Meet Anjola Mautin Botoku who caused a stir in the media space when she passed the papers she sat for at the November/December 2013 West African Examination Council (WAEC), an examination typically meant for 16 year olds and above. The SchoolTips& More team took time off to meet with her.
She exudes the aura and intelligence that you would rarely experience with a nine year old. Her answers to questions would get even an adult thinking. When we asked if she was going to skip classes at any level of her education considering her high intelligence, her response was one that was well thought out. “I don’t believe in skipping classes.
When you skip classes you won’t have the opportunity to learn all you need to learn to advance to the next level of your education. A friend of mine who was in primary 4 skipped classes to Junior Secondary School (JSS)1 and she is complaining that she is not coping mentally and otherwise.”
So why then did she decide to write WAEC if she does not intend to skip classes? Anjola says it was all out of inquisitiveness and also to prove to her elder brother who was preparing for the same exams that it was not a big deal after all. Her brother reminded her that secondary school exams are not nursery rhymes but all the same, he gave her the needed assistance by registering her for it. Her parents were informed of her wish and they volunteered to tutor her for the exams after an initial resistance. Her father who is a bilingual Lawyer tutored her in French while her mother who is a Chief Magistrate tutored her in English. She went ahead with the registration of seven subjects but wrote only two subjects (English and French) seeing that she readily had tutors in those subjects. She had credits in the two subjects. May we also add that she increased her age to 13years just so she meets the qualification age for the examination.
With an accent that accentuates polished diction and confidence, she goes “oh sure” when we asked if she browses the internet. Of course we were inquisitive to find what websites a 9 year old would be visiting. “I regularly visit educational sites. Like there was a site our teacher asked us to visit. I can’t really remember the address because I was in primary 4 then but it was a mathematics site. I also visit sites that you can learn about spelling.”
One might think our little princess has it all covered but it is interesting to find out that there is a subject she does not particularly like. “I don’t really like Civic Education. It’s not easy for us in primary six. It’s hard because you have to learn about foreign companies and their leaders. It’s hard to learn everything when you have other subjects to learn.”
Well, that doesn’t mean that she does not have tabs on a bit of what is going on around the world. She intimated us about the missing Malaysian plane and also had her opinion about the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido. “I think his suspension was right,” she said with a tone of finality.
And oh, Anjola has an interesting take on leadership in Nigeria. “I think many people that Nigerian leaders are surrounded with are the ones who are corrupt. Like the ministers and all. If the president is surrounded with good people, he would do better.”
It might surprise you to find out that Anjola is not all books. She loves her parties and she says that Davido’s Skelewu is her ‘hit’ song at the moment. So, this implies that the saying “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” stands true.
Apart from her mother, Anjola says she admires Funke Akindele and Justice Ayotunde Philips, the Chief Judge of Lagos State who she happened to have met. She denies herself TV sometimes in other to read, especially when she has pending exams, but when she switches the TV on, she is a National Geographic and Nollywood movie channel follower.
For now, Anjola says she is basking in the euphoria her feat has provided her and she is looking forward to trying out the WAEC exams again in JSS3, this time, she would add Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology to the papers she would write.
Her last word goes out to kids her age, “they have to buckle up and face their studies. People that are big today got there through hard work.”
Writers Hint: if you want to raise a powerful and confident girl child, encourage her to express her opinions. Ask her about her opinion when things spring up. This will make her feel like she is important and is being heard. This would also give her the much needed confidence to speak up in the outside world. If her opinions are different from yours, don’t fight it. If she feels like she has to agree with everything that you say, she will not have a mind of her own when she is older.