Students writing an exam

15.05.2022 Extra REVEALED: Why Sokoto and Zamfara Governments’ Refusal to Patronise WAEC Is at Students’ Expense

Published 15th May, 2022

By Mariam Hamzat

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has confirmed that students in Sokoto and Zamfara State public schools would not be sitting for the West African Senior School Examination (WASSCE) beginning on Monday. 

This was disclosed by Patrick Areghan, Head of Nigeria’s National office (HNO), WAEC, in Lagos on Monday. Although he declined advancing reasons for the development, he stated that only private schools in the states presented their students for the examination.

According to him, over 1.6 million candidates from 20,221 schools have registered for the test, of which 800,055, representing 49.76 percent, are males, while 800,724, which accounts for 50.24 percent, are females.

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In response to this, the Sokoto State Government, on Thursday, revealed the reason why state students had not registered for the examination. In a statement, Mohammed Bello, the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, to the state governor, stated that the West African Examination Council had failed to furnish the state with details of its Tax Identification Number.

In the statement titled ‘WAEC’s Default on TIN Stalled SOSG’s Engagement, Not Debt’, the state debunked rumours that debt was the reason for Sokoto’s lack of participation in the WASSCE.

It was revealed in the statement that the state had not enrolled students for the body’s examinations in the past two years because of the council’s refusal to furnish it with details of its Tax Identification Number.

Although the Zamfara State Government is yet to give a reason for the failure to enroll students for the exam, the issue of TIN provision is left hanging and unresolved in Sokoto.

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According to Muhammad Bello Guiwa, the Sokoto State Commissioner for Education, the state will continue doing business with the National Examination Council and the National Board for Technical Education Board (NABTEB), all of which, along with WAEC, it has engaged in the past. 

While Sokoto students will not be taking WASSCE, West Africa’s standardised test, they will be enrolled for NECO and NABTEB, exams recognised mainly in Nigeria.


WASSCE is a unified standardised examination taken across all WAEC member countries and offered after completion of the three-year Senior Secondary School (SSS) curriculum. As such, it is taken in the five anglophone countries of West Africa: The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

WASSCE is also used in most countries as the university admission examination and to screen students for other non-university institutions of higher learning in Nigeria and abroad.

On the other hand, NECO and NABTEB examinations are internal examinations conducted and mostly recognised only within Nigeria. Although NABTEB’s mission is to ‘become a globally acknowledged assessment body for craftsmen and technicians’, it doesn’t cover a lot of courses outside the stated.

In this light, not only are Sokoto and Zamfara public school students going to spend additional money, they have been relegated and limited because of their government’s decision.

Furthermore, not enrolling these students for WASSCE is limiting their access to healthy competition.  Rather than take exams taken across other countries and measure themselves for improvements, they are only able to compete with their counterparts in Nigeria.

Additionally, because the exam is international, its curriculum follows international standards. The syllabus is often made to keep students up to international educational standards.

Published 15th May, 2022

By Mariam Hamzat


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