NOUN DVC, Prof Joy Eyisi's Latest Interview With Sun

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“My former background of living with a teacher, attending school in town and the power of praises from my grandmother were germane to this turning point.”

Jet Stanley Madu

Professor Joy Chinwe Eyisi was among the Class of 2018 who underwent a Short Course on Supernumerary Policing with the Nigerian Police Force. The newly commissioned Police Officers passed out during the last graduation ceremony at the Nigeria Police College Ikeja, Lagos.

Eyisi is the Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC), Academics, at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).

In an interview with Daily Sun after the graduation ceremony at Ikeja, Lagos, Prof Eyisi told that her motivating force for enlisting with the Nigerian Police Force was to help improve the battered image of the Force. She also spoke on how she hopes to achieve her mission.

Can you give us an insight into your growing up days?
I started from very small beginning. My journey began when my parents were feeding from hand to mouth. There was little or no money to take care of my siblings and I in all ramifications. To this end, I was made to go for babysitting after which I attended afternoon school. I was one of the weakest pupils in my class. My results were so poor that I was usually called a dullard.

I was mocked and ridiculed. This demoralised me and made my performance poorer, by the day. I hated myself and hated my environment. I could not pass the Common Entrance Examination. It was this position that led to my returning to the village to live with my paternal grandmother where I learnt a lot from there. I would go to the farm, fetched firewood for cooking, and grass for goats. I would take an adventure into the thick bush in midnight search for snails as well as early morning collection of edible-winged termites. They were exciting.

There, I was deeply appreciated. Her expression of gratitude made a turning point in my life. At school, now Central School, Adazi-Ani, where I had to repeat my primary six, I was one of the brightest pupils in my class. My former background of living with a teacher, attending school in town and indeed the power of praises from my grandmother were germane to this turning point.

While I could not compete with my colleagues in the urban area, I came to the village and became the ‘village champion’. Thereafter, I was admitted into Girls’ High School, Agulu, one of the best schools in my area for my secondary education.

I make bold to say that there is nothing motivation cannot do in the life of a child. It works like magic. Besides, having tasted the bitterness of failure and the sweetness of success and was able to detect the difference, I vowed never to return to the former.

Tell us about this programme from which you just graduated?
There is a lot about the programme. It is a course with the Nigeria Police Force on supernumerary policing. The engagement is a selfless service to humanity, which involves no form of remuneration.

Why did you opt to enlist with the Nigeria Police?
The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) granted me the opportunity to do so. My former Vice- Chancellor, Professor Vincent Ado Tenebe, established a synergy between NOUN and the Nigeria Police Force. He participated in the programme with some other members of our staff. Having confirmed it worthy, he made the door open for the NOUN community. My current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, keyed into the same spirit. So, every year, he sends a number of staff for the training, granting them full support/sponsorship.

I benefited from this largesse this year. The essence is to adequately equip us with the knowledge and skills needed to function effectively in our institution and for the general public, particularly in the area of security management.

But, I have a special concern at heart. Over the years, the image of the Nigeria Police has been worrisome to me. In America, for instance, the policeman/ woman is seen as a working-class hero. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, the Policeman/woman is seen as a working-class traitor. I yearn to see how I could remedy the situation. So, I joined the Police force, not only to help redeem but also redefine the image of the policeman/woman in Nigeria.

Considering the objective for which you enlisted in the Nigeria Police Force, how do you hope to go achieve this task, because it seems somewhat an ‘mission impossible’?
Where the heart is willing, it finds a thousand ways. Where it is unwilling, it finds a thousand excuses. My heart is willing. I believe in leadership by example.

As an insider and having imbibed the ideals and qualities, it starts with my personal interface with colleagues and others in my own day-to-day activities. That is the first step. Speeches at conferences and workshops constitute another. We’ must strive to prove that the police is truly our friend. And, if I succeed in writing one or two books in that regard, I would have done something meaningful.

More importantly, in the course of our training, our Commandant, ACP Mu’azu Mohammed, and his Team equipped us with basic knowledge and skills necessary in our primary duty as Supernumerary Police Officers. We are bound to approach our duties with every sense of diligence, decency and dignity, in a cordial relationship with the Regular Police Officers. Giving the training and experiences we have acquired, I trust it is a mission quite possible.

In your efforts at achieving your goal, do you intend to network with other people?
Yes, of course, I do. The more we are, the easier it becomes. Following the success of my graduation, many of my friends and colleagues in the academia have indicated interests in the same training. Working together with committed personalities would make the journey smooth and successful.

Can you intimate us with the significance the awards you got and what you did differently to earn them?
I got two special awards. One was for the Most Valuable Student and the other, for the Overall Best Student. Indeed, work is a stubborn truth on which you can bet, the harder you work, the luckier you get. I believe in hard work.

As a student, at the Police Training College, I was devoted to duty, in classroom exercises and field work. While I enjoyed the classroom activities, the field work particularly, the parade was tedious for me. I discovered my areas of weaknesses and worked tirelessly on them. Apart from general drills, with my colleagues, I also went for private drills. My instructors also devoted their time and energy to give me extra coaching.

There were ten different examinations, on ten courses, taught by ten different lecturers, and then the Commandant’s general/individual assessments, comprising parade and viva. I was committed to all of these. Overall, I am specially ennobled by the crème de la crème of the staff of the Police Training College, Ikeja, and my Alma Mater. I am happy that my hard work was appreciated. I am thrilled. I am humbled and also challenged.

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