I Don’t See Myself As A Boss -Mayowa Warebebe

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Mrs. Maria Mayowa Warebebe, is the proprietress of LizDav Academy. She is a graduate of education who once venture into fish farming because of her industrious nature but by divine

providence she crossed over to running of school.

Today, there is no gainsaying the fact that this restless woman so to speak, who wakes up every 5am to start tending and caring for her family is a huge success. Interestingly, in the midst of all her crowded schedules, she has ample time for the home. In this interview, with the Editor-in-Chief of Nigerian Academic Excellence, Benedict Ahanonu, she says it all…

How did you get the vision for LizDav Academy?

I started LizDav Academy on February 1, 2010 but the big story today evolved from a daycare centre and the thought then was how am I to go about everything because formerly I was into fish farming but I actually have passion for children and that passion made me go into daycare. Later I discovered that the passion I have for the children is more than the farming business so I had to quit farming and face the kids  squarely.

Initially, I was working with my staff at the daycare centre and they were two.  Sometimes, parents do come in the

morning to bring their children to me without knowing that I am the owner of the business.

We started from a 2-bedroom flat in  my apartment but after that term, parents started urging me to carry on because of the special way I handled their children.

However, I kept asking myself the question, can I really do this? Reason is, I am a very quiet person and I saw the business as something that will make me start talking but I prayed over it anyway and the Holy Spirit said go ahead so that was how I summoned the courage to continue.

I had a sister with me then. When I told her about my plans, she said, “Elder sister is that why you are worried? We can do it.” Immediately, we started jotting down things we needed to start. She suggested that we should begin during the August holidays and both of us were the first teachers; children came in from other schools to join those we had already that graduated from our daycare as pre-nursery pupils and we pressed on courageously.

After the holiday lessons, more children came to our school so we began to look for teachers we can employ and also had to open the next vacant flat in my house for the primary section where I equally taught.

My sister later returned to the University of Ife, to continue her education then I had to take full charge.

I engaged the services of three teachers and we proceeded swiftly.

With the need for space becoming pressing due to the increasing number of pupils, we had to move to the present

location we are. When we came in here, the place was not really developed. It was just a forest, but we started in earnest and gradually everywhere became developed.

 

What is the secret of your success?

My secret hinges on working hard and prayer because even if you pray and did not strive enough, it won’t work due to the fact that both of them goes together and it is only God that crowns efforts with success.

Whenever I want to do something, I’ve to go with prayer and I’ll still work very hard for it.

At times, you work very hard and you might not succeed but don’t give up. Keep pushing and you will find out that by the time you try it one or two times, you will get there.

 

Any challenges so far?

Yes. You know, at times people don’t tend to understand you because they don’t want change. Reason is this, when I came into this environment newly, there were so many people who seemed like didn’t want something different from what they know.

They saw it as trying to stress them but just by God’s grace and sustained efforts as I stated earlier, they later came to the realization that this thing is okay, and they eventually embraced it.

What is unique about LizDav that will compel parents to bring their children?

Why we say LizDav is outstanding is because we have good teachers who are God-fearing, dedicated and hardworking. More so, I don’t see myself as a boss, rather, I see myself as a co-worker and colleague. We do the work together. No boss-employee intimidating relationship. Though some of them see it as unusual but it challenges them to give me the best they can offer. In that wise, I believe we are very unique even as we painstakingly take are of every child that comes here to learn, while ensuring that we meet the specific learning need of every child.  We are also unique because we didn’t merge primary and secondary school. That enables the children to learn well. Lizdav also caters for children and pupils with special needs.

What are the teaching and learning facilities you have?

O! Quite a lot; we have a standard library and our science laboratory is the best in town. Our library is adequately stocked with relevant textbooks and other learning materials.

We also have a Computer-based Test Centre (CBTC) for the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB)

examination here at LizDav Academy, equipped with over 450 computers. We equally do computer training for our

children and the essence is to prepare them for the JAMB Computer Based Test and for the emerging 21st Century global economy that is computer driven.

Right from the nursery and primary, we start giving them compulsory computer training. In addition, we have an agricultural science laboratory that is well-equipped and up-to-date.

 

How many teachers do you have?

LizDav employs about 65 trained, qualified and competent teachers.

 

What is the school population?

It is appreciable and we are grateful to God.

What is your advice to the youths?

I will say that they should be hardworking as such would help them get there. They should also try to be selfemployed and here at LizDav Academy, we train our pupils and students to be selfemployed

with the teaching of vocational subjects like soap and paint-making. In fact, the paint we used in renovating our

school was produced by the students so if you come to LizDav, you will be educated, trained and empowered.

I advise the youths not to be dependent solely on certificate qualification for whitecollar jobs because somebody who is selfemployed and determined, can earn more than those working in offices.

I believe that the youths have a brighter future even more than us but the only thing is that they should be eager and ready to take their chance and do the needful.

Success comes only by determination and dedication, not by accident.

How do you combine your family front and the school?

I actually have time for my family. On Saturdays and Sundays, I stay with them even if I am to attend any function, I go with them. Interestingly, I don’t have a house help.

How did the name LizDav, come about?

It is a customized name coined from the name of my daughter, Elizabeth and my son David.

How does your normal day start?

Everyday, I wake up at least by 5am, pray, do my household chores and by 7:30 am I am at the school.

Is LizDav approved by the government?

Yes, my school has all the necessary approvals and recognition by government. We have our WAEC, NECO and NABTEC centre; and just like I told you earlier, we have a CBT centre that is accredited by JAMB.

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