A 32-year old teacher from Government Day Secondary School, Karu, Abuja, the federal capital territory, Mr Olasunkanmi Opeifa, emerged on Thursday night, in Lagos, as the best 2018 Maltina Teacher of the Year.
By the achievement, he is the best secondary school teacher as at today in Nigeria. He defeated all other secondary school teachers in both the public and private secondary schools across the 36 states of the federation to clinch the position even as Messrs Olalekan Adeeko, a Computer studies teacher at Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta, Ogun State and Samuel Popoola, a Physics teacher with Deeper Life High School, Akure, Ondo State, took the second and third position, respectively of the annual award.
The Maltina Teacher of the Year is an initiative of the Nigerian Breweries Plc on the platform of Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund, a social arm of the company, designed to identify, showcase and reward teachers who are outstanding among their peers nationwide. It is an annual event with this year’s edition fourth in the series.
For Opeifa’s effort, he went home with a plaque, certificate and N1 million plus additional N500, 000 he received as a state champion from Abuja, and he will also get another N1 million every year for the next five years while a block of six classrooms would be built by the company for his school for producing him.
His first and second runners-up colleagues also got N1 million and N750, 000 respectively for their efforts, plus another N500, 000 as champion from their states while every other state champion went home with N500, 000, bringing the total cash prize of the award to N22.25 million in all.
The winner, an English language teacher, who hails from Ogun State, commended Nigerian Breweries for the initiative and enjoined other corporate organisations to follow the example as a way of boosting teaching profession and education in the country.
He maintained that teaching is not about earning a living, but about having a strong passion for humanity and emotional stability to impart knowledge regardless of the challenges.
In his address at the event, the Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries Plc., Mr. Jordi Borrut Bel, explained that in line with its philosophy of winning with Nigeria, the company resolved in 1994, to play a more active role in the development of education in Nigeria when it established the Nigerian Breweries – Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund with a commencement capital of N100 million.
He added that in 2015, the company’s intervention in education was expanded to include teachers when the Maltina Teacher of the Year initiative was launched.
The initiative he said, was hinged on the realization that teachers hardly get the recognition they deserve in spite of the crucial role they play in determining the quality of education and the future of a country.
Borrut Bel maintained that over the years, the Education Trust Fund has impacted over 25,000 students with over 400 classrooms, 30 libraries and laboratories built in over 40 communities across Nigeria.
According to him, the intervention which has become an integral part of our sustainability agenda has covered primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education.
In his own remarks, the Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah, noted that story of the development of education in Nigeria cannot be complete without the organizer of the award, Nigerian Breweries.
He commended the company for its gesture by continually investing in the education sector across segments including schools, teachers as well as students.
Other dignitaries at the event include Mrs. Yetunde Odetayi, Permanent Secretary, in the office of the Deputy Governor of Lagos, Boboye Oyeyemi, Corp Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps and Chief Executive\Registrar, National Teachers’ Registration Council, Prof Segun Ajiboye, and a member of Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon Desmond Elliot, among others.
Since inception, the Maltina Teacher of the Year has produced four grand winners: Rose Nkemdilim Obi from Anambra State (2015), Imoh Essien from Akwa Ibom State (2016) and Felix Ariguzo from Delta State (2017) and the current champion and all of them are from public schools.