The mother of the best 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), Mrs. Chinelo Ezeunala, a Chemistry teacher at a private school in Lagos, said she was happy about her son’s feat, but sad they are not well off and cannot afford private university fees.
Mrs. Ezeunala who learned of a scholarship offer by Gregory University, Uturu, Abia State, When asked if she would allow the boy to go, she said it would be discussed as a family. She said the family was not buoyant enough to afford private university fees if the offer was not a full scholarship.
She said her husband was a retired staff of the defunct NITEL where he worked as a technician and had experienced hard luck in his efforts at running businesses.
She said: “We are not really well off and we cannot afford private university fees. If it is a full scholarship, my opinion is ‘why not?’
The Chemistry graduate said her son had always shown brilliance in his education and as a result skipped some classes in primary school.
“He started school early at two years plus because I was serving when I had him. He attended Philthel Primary School, Akoka. The school was owned by a professor teaching at the University of Lagos. But the woman is late now.
“In primary school, he was very bright so he was promoted twice that was why he is 14 years in SS3,” she said.
The Uturu, Okigwe, Abia-based varsity, awarded a scholarship to Ekene and Emmanuel Chidiebube 16, who scored 346.
But Ekene Franklin, an SS3 pupil of Meiran Community Secondary School, Meiran,who is being celebrated by the Ministry of education for making the best score in the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) may not be given admission for been underage.
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mrs Adebunmi Adekanye, while congratulating Master Ezeunala Ekene Franklin, who scored 347 in the examination, said she was not surprised at Franklin’s performance, saying he had won many laurels representing the state in competitions.
A breakdown of the result showed that he had 78 in English, 91 in Mathematics, 86 in Physics and 92 in Chemistry.
In a statement signed by the Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Education, Adesegun Ogundeji, Mrs Adekanye, she said the 15-year old came first in the Zonal final of 2018 NNPC National Quiz competition.
He proceeded and represented the South West at the National finals in Abuja.
Adekanye noted that Franklin was to lead the Lagos team to 2018 Junior Engineers, Technicians and Scientist (JETS) competition last December but when it was rescheduled, he had to be dropped to enable him concentrate on his WASSCE.
She expressed joy that a new team of SS2 pupils eventually won the competition. A feat she ascribed to the qualitative education that the State has been providing.
Mrs Adekanye said quite a number of public school pupils did very well in the 2019 UTME – like Ihejeamatu Anthony of Festac Senior Grammar School who scored 327; AbdulLateef Adeyemi of Government Senior College, Ajara (295) and Tadese Fafai and AbdulWaheed Adegbite both of Abibat Mogaji Millennium Secondary School, Agege (291 and 271).
The Permanent Secretary praised Franklin and others who had made Lagos and Nigeria proud locally and internationally.
Adekanye said their performance would encourage the government to do more in making the school environment conducive for teaching and learning and continue organizing inter-school competitions in place such as the state quiz and debate, current affairs and the like.
The SS3 pupil of Meiran Community Secondary School, Meiran, on the outskirts of Lagos, whose target was 370 is, however, happy with his mark.
The teenager, who will turn 15 May 27, said: “When I first heard I was the highest, I was a bit shocked. But I became glad and happy.”
He attributed his feat to regular participation in competitions organized by the Lagos State government.
“The competitions impacted positively on my preparation. Some of the subjects I did I had done them in preparing for the competitions and met the same thing in the exams,” he said.
Ekene wants to study Chemical Engineering in the university – for the love of it and to impact society. He said he was already working on some bio-fuel research to reduce carbon emissions in Nigeria.
“I want to study Chemical Engineering because I feel that chemistry and technology can impact the general public and society in various ways; and personally, I have a flair for chemistry,” he said.