Candidates for the Mathematics 1 and 2 papers in the 2016 November/December West African Senior School Certificate Examination scheduled to hold on Saturday in Edo State have called for the postponement of the governorship election in order to avoid a clash of dates.
The candidates, who made the called when they staged a protest at the Government House in Benin, also condemned the decision of the West African Examination Council to relocate them to neighbouring Delta and Ondo states.
The protesters, who carried placards with various inscriptions, said that conducting the examination and the poll on same day would disenfranchise them.
A total of 1,742 candidates are expected to take Mathematics 1 and 2 papers on Saturday.
But the spokesperson for the candidates, Iko Moses, lamented that the planned relocation would not only put them in a disadvantageous position but also affect their performance.
“The plan to relocate us out of Edo State, our state, to other states for the examination because of the September 10 election in Edo State is an ill wind which will affect our chance to perform well in the examination.
“We have found this situation very disturbing, discouraging and we cannot take the risk. Environmental conduciveness has a great impact on students’ performance in examinations.
“We enrolled for this examination in Edo State and we have prepared for the examination in Edo State environment. We are psychologically used to the environment in terms of safety, comfort, and accessibility.
“You will agree with me that a threat to any of the mentioned indices is a threat to us and the outcome of the examination. We want to humbly say that as the election is important to the nation so is our exam important to us. It is even more important to us because without a good education, we cannot grow up to participate in the Nigerian democracy.”
Moses, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari and all political parties to intervene in order to prevent the candidates’ future from being “sacrificed”.
He continued, “This examination is about our future and, therefore, we will not accept the risk. We call on INEC to do something about this situation. We call on all the political parties concerned to do something to save our future.”
“The examination has already started in Edo State and it will be dangerous to now move us out of the terrain we are already used to and compel us to take one of our most important examinations outside the state.
“President Muhammadu Buhari should come to our aid. The comrade governor should also come to our aid. Our future must not be sacrificed for an election.”
Another candidate, Aliu Samson, explained that he could not afford to travel out of the state for the examination due to the current security situation in the country.
Samson said, “Saturday will be the day I will be taking Mathematics. I am more than 18 years old and I am a Nigerian; it is my basic duty to exercise (my right) on Saturday by voting.