• Mother of Lotanna, who scored 99 in 2023 UTME, says son predicted setting Maths record
From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
Fifteen-year-old Lotanna Azuokeke, SS3 student of Bishop Otubelu Juniorate School, Trans-Ekulu, Enugu, Enugu State, amazed Nigerians with his 99 per cent score in Mathematics at the 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). He said his “demystification” of Mathematics in the examination was not by magic but by intense and constant studies.
He is the firstborn child of Mr. and Mrs. Azuka Okeke of Oba in Idemili South Local Government, Anambra State. He told The Education Report: “I love Mathematics so much, as solving it keeps me thinking.”
He has two siblings, a girl and a boy, all of whom are in the same Bishop Otubelu School.
Besides scoring 99 per cent in Mathematics, he scored 88 per cent in Chemistry, 86 per cent in Physics and 64 per cent in English Language culminating in 337 marks, breaking the JAMB record of his school, 329 marks set by Chidera Obi five years ago.
Lotanna, who is called “Soldier” in the family, said: “I was motivated to read. I read properly, I studied my books. I constantly went through past questions. I read textbooks and I made sure I finished the textbooks before the main exam.
“I was motivated first of all by my parents, the school principal, our Bishop, Rt. Rev. Onyeka Onyia, Anglican Bishop of Nike Diocese and the teachers. They gave us guidelines on how to solve and answer the questions.
“We did extra lessons in the evenings. We engaged in extra lessons personally for the JAMB and WASSCE. All students also engaged in it for everybody to understand and have good knowledge of the particular topic in each subject.”
He intends to study Electrical Electronics: “I hit Mathematics 99 per cent because I have been solving Maths for quite a long time. Since my SS1, I’ve been solving ahead. I studied past questions, went through, and studied extra textbooks.
“I studied beforehand. Before a teacher came to class to teach that topic I made sure I solved that topic. Anyone I didn’t understand, the teachers would always explain it in a way that I would be able to solve it in the best way I could.
“Since my primary school I always had this love for Maths. Any time I solved Maths, it was always something that kept me thinking. I would not like to leave a question unsolved.”
On what to expect from him in WASSCE: “You should be expecting A1 in Mathematics, in all, nine As. On my English Language score, well, I read English maybe I had a small problem then. Maybe I did not really prepare well for the subject. But by His grace, during the main WASSCE, I’ll make A1 in English.
“I intend to study Electrical Electronics. I’ve always had this love for Physics and Maths. And when you talk of Engineering, you talk of these two subjects. They are the main building blocks for engineering courses. I’ve always like doing electrical connections. I’ve always enjoyed and have this flair for them.
“My dad was science inclined. He scored A1 in Chemistry and Maths. He studied Civil Engineering. My mum studied Economics in the university.
She came out with a Second Class. They have always been the people that are encouraging me to read my books.
“I felt proud of myself. I have not really let it get to me so that I can face my next examination. I am still putting my maximum concentration in reading for and preparing for my WASSCE. I am happy all our students performed well. Most of them did very well and got good scores. They are brilliant students.
“Our teachers are very good. They are all well trained in their various fields. They give us understanding of each topic that they teach. Our environment is clean nothing like distractions.
“It is a quiet environment where you can always read and understand what you are reading. And we don’t forget about our studies. We always have our time for reading. There is time for everything.”
His advice to other students: “I advise them to concentrate on their studies. They should not let distractions come on them. They should always read their books constantly. They should also try to follow up with teachers in doing assignments, class works and understand their topics properly.
“It is not by magic that I got the score. It was by constant practice because practice surely makes perfect. If you practice and solve Maths constantly or solve your special subjects constantly, you get very high score in the main JAMB.”
Principal of the school, Mrs. Faith Onuoha, said: “Lotanna’s UTME score was the highest we’ve had since the inception of this school in 2007. The last we had was 329, that was five years ago. Now he has decided to beat that record.
“In his set the next to him is 293. We had 291, we had 289, they did well. I will say 97 per cent of our students in this last UTME scored above 200 and we had 71 students registered for JAMB.
“Though the school was not surprised at his overall JAMB result, but we were surprised that he scored 99 per cent in Mathematics. This is the first time we are having 99 per cent in Mathematics. It is amazing for a student to get 100 per cent in a subject. We give God all the glory and kudos to the boy too.
“The boy has been doing well before now and representing our school before. Last year, he went for NNPC Mathematics competition. There was a day he went for two competitions and did well, all in sciences. He has been a brilliant student.
“We were expecting 300 but not 99 per cent in Maths. We are expecting not less than seven As in his WASSCE. You know all these science people, they may not do very well in something like CRS and English. Not that he will not pass English , he may not have A.
“People are calling to know about the school even from outside Enugu. Enquiring how would they bring their children to this school, wanting to know more about the school. If you stay longer now, you see people coming to make inquiries. We are ready for them.
“We have enough teachers. Like in Mathematics and English, a separate teacher for JS1, separate for JS2, separate for JS3. We have our rules, we don’t take more than 30 in a class. In our dormitory, the capacity is 500. Once we get up to that we stop, it is all boarders.
“The present population of the school is 411. We will not exceed 500 no matter what. We will not go beyond our capacity as we do not want to lower our standard.”
Lotanna’s mother, Lilian, told The Education Report: “When I got the news, I was really, really ecstatic, I even burst into tears. It was something he did say he was going to try to achieve. Hearing that he did achieve it, I was very happy, really happy. The father and I were really happy to get such news.
“Oh yes, he has always been brilliant. One thing about Lotanna is that he is a very competitive person. Once he gets in school, he first bserves and sees who his competitor is. Who is that person that he has to beat? He goes to work.
“He is a hard worker and someone that goes
on to achieve whatever he sets to achieve. That’s the kind of person he is. I don’t think there has been any time Lotanna is not the first in his class. He has always taken that first position.
“One thing I will tell you for sure is that Lotanna is a very God-fearing child and honest. Sometimes I am challenged by it. He
is not somebody that you would like to be told lies. He is very honest and committed to whatever he is doing. We call him soldier here in the house because he is somebody that is disciplined.”