Sir Humphrey Ekema Monono, Registrar of the Cameroon GCE Board, has been named “The Guardian Post 2013 Man of The year”.
|Sir Ekema Monono: Always focused.|
This soft-spoken and seasoned educationist, who has brought more International honour to the Cameroon GCE Board, was awarded his prizes (a trophy and a certificate) last Saturday in Kumba, on the occasion of The Guardian Post 2013 Achievement Awards.
The Achievement Awards are a yearly event intended to recognize and reward Cameroonians and foreigners who serve Cameroon selflessly. In all, some 24 Cameroonians were given various awards including Senator Nfon V.E Mukeke,who was voted Traditional Authority of The Year and Ntumfor Nico Halle, who got the Leadership and Democracy Award
After the ceremony, Sir Ekema Monono sat down for an exclusive conversation with Recorder Editor Christopher Ambe in the former’s office in Buea.Excerpts:
Sir Humphrey Ekema monono, you are an awardee of The Guardian Post 2013 Achievement Awards. You stole the show emerging as “The Guardian Post 2013 Man of The year.” Was the news of your nomination a surprise to you?
Sir Ekema Monono: Yes, it was quite surprising and near embarrassing. I knew I had an award, I was informed and invited to come to Kumba,the venue of the award ceremony. But I did not know that it was the climax of the whole show. Ill-prepared as I was, in receiving such honor, I broke down. I was not just humble, but I broke down completely in thoughts and words.
As Registrar of the GCE Board, what is the significance of this award to you?
Sir Ekema Monono:As Registrar of the GCE Board, it only re-inforces what some tell me about the way we work. Others may not put it in that form but others call to congratulate when good things happen. Others come to find out what is happening here or there and we explain. This award is strengthening; it is reinforcing one’s vision and mission at the Board. It encourages one to carry on with work despite detractors and other evil-minded people who think that it could have been done in x or y-way. With this award, we are motivated; it is like adding fuel to a burning lamp so that it continues to shine. I wish to assure you that we accept wholeheartedly it and promise- like I said during the award ceremony in Kumba, to continue doing our little best, as the motto of the Board goes: “Measuring learning with honesty.” And I would repeat my primary school recitation, which we used to recite: “I vow to thee my country, all earthly things above, entire whole and perfect, the service of my love”. That is it I will serve my nation. I have nothing more to give my nation than working for this country, honestly.
Is this the first award you have received in your capacity as Registrar of the Cameroon GCE Board?
Sir Ekema Monono:No! Not all at. There have been many. I am firstly, a Commander of the National Order of Valour-a recognition for service to the nation. I cannot even remember some of them except we were at my home. I have been in the American WHO IS WHO since 2003.We have had awards from The Vanguard newspaper, The Star and other media. Even the Cameroon Association of English-speaking Journalists (CAMASEJ) recognized my efforts and put a red feather on my head some years back.
From the international world I have come home with other recognitions as we present papers. Most recently, The EXAMS ETHICS MARSHALS INTERNATIONAL also recognized our promoting best practices in education and gave me an award December 2013.The Institute of Education in Ibadon,in collaboration with AEAA crowned us “the Best Prepared Establishment in 2009”
There are just many; but this one from The Guardian Post was as surprising as that of The Marshals Ethics because, yours truly ,I have never known that the way I work, how we work, people evaluate us, people assess us and measure us in terms of productivity.And,I am sure it is in that line that they recognized me that much. I wish to say ‘Thank You Cameroon, and Thank You God’
Honestly-speaking, from your own estimation, why do you think you emerged The Guardian Post 2013 Man of The Year?
Sir Ekema Monono: Yours truly, I may not put my fingers at any valid indices. Those who burned the mid-night oil to come up with this result are better placed to give an explanation. And I am very certain that even the man in the street has made his contribution to the award. It is not me. I don’t know how and why it came to me. But I think somewhere, somehow, someone is listening and watching, and seeing what we are doing; and someone is appreciating the little efforts we are putting in.
Some people have referred to you as a reformer put at the Cameroon GCE Board. Can you cite some key reforms that you have brought to the institution since you took office in March 2006 ?
Sir Ekema Monono:Let’s put them in two categories:1) Technical Reforms-that is dealing with exams,and 2) Infrastructural Reforms .
Technically, we have been able to implement MCQ’s; we have been able to carry out subject reviews. You are aware that the number of subjects one is writing today are on the increase just like the testees; so the reviews are very important technical aspects to assure the clientele of the worth and merit of the exams.
In the infrastructural domain, I hope you would join me thank Government for giving us the means to implant this new GCE Board office building here, which is a sign post of our passing through this time and era. There are a lot of things I could tell you but for now let me end by saying that, there have been technical touches on the way we do our exams and there are also infrastructural touches. Let us not touch the human resources, we shall have time for that in due course.
There is no doubt that, your ‘Guardian Post 2013 Man of The Year’ award would anger your detractors and some of your admirers would like to become a laureate like you someday. What advice would you give to these two categories of people-your detractors and admirers?
Sir Ekema Monono:There is practically no use pitching one’s self against the self. Love your neighbours as yourself. If there are detractors, I would advise them to change and wear the telescope the right ,so that, we design a better future for all of us. They are detractors simply because they have the telescope on the other side. That does not make us fear doing what we are doing. We are doing what we are doing because we are convinced it is what may take the country forward. If there are detractors…I forgive them; they too should forgive for we must have stepped on their toes unknowingly.
For my admirers, I call on them to stay focused, firm and steadfast, for we have worked together for so many years as to separate now. We have to put our efforts together continuously and make it brighter for all of us. There is nothing we can do than stay focused and steadfast -both in our daily discharge of our duties, our commitment to the Almighty God and to our country, Cameroon.
Sir, conscious of the many awards you have to your credit, how you would feel if you are nicknamed “Man of Awards”
Sir Ekema Monono:[Laughs]. It would just be one of those things I had always said when I was asked by one journalist how I would like to be remembered, and I told him simply -the teacher. Award or no award, the work I do should be used as a lesson; Awards are lessons from which we draw other messages. Rather than calling me Man of Awards, I would rather remain the teacher. I love to be the teacher, I love to teach and I want that everything that comes from here teaches someone something.
Someone should be able to learn from what I am doing. If I leave the GCE Board and the workers have not learnt any thing from me, I would be most disappointed. If I leave and these awards don’t teach them anything, then I would still be most disappointed. Why are the awards coming? It is to let them stay steadfast, work with honesty and love their work, and neighbors. So, I would like to remain and be called the teacher!
As Registrar, you are the Chief Executive Officer of GCE Board. Would you say all is well at the GCE Board? Is there some crisis somewhere?
Sir Ekema Monono:The roof as they say covers a lot of things. If a house is perfect, then there are no human beings in it. When you have calabashes whether full or empty, they must cling-clang against one another when you are taking them to the market. It is when you are trying to solve the problem of your calabashes not being broken that you have a taste of life, and that makes you carry them better. There is no house without problems or peculiar problems. We as a team have our internal problems. They make life worth-living when you solve these problems; when you share them with hierarchy. If a problem is there and you know it, that is the beginning of its solution.
Our problems: the house needs money to run its exams, to pay its workers adequately, to buy its equipment etc. There may be one or two human relation problems-people not greeting themselves-which we can handle.
As at now, I think we are a solid team working for a purpose; and despite the odds and differences, the goal is our objective, That is what I can tell you.