Anjola Victoria Mautin Botoku is a student of Edidot Primary School, Badore, Ajah, Lagos. She was not too long ago awarded by the Lagos state house of Assembly At plenary as the youngest person to have achieved this feat. Anjola stood in the stand reserved for the governor and received a handshake from the Speaker. She was given a certificate of recognition and a cheque of an undisclosed amount..
all she wanted to do was prove to her elder brother that she can pass an exam. she claimed her brother had always used the excuse of studying for his exams to drive her out of his room most times when she goes to play with him. He would say “secondary school exams are serious and not like her nursery rhymes” so she decided to enrol for an exam too just to prove that she can do more than just singing nursery rhymes.
With the help of her elder brother she secretly registered for GCE even though she had to lie about her age before her registration could be accepted. She eventually opened up to her parents who were both lawyers and after several episodes of chastising they agreed to help her with her studies for the exams.
She was only able to sit for English Language and French because the time she had to prepare for the exams was short and she had not external tutor beside her busy parents. However, she went on to score credit in both subjects.
She was daring, she was dedicated and she made us proud… SHE IS A MODEL NIGERIAN CITIZEN
Read her interview with CHIOMA IGBOKWE, sharing her dreams to become the youngest doctor in Nigeria below:
I am aware you wrote last GCE exams. What was your experience during the period?
I studied a lot during the period of the exam. I even had to study books that were for SS3 students. I also studied the oldest past questions of the GCE examination that I could lay my hands on because the older the questions, the harder they are.
How did you register for GCE considering your tender age?
I burst into tears when the computer rejected me as being too young to register for GCE. I had to increase my age by five years before I could register for the exam.
What was the impression of other candidates at the exam centre?
No one believed that I was a candidate let alone give me the opportunity to write the exam; not even the examiners allowed me into the exam hall until I passed the biometric test. Some candidates were mocking me, others called me names “over-ambitious girl, wait for your time”.
What was your Exam registration number?
My Exam number was 5250802098
How old were you when you registered for the exam?
I was eight years old when I was preparing for the exam. I was eight when I wrote the French Oral exam then I clocked 9 before I wrote the English exam.
GCE is a tough examination for a child of your age. Was it very easy or very hard?
It was actually easy but the difficult part of the English exam was the summary aspect.
What were your grades in the exams?
I registered for seven papers but only wrote two, English and French because I readily had teachers in those two subjects, dad and mum. I made C5 in French Language and C6 in English Language.
Did your school participate in grooming you for the examination?
My school was not aware I was writing the exam. But what I learnt from school also played a part, so in a way, my school participated.
Even my parents got to know about my registration for the exam after my brothers helped me complete the process. My parents who are both Lawyers felt it was a daring joke considering my age but decided to groom me for the exam. The had degrees in English and French respectively before reading Law.
How old are your brothers?
They are 17 and 14.
What do you think will encourage you to do better?
If I get a scholarship into a good secondary school, it will encourage me greatly to excel because I will feel fulfilled to have stepped into my mother’s shoes. My mum won a scholarship when she was my age. I am currently preparing for entrance exam into secondary school and will so love to follow my mother’s footsteps.
Why did you write only English and French?
I wrote only English and French because by the time I made up my mind to register for the exams, time was not on my side. I had teachers in those two subjects only: mum and dad.
Do you speak so much French? How did you make C5 in French?
I don’t speak much French but my dad does. He had first and second degrees in French before reading Law. I am the former Miss French of my school. Every year, my school organises a French day and “Miss French” and “Master French” pageant is the main event for the day. I am always involved in any French related activity in my school. I am the current Head Girl of the school.
Was French easier than English? Why did you perform better in French than English?
French was not easier than English, but interestingly, I had more confidence than ability in French and the reverse was the case in English. I love French. I am an active member of French Club in my school. Daddy always told me Paris is a beautiful city. I heard of the famous French proverb “See Paris and die” and I wish to see it one day.
Did you receive special lessons in preparation for the exam?
Yes I did, in a way my dad who is a bilingual lawyer and a former French teacher was my French teacher and my mum who is a Chief Magistrate was my English teacher.
How did you feel when you passed the examination?
I felt very happy when I passed the exam but I was a bit disappointed by the result because I expected B2 or B3 in English Language.
Which secondary school do you wish to attend?
Any good secondary school will do. I am currently preparing hard for entrance exam into the Lagoon secondary school or Atlantic hall, School, Lagos. I may try Entrance Exams into some other secondary schools.
Do you have a social life?
Yes I have a social life. I love dancing. I win best dancer’s competition at most birthday parties and social functions.
How do you relax?
I play games on my dad’s ipad. I relax by watching television or swimming. I also enjoy reading storybooks and science encyclopeadia.
What do you want to become in future?
My dream is to be a medical doctor in the future, if possible be the youngest medical doctor in the history of Nigeria.
What do you think of the age limit of candidates in GCE exam?
I think limiting the minimum age of writing GCE to 13 is unfair to our youth. I think it is a barrier for young people who want to try their luck because we hear of people abroad who are admitted into university at age 9. I appeal to concerned authorities to look into possible change of the age limit of GCE candidates to allow the country break or set new world records.
If I am willing to write GCE at age 9 why can’t I be allowed to try my luck? After all, GCE is a private examination, not a school based exam.
Recently, a 10 year old Nigerian passed Microsoft Professional Exams.
If the youngest medical doctor in the world is 17 at what age did she write GCE to qualify at 17?
The youngest professor ever (Alia Sabur) became a professor at the age of 18. She became an undergraduate at age of 10. She got her first degree at 14 from New York State University.
How soon are we expecting Anjola to try the complete subject?
I hope to pass Entrance Exams into Secondary School. I am working hard towards it. I will continue reading and preparing because I may write GCE again when I am 13 years old, when I attain the official age for writing GCE.
What message do you have for children of your age?
I advise children of my age to cultivate the reading culture and be ready to learn and show seriousness in their studies because having the right attitude is better than hard work and knowledge. When there is a will, there is a way.
We don’t know how she did it but she did it….parents
Little Anjola’s father Mr. Desire Olufunmi Batoku, who could not hold back his excitement, said he cannot explain how she did it. “I could vividly remember the day she rushed to us and said that she had registered for GCE. I know that she is daring but never knew that it will take her to that length.
“It was then I got to know from his brothers that they had actually registered her and did the biometrics. Just to encourage her, we advised her to seat for just two subjects, English and French. Reason been that I studied French in school and her mother who is a chief magistrate studied English as her first degree and could help her to go through past question papers.
“Surprisingly, she hardly comes to us to help her but rather prefers to read on her own during her spare time. Since it wasn’t meant to gain admission, we did not put pressure rather helped her whenever she pops in with questions.”
What have they done that could have made her to standout in her academic, Batoku who runs a Bilingual Lawville chambers in Lagos said: “I guess one of the reasons was because she was fed with only breast milk for 5months. Another factor could be that of the time we dedicated in putting her through her education at a tender age.
She is exceptionally brilliant and her school can attest to that. If she scores 58 out of 60, she will tell you that she has bad news. She loves to be challenges and has excelled so far. But this breakthrough is another chapter in what I never knew she could do at a tender age.”