CANDIDATES sitting the General Certificate in Education (GCE) in Edo State on Saturday have been relocated to centres in Ore, Ondo State and Agbor in Delta State, owing to the governorship election taking place that same day.
This was confirmed to the Nigerian Tribune by the Head, Public Affairs Unit of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) in Nigeria, Mr Demianus Ojijeogu, on Tuesday.
He, however, explained that the relocation was not the idea of the council, but at the instance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies.
In a telephone conversation with the Nigerian Tribune on Tuesday, Mr Ojijeogu said the council wrote to INEC in Abuja, in the first week of August, notifying it that the Mathematics paper would take place on Saturday (the election day), and requested for an exemption from the restriction on movement that would be imposed on that day, for the examination officials and the candidates.
“The next thing we saw was a letter inviting us to a meeting in Benin, Edo State. It was held in the office of the Commissioner of Police. The DIG Operations, who happened to be in the state, chaired the meeting.
“Other security agencies were there. The Resident Electoral Commissioner was there. They asked us to postpone the examination; we told them we could not postpone the examinations because of its international nature and that the integrity of the examinations cannot be compromised,” he said.
That meeting, he said, took place on August 25.
“On August 29, we got a letter from INEC telling us categorically that they cannot grant our request for exemption from restriction of movement; that we should relocate the candidates to states that are contiguous to Edo State.
“So, if INEC and security agents have told you that you can’t hold the examinations in Edo State, what is left for the council to do? We looked at the contiguous states (for centres) – Delta and Ondo.
“We’ve gone to Ore; we’ve been able to get centres there. We went to Agbor in Delta State; we managed to get centres there, for candidates to relocate in order to write the examinations – still open, believing that INEC would shift ground, and that the state government would intervene and allow the candidates to write the examinations in Edo State,” he added.