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What motivated us to win FCTA Staff Recognition Awards
—Classroom teachers Zuru and Opeifa

Jul, 2021 | By Abdullahi Mamman | ||

The maiden edition of Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Staff Recognition Award ceremony has come and gone, but the memories linger. Staff who received awards for hard work, dedication, innovation and punctuality are yet to recover from the euphoria of the event. Many have praised the awards concept as a welcome development by the Muhammad Musa Bello-led FCTA as it has helped boost workforce morale and increased productivity. Staff members are already looking forward to the 2021 edition. Abuja Digest Weekly duo of Josie Mudasiru and Sarah Odugbo spoke with two of the recipients of the awards, Mr Musa Nuhu Zuru of Government Secondary School (GSS), Kubwa, and Mr Olasukanmi Opeifa of GSS, Karu, who are contributing to changing the face of public education. Excerpts from the interview:

Abuja Digest Weekly: What is the driving force behind your success as a teacher?
Zuru: My interest and love for children have been the major driving forces behind my success as a teacher. More so, it is my interest to serve humanity because the teaching profession is more like where instant dividends are not to be expected. Rather much reward comes with patience.
Opeifa: Choosing to be a teacher with the sole aim of getting better than yesterday is the driving force of my success as a teacher. Despite the fact that I got to stardom through competition, I never intrinsically competed with anybody. I sought and still seek to get better than my previous success stories always by embracing critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity.

Abuja Digest Weekly: How long have you been in the teaching profession?
Zuru: I have been in the teaching profession at both primary school and secondary school levels for about 29 years.
Opeifa: Altogether with my volunteering years while I was in the university, I have spent 17 years, but professionally 13 awesome years.

Abuja Digest Weekly: How do you feel about the recognition from FCTA? Did it come as a surprise or was it something you expected?
Zuru: I feel surprised and at the same time elated. It is really an honor to be recognized by FCTA without any lobbying or anything attached, but strictly based on my industriousness and productivity. To be honest, this came to me as a surprise because I did not expect such height of recognition.
Opeifa: Being recognized as FCT Staff of the Year came as a huge surprise even though I have been expecting a form of recognition but not this big— Staff of the Year! Not Teacher of the Year! It's a big response to a lot of questions around me since my emergence as the Best Teacher in Nigeria under the Maltina Teacher of the Year award in 2018 and 2020 Global Teacher Prize Top 10 Finalist. It came in a big way and I really proud of the leadership of FCTA.

Abuja Digest Weekly: Do you have, or intend to have, a mentorship programme for upcoming teachers?
Zuru: I am really interested in mentorship programmes especially for upcoming teachers. Such programmes are already ongoing in my school especially in the Professional Learning Community (PLC) and the Modern Teaching Approach (MTA). The PLC is a programme where young, new or inexperienced teachers are brought into the gathering of professional teachers. There, the inexperienced teachers are mentored by the experienced ones such that the flaws and weaknesses of the former are discovered and treated by the latter. At the same time, the school head stands as a guide and a team player rather than being just a 'boss'. This, coupled with the full implementation of the MTA, has made teaching and learning easy and worthwhile.
Opeifa: Yes, I have a mentorship programme for any teacher who is interested in standing out among equals and willing to look inwards. There, I take them through several courses that can propel them to become outstanding in this noble profession. It can be both on-site and online. Many have reached out to me through my social media handles and we are having resourceful engagement.

Abuja Digest Weekly: What is your advice for those who would like to go into the teaching profession?
Zuru: I implore those intending to go into the teaching profession to develop, first, interest for the profession. They should not join the profession by accident. This is because teachers deal with young minds that are the hope of tomorrow. Hence, any injury on their destinies amounts to injury on the nation and the world of tomorrow. Such an intended teacher should likewise see the profession as the best profession. This will make him give in his best to the profession's demands.
Opeifa: First, I warmly welcome them. As teachers, we are natural leaders and we lead a life of sheer sacrifice. Yet it pays. Be willing to work with your heart and enjoy the fulfillment of seeing human beings made as a result of your influence. Seek to learn and you grow. And let excellence be your breastplate. In no time, you will reap the reward of diligence.

Abuja Digest Weekly: Who are you dedicating your award to?
Zuru: Firstly, I dedicate this award to God Almighty on Whose purpose I operate. Secondly, I dedicate it to the award team who deemed it fit to reward me even when I thought no one was seeing me. I also dedicate this award to my wife for all her support. Lastly, I dedicate it to my late father, Mr. Nuhu Gago (in loving memory).
Opeifa: Golden question! I dedicate my award to God Almighty Who directed me into this job. I dedicate it to my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Opeifa, for their sacrifice in giving me education. I dedicate it to my students for serving as sources of inspiration and creativity. And beautifully, I dedicate it to my darling wife, Tope, for choosing to marry a teacher, and to my children for their unflinching understanding.

Abuja Digest Weekly: How do you hope to sustain this amazing feat, especially in the area of capacity building programmes?
Zuru: I wish to state that my motivation towards innovation and creativity in my school to date was inspired through a seminar/workshop organized by the FCT Secondary Education Board for school heads. There, the resource person emphasized the need for school heads to adopt innovations in their various schools so as to lift the school up from the outdated school system to somewhat new, measuring up to standard. Therefore, I implore the FCT Secondary Education Board and Education Secretariat to make such workshops and training a regular programme for school heads. I will draw achievable plans to be implemented in each academic year. I wish and hope to do more amazing things through continuous thinking and problem discoveries as it concerns the education system.
Opeifa: Sharing is growing. I hope to organize a lot of trainings for teachers in my school and across the FCT with the support of my bosses. At the same time, I will continue my collaboration with other great teachers out there in order to get better. To stop learning is to start dying. I am a lover of knowledge and this I will continue to do.
Abuja Digest Weekly: Thank you so much for what you are doing. We hope that others will emulate you.

News Update

Unfurling a seven-leg package of measures, it said some of them were already in place from early May, 2021 when symptoms of the diarrheal disease surfaced, adding that this included the formation of Cholera Emergency Operation Centres.

Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, who received the delegation, expressed excitement about the project, saying that establishing the medical centre in Abuja will not only attract people seeking medical attention within the African continent.

The minister who gave the stop work order during an inspection tour of facilities at the primary healthcare centre, also revealed that the FCT Administration would set up a committee to ascertain the viability of the ongoing construction work to the primary healthcare centre.

In a move that will bring sunshine and joy to residents of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senate has passed the sum of N329, 963,491,523 billion as statutory budget for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the year 2021.


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