FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD Ekene Franklin Ezeunala, who scored 347 to emerge the overall best in the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) targeted 370 out of a possible 400, it was learnt yesterday.

The SS3 pupil of Meiran Community Secondary School, Meiran, on the outskirts of Lagos, is, however, happy with his mark.

He said yesterday that he was shocked to be announced the candidate with the highest score.

Ekene told The Nation: “I tried to make a good score while preparing for the examination. The score I was targeting was 370. I still feel happy that I still achieved a good result.”

The teenager, who will turn 15 May 27, said: “When I first heard I was the highest, I was a bit shocked. But I became glad and happy.”

He attributed his feat to regular participation in competitions oragnised by of Lagos State government.

“The competitions impacted positively on my preparation. Some of the subjects I did I had done them in preparing for the competitions and met the same thing in the exams,” he said.

Ekene wants to study Chemical Engineering in the university – for the love of it and to impact the society. He said he was already working on some bio-fuel research to reduce carbon emissions in Nigeria.

“I want to study Chemical Engineering because I feel that chemistry and technology can impact the general public and society in various ways; and personally, I have a flair for chemistry,” he said.

His mother, Mrs. Chinelo Ezeunala, a Chemistry teacher at Hightree College, a private school at Berger, Lagos, said she was happy about her son’s feat.

The Chemistry graduate said her son had always shown brilliance in his education and as a result skipped some classes in primary school.

“He started school early at two years plus because I was serving when I had him. He attended Philthel Primary School, Akoka. The school was owned by a professor teaching at the University of Lagos. But the woman is late now.

“In primary school he was very bright so he was promoted twice that was why he is 14 years in SS3,” she said.

Mrs Ezeunala learnt of a scholarship offer by Gregory University, Uturu, Abia State, from this reporter.

When asked if she would allow the boy to go, she said it would be discussed as a family. She said the family was not buoyant enough to afford private university fees if the offer was not a full scholarship. She said her husband was a retired staff of the defunct NITEL where he worked as a technician and had experienced hard luck in his efforts at running businesses.

She said: “We are not really well off and we cannot afford private university fees. If it is full scholarship, my opinion is ‘why not?’

The Uturu, Okigwe, Abia-based varsity, awarded scholarship to Ekene and Emmanuel Chidiebube 16, who scored 346.

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