Ransome Mgbeahuru is a graduate of Mass Communication from Abia State University, Uturu, but he spent eight years in the school instead of four because he realised after spending the first four years in the school that his admission was not genuine. So he took the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination again and secured an admission genuinely to study the same course. He shares his experience with OGBONNAYA IKOKWU
You spent eight years in the university for a four-year course, how did that happen?
I’m Ransome Mgbeahuru, a former President of the Mass Communication Students’ Association at Abia State University, Uturu, during my second journey in that university. I got admission to study mass communication in 2010; at that time, the university had no portal for students to verify their admissions. So before I reported on campus, an employee of the university had already ‘helped’ me to get my matriculation number. After that, I paid my school fees and started attending lectures. I was also taking all my exams until 2014 when I was trying to get clearance (to graduate) and discovered there was a problem.
I wanted to get a diploma in law after my first degree, but something told me to get clearance first. When I went to my faculty to get clearance, my file was not found there. The woman in charge of the process directed me to the administration block to sort it out. I went there but couldn’t find anything there, so I got confused. When I shared my experience with my friends, they concluded that it might be a fake admission.
So I returned to the faculty officer to report my findings and he pointedly told me that I was not a bona fide student of the university. He told me to go back to the person that gave me my matriculation number to find out how he got it. But to worsen the matter, the person that helped me with the admission had been sacked by the university for certificate forgery. So I couldn’t reach him again. I also discovered that the four files I submitted to him only ended up in his office. I didn’t know what to do again at that time. It was just some weeks before another Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination of the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board, so I decided to take the examination again.
After taking the examination, everything started coming back – the money I had spent, the time I had wasted, and what it would cost me to acquire another degree. I felt like killing myself because I’m the first child in a family of five and my parents are not rich. I was also thinking of how they would take the news.
So when the examination result was out, I scored 183. I sat for the aptitude test again and scored over 300. Finally, I got another admission. I knew I would have to be responsible for my school fees and the cost of accommodation and textbooks because I didn’t want to bother my parents again. After four years, I graduated in August 2018 and was mobilised to undertake the National Youth Service Corps in Lagos State.
Can you estimate the amount of money you spent during your first four years on campus?
The school fees alone from 2010 to 2014 were N321,000, while the school fees for the period between 2014 and 2018 were N416,000.
Why didn’t you think of suing the school when you discovered that your admission was not authentic?
I wrote to the university to report my findings, but there was no reply. The person who ‘helped’ me secure the admission never picked up my calls again.
How were you able to take exams and get your results since your first admission was not genuine?
After our exams, the results were usually pasted on the departmental notice board for students. And at that time, no student was able to verify their matriculation number because the university had no portal, unlike now that students can verify their matriculation numbers online through the university portal.
You said you considered committing suicide or doing something drastic?
Yes, honestly it was like a moment when someone was rest assured that they had succeeded and suddenly discover that everything they had been working for had crashed and there was no remedy again. I wanted to commit suicide. It wasn’t really an easy period for me. It was my friends that helped me pull through. I want to thank the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Elezar Uche Ikonne, for revitalising my career and indeed my story changed.
How did you feel going back to school when your friends were already out of school?
I really felt disappointed. I felt like travelling out of the country and closing all my social media accounts. I didn’t want to discuss it with anybody again. It was my friends that helped me overcome the challenge. That’s why when I hear of people committing suicide, I understand that it must not have been easy for them because when depression sets in, if there is nobody around to rekindle hope in the person, anything can happen.
How did you feel when you eventually graduated?
I cried a lot when I finished my exams on August 4, 2018. My course mates wrote four years on their T-shirts, but I wrote eight years on mine. It was the happiest moment of my life because I never imagined that it could come to pass and I thank God for it.
What motivated you to return to school after the initial disappointment?
The number one thing that motivated me to go back to school was that I love studying; even my course mates will tell you that. The second thing was the determination to be a graduate one day. I told myself that I could not leave the university without a certificate. I also thought of the influence my experience would have on my younger siblings as the first son. Finally, the dream of becoming an OAP made me go back to school.
What’s your advice to people who might be depressed because of an experience similar to yours?
My advice to them is to find another person to share their thoughts with because silence kills.
How did you sponsor yourself since your parents didn’t pay your school fees again?
I sponsored myself with the savings l had intended to start up a business with after my second degree.
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