Thaddeus Ifeanyi, a 31-year-old graduate of the Delta State University, who is contesting his final result from the varsity, tells MATTHEW OCHEI about his grievance his grievance.
WHY WROTE A PETITION TO THE DELTA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY AGAINST DELTA STATE UNIVERSITY, WHICH IS YOUR ALMA MATER. WHAT IS YOUR GROUSE WITH THE SCHOOL?
My name is Thaddeus Ifeanyi. I am a 31-year-old graduate of Sociology from the Delta State University, Abraka. My Matriculation Number is FSS/10/11/183959. I graduated in the 2013/2014 academic session. The university claimed that I graduated with less than 3.0 CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average), which is Second Class Lower, but I strongly believe that I graduated with Second Class Upper Division. My grouse with the university is that I strongly believe that there was an error in the computation of my CGPA. I am not convinced that the result they gave me is correct, but all my efforts to get it corrected have proved abortive.
WHY DO YOU FEEL STRONGLY THAT THERE WAS AN ERROR IN THE COMPUTATION OF YOUR CGPA?
I kept a record of my exam results for each semester from 100 Level to my final year.
FROM YOUR ON CALCULATION, WHAT CGPA WERE YOU EXPECTING?
By my own calculation, it was 3.57 above. I expected at least Second Class Upper Division because I studied for it. And this is why I am calling on the general public and men of goodwill to speak up for me..
BEFORE RESORTING TO WRITING PETITIONS AGAINST THE UNIVERSITY, DID YOU COMPLAIN TO THE SCHOOL ABOUT THE ALLEGED ERROR IN THE COMPUTATION OF YOUR RESULTS?
Yes, I did. I promptly protested the final scores allotted to me in each course, especially my final year courses. I have been on this case since 2015. I wrote to the university management on January 15, 2015, requesting to see my final examination answer booklets for 400 Level. I wrote a protest letter to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, who later became the Vice-Chancellor. Rather than oblige my request, the university management took offence, threatened me and demanded that I tender an unreserved apology to the lecturers in the Department of Sociology. They said I should publish the apology on the school’s notice board.
DID YOU WRITE THE APOLOGY LETTER?
Yes, I was coerced to write the letter because they threatened that if I did not I would not be deployed for NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) along with my mates. Now, having completed NYSC, I feel even more shortchanged and that is why I have continued to protest. On February 1, 2016, I wrote another letter to the university management, asking them to let me see my answer booklets for my final year examinations.
WHAT WAS THE UNIVERSITY’S RESPONSE TO YOUR SECOND LETTER?
Having realised that the university was not ready to listen to me, I approached the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, Asaba and presented my complaint. On February 22, 2018, the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria promptly wrote to the Vice-Chancellor but the letter was never replied. A reminder had to be sent to the VC after some time. The university then called for my exam scripts and sent them for remarking. But after the remarking was done, the university didn’t communicate to me on the outcome; instead, they issued me a warning letter.
WHAT DID YOU THEN?
On September 30, 2019, I wrote a letter to the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly and on November 12, 2019, I wrote to the Delta State Commissioner for Higher Education, calling for assistance but the ministry said it was an internal affair of the university and directed me to the VC.
On December 10, 2019, I wrote a letter to the new VC, giving him a summary of the issue and appealed to him to wade into the matter. I got a reply on January 3, 2020, but it was not on the university’s letterhead and it was not stamped.
When I approached the Register’s office with the letter, they denied that it was not from them. They asked me to write another letter. I did and submitted the letter on February 28, 2020. The university replied with a letter dated March 16, 2020, but I received it on September 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They stated that they had investigated my case and that my class of degree remained Second Class Lower Division and that the matter was closed.
AS THINGS STAND, WHAT IS YOUR NEXT MOVE?
Nobody wants to listen to me. The search for justice has been associated with anguish, anxiety, depression and insomnia. I don’t know what it will cause me next. This thing is seriously affecting me. I have considered committing suicide; it is the thought of my parents that is stopping me. But for how long can I hold back?
WHY IS GRADUATING WITH SECOND CLASS UPPER DIVISION SO IMPORTANT TO YOU? HAS THE FACT THAT YOU SCORED OR WERE GIVEN LESSER GRADE STOPPED YOU FROM GETTING A JOB?
It is important to me to advance my career. I applied for a master’s programme in 2019 at the University of Ibadan and despite that I scored 61 when the cut-off was even 40, I was not admitted. When I did my findings, I was told that they considered Second Class Upper besides the fact that I submitted only one referee instead of three as required. But the reason I submitted only one referee was that my department refused to reference me.
A professor in the department once told me that because I was fighting lecturers for my result, I would not be able to do my master’s as none of them would reference me and my academic transcripts would not be released.
I feel really shortchanged. I have written to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, begging him to ask the university to produce my 400 Level exam scripts. That’s all I’m asking.