Prof Ishaq Oloyede, registrar/CEO, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board [JAMB], is one of
the reference marks when it comes to areas where the Buhari’s administration made change
happen in the affairs of the nation. He has been in charge of the examination board since
August 2016 and has demonstrated that corrupt systems and inefficient institutions in the
economy can be turned around to positive and beneficial functions in society.
By making the positive change in the all-important education sector, the JAMB registrar has
made himself counted among the able men of the Buhari’s government, who have registered
visible progress in driving his legacy of bringing down corruption in order to bring back
Education represents a major frontier for redirecting the nation’s value system and Oloyede
took up the challenge with a vowed that there wasn’t going to be any compromise whatsoever
as long as he is in charge.
In six years of his stewardship, he has rewritten the story of the examination board from a non-
performing institution that needed to be subsidised to an efficient, surplus revenue generating
entity. Compared to a cumulative return of a piddling N52 million in the previous 40 years of
the existence of the board, the registrar has remitted no less than N50 billion to the federal
government in the last six years.
The remittance represents surpluses that were left after meeting all expenses incurred in
conducting examinations and running the organisation over the years. He was able to make the
shift from deficits to surpluses through new measures introduced to put adequate cost control
measures in place, block the channels of leakages and minimise corruption.
Explaining his strategy for turning the once drainpipe of government revenue into a flow
channel to the national coffers, he noted that “the board also expanded internal capacities for
its operations with direct execution of processes and procedures”. Other initiatives of the board
include the establishment of government-owned CBT centres in all the states of the federation
and minimising fraud in National Youth Service Corps mobilisation.
The JAMB’s story is a typical case of how public funds have disappeared into private pockets
over the years, denying the nation of its development capital. The board, under Oloyede, has
been able to deliver the impressive returns despite that its charges are ranked comparatively
minimal and it has cut its charges twice recently in 2018 and in 2020 by about 30 per cent.
Despite the reduction in charges, the board has continued to expand its facilities and support
institutions with the surplus – which Oloyede attributed to effective management of its
The channels of leakages have lasted for the 40 years that JAMB had existed from one
government to the other until Buhari deployed the political will to make the change. The
registrar detailed the unprecedented positive return from JAMB to the national coffers to
include over N29 billion directly returned into the consolidated revenue fund, N11 billion
disbursed on capital projects, corporate social responsibility savings of about N6 billion, among
The significant impacts made by the board are the results of strategic and structural
innovations that have changed the narratives such that JAMB now posts humongous returns to
the consolidated revenue fund, according to Oloyede.
More than the positive narration on the side of finances is the huge success that Oloyede has
made of his rescue mission of the lost standard of education in Nigeria. The educationist, who
had for years grieved over the falling standard of education in Nigeria, has seized a once in a
lifetime opportunity of his appointment at JAMB to effect overhauling changes in the system
The results of the sweeping reforms in the organisation and its procedures are expressed in a
facelift given to the running of the board, restoration of sanity and reclaiming of integrity in the
nation’s educational system.
He has lived up to his promise to see the system of selecting candidates for admission into the
nation’s tertiary institutions of learning regain credibility once again.
JAMP had lost integrity as an examination body to the point that a committee of vice
chancellors resolved in 2007 to conduct a post university matriculation examination as a second
stage screening of applicants for university admissions. This apparent vote of no confidence on
the board lasted until Oloyede set out on a mission to regain a vote of confidence for the
examination board and for the nation.
Rut had crept into the nation’s educational system as the authorities grew passive and
complacent over the years, paving the way for candidates to detract from painstaking academic
hard work to numerous corner cutting devices of passing their exams. Systems and structures in
the tertiary institutions discouraged hard working students but encouraged those taking the
wrong path to pass their exams.
Such was the big mountain ahead of the nation at the time that Oloyode took over the mantle
of leadership at JAMB. He took up the challenge to rescue the educational system through a
hard process of redirecting students and examination candidates from easy ways of passing
exams that had become the norm back to painstaking academic hard work.
Various reforms that hit the institution and its processes with a big bang followed with his
arrival at the duty post and today, they have made the nation’s prime education board one of
the outstanding places where Buhari’s change agenda is manifest. Oloyede made innovations
sweep through the operations of the institution, taking the conduct of examinations to the
realm of technology in order to outmatch technological devices that have aided examination
He crafted an effective therapy to any form of examination malpractices within and outside the
examination centres through the provision of computers and CCTV cameras. That has made it
possible to discover exam cheating with the cameras years after with a possibility of cancelling
a university admission even when a student is about to graduate.
The Oloyede reforms have policed the gateway to tertiary institutions effectively, which have
induced candidates to return to studious academic work. His accomplishments at JAMB affirm
that solutions to challenges facing societies and nations aren’t that farfetched provided that
men and women of ideas get a chance to act.