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Sunday, February 20, 2011

A GENUINE SERVANT


She probably would have looked away, because she was already getting tired of waiting for the principal to arrive. Her eyes were tired of roaming and would not let her, even when she decided to rest them for a while. So she looked into space. Immediately he came in; tall and imposing, he has a deep voice that fits the sternness of his face. He collected a pen from his colleague and began to write the numbers: 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. She was struck, what was he up to? She shifted forward on her seat and concentrated on his pen. Just then, his hands went down to number 30, and he wrote his name and the time he came on the staff time book. After writing, he explained to his colleague “I left these spaces because I wanted to write the actual time I came”, she looked at the time and it was exactly 8:00 am; the same time he wrote. His name is Chuks Okani, the History teacher who is revered and admired by students of Government Day Secondary school, Wuse II, Abuja. He shares his experience with Wordzbelle and the price for being honest and genuine…

About Chuks Okani...

I was born in Jos on the 7th of November, 1963. I’m the first in a family of seven; three boys and four girls, when I was four years old, my family relocated due to the Nigerian civil war and later to Abakaliki after the civil war, where I had my boyhood and youth. I graduated from University of Ilorin in 1987.

Teaching and you...

I just had to teach as regards circumstance. As at the time I went to university I was very idealistic, I never thought of a profession, I thought that one went to school because one should, I never knew that when you graduated you worked with the skill and knowledge you acquired from the university. I never knew university was a training for life, my plan was to go to school and acquire three degrees. I wanted a degree in History, Biology and possibly in Mathematics. Fortunately or unfortunately for me, I didn’t have that much parental guidance, what my dad did was that he made sure he gave you your school fees and then you can do whatever you want with it. I ended up studying only History by the time I could go on to study Biology and later Mathematics, I discovered my father didn’t have that much money. Again, when I wanted to work I didn’t know you choose the kind of work you wanted, I thought people worked because they wanted to work if not I would have been choosy with where I wanted to work; things like satisfaction and fulfillment were the last things on my mind. Even though I was not trained as teacher I didn’t find the job difficult to do because I’m naturally gifted. I study anything I’m interested in, right now I’m interested in computers; particularly networking. I have a number of Microsoft certifications: I am a certified technology specialist, a Microsoft certified engineer and a number of other Microsoft certifications. If I have my life planned out and if I thought of employment as something that one should gain satisfaction from, may be financial satisfaction, personal satisfaction and psychological satisfaction, I probably would not have been teaching or gone into the profession.

Coping with fellow colleagues and people...

That is what I do. I do it because it is the right thing to do, if I wrote a different time from what you noticed; I would not live with my conscience. It has been like that as long as I can remember. I came to this school in January 2007 and I faced serious persecutions because I was everybody’s enemy. I don’t live my life for people, I live my life by the bible. I can stand the against the world as long as I am doing what is right. I had a case when I was working at Gowon barracks, one of my colleague went to the headquarter I didn’t know what he did and as part of the investigation the principal was asked to bring the staff time book and that was how they noticed my name and where I signed 11:00am, the boss there was furious and made issue out of it. All of this I never witnessed, I was told by those who were involved in the case, threats were made as regards the teacher who signed 11:00am but at the end of the day nobody called me to face any punishment. I had a story where two principals who persecuted me lost their jobs, I never went anywhere or to anybody to complain about it. Generally, I like to live a conscientious life, I like to live a great life; I will never go out of my way to do something that is wrong. I stand on my ground on anything I’m convinced about, that is what I do everyday. Why I left spaces and wrote my name at number 30 was because I want others to write whatever time they want because if I don’t they will not be able to write any other time earlier than what I have written. God requires me to be righteous and not compel others to do the same; let them be who they want to be. For now, that is the wisdom to reduce the level of persecution. I tell people that I do not do what I do because I hate them, I do it because it is the right thing to do. It costs me a lot everyday, I loose things: benefits, elevation and I suffer persecution everyday.

Nigeria and integrity...

Sometimes I regret being born into Nigeria, you live a self suicide life because you don’t play by the rules that others play by and people persecute you for this. I grief everyday over the level of corruption, insincerity and lack of integrity—they break my heart. The pressures in Nigeria is too much and to live a good life in Nigeria is not easy. A good Nigerian will be a saint in America.

One more thing he has to say…

One of the greatest grief in my heart is that Christians are part of this decay in Nigeria and it shouldn’t be like that. I am convinced that if 1% of Nigerian civil servants are genuine, Nigeria will not be like this. They are part of the corruption, insincerity, decay, and they are beneficiary of this crime and they sometimes give testimonies in the church about it. if twelve disciples were used by Jesus to turn the world, I believe that twelve genuine civil servants in leadership positions could cause a revolution in the country.