I Was Exceptionally Brilliant, Passed Common Entrance In Primary Three – Senator Abbo

Prof Joseph Utsev's birth year was apparently indicated as 1980 while his primary education was supposedly completed in 1989.

Senator Ishaku Abbo (APC-Adamawa North) during the ministerial screening of Prof. Joseph Utsev at the National Assembly in Abuja on Monday, July 31, 2023.


Senator Ishaku Abbo (APC-Adamawa North) on Monday claimed to have taken the National Common Entrance Examination when he was in Primary Three, describing himself as exceptionally brilliant, to the amusement of his colleagues.

“I sat for common entrance examination when I was in Primary Three and I won because I was exceptionally brilliant… I passed,” he said during the screening of a ministerial nominee, Prof. Joseph Utsev of Benue State.

Upon correction by fellow lawmakers, Abbo retorted, “It’s all the same – winning and passing are all the same.”

The senator’s comments followed a question posed to Utsev by Senator Mukhail Adetokunbo Abiru (Lagos East) on his biodata where the professor’s birth year was apparently indicated as 1980 while his primary education was supposedly completed in 1989.

“On the very first page, page one, you said you were born on the 2nd of December, 1980. Now, looking further down, you attended St John’s Primary School, Gboko,” Abiru noted.

“You just wrote 1989; I’m wondering whether you finished primary school at 1989 which would suggest that you either started primary school at the age of three or two, for you to finish in 1989.”

In response, Utsev stated that his admission to primary school came in 1984. 

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“The year 1989 was when I got my first (school) leaving certificate,” he said. “That was when I passed out with a first school leaving certificate. I’m talking about primary school.”

Later, as Abbo gave his submission on the subject matter, he argued that it was plausible for the nominee to have been enrolled in primary school at the age of three.

“You may be like me, exceptionally brilliant,” he told the professor which elicited chuckles from some of his colleagues.

“Because you’re on national television, I don’t want people to go home thinking that your integrity is being called into question. You’re a professor in this country and have done exceptionally well for the university to make you a professor.”