, you cannot force it on an individual. A programme such as NYSC has been set up to achieve cultural exposure to other tribes in Nigeria. The choice of where to study is entirely that of the student in consultation with his parents who will agree or disagree based on many considerations one of which financial capability. An average parent living in Ebonyi state may not want their child to travel to Maiduguri just because of education. Apart from Boko issues, the distance will consume a lot of energy and money. Even going from Ebonyi to UI may be daunting if the parent is not wealthy enough.
I am requesting that JAMB should rescind this decision which took students unawares and look for a better way of redistributing JAMB candidates.
Each of the five affected universities has a maximum number of students they can admit based on the infrastructure on ground. What JAMB should do is bear on all the universities to conclude their admission process early. All Universities will after admission publish the list of courses where they still have vacancies. Students who did not get admitted into their preferred universities will have the option to apply for the vacant positions or wait for another year as they may wish. This exercise should start in the next academic year. Students have the right to know what they expect while filling their forms. Nigerians have been taken for granted for a long time and that should stop. Major policy change in the middle of a process smacks of incompetence and bad management. Planning ahead is the reason some countries seem to do better than others and we call them developed countries.
JAMB will have no reason to stick to the present arrangement unless they have an arrangement with private universities to bring customers to them at the expense of Nigerian students. EFCC may have to look into such partnership between private university proprietors and JAMB. I learnt that the representatives of private universities had a rowdy jubilation when this announcement was made in a meeting suggesting they were in the know of this conspiracy against Nigerian students. It should stop!!!
JAMB send the full list of students who scored above the 180 cut off marks to respective universities and leave the head ache for the candidates and their parents.

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Dr. Ngwoke, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria

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