Mrs. Sarah Sosan
Mrs. Sarah Sosan, the immediate past deputy governor of Lagos State, says in her dealings with people over the years she has come to learn the one requires continuous training for what ever one does if we want a better society we clamour for. She spoke to Roland Ogbonnaya on her unique initiative to launch a better Nigeria
Africans, naturally and culturally are courteous people, according to Mrs. Sarah Sosan, a teacher and former deputy governor of Lagos State. But the infiltration of western cultures and the quest to get rich quick have eroded these values, she added. In offices—both private and public sector, she said that the first people you meet in the office don’t know how to address or attend to visitors or potential clients, while at the entry points to the country like airports or borders, officials cannot exhibit common courtesy in addressing or education visitors on issues they are seeking clarification for. She said to correct this requires educating, training and retraining of the workforce on constant basis.
“We cannot just sit, wait or criticise or enumerate the problems, rather we should think of where to help. Sometime ago, I went to the Ministry of Education to speak to the Minister. In the discussion, I told her I was always ready to help since this is our country. So, I decided to came up with an initiative after hours of thinking of how to help where experienced people in education will be called in to assist,” she said.
Sosan said all the actor sector of the economy need training, not just the education sector. “Sometimes when you go to the bank and see the way the staff treat customers, it’s not standard enough. Even in hotels too, not to talk of when you want to travel out of the country, the experience on goes through in the hands of the various security agencies and the airport staff is bad. I know there are a lot of trainings going on but it can never be too much.”
It is in other to turn this situation around that Mrs. Sosan established a new initiative—PRF Educational Services Limited. She said PFR Educational Services Limited is not a foundation, but a training outfit to breach the gap between the educational system at the state and national level, which she said a big gap exist, especially for “those of us that have been there. We know what it is. It is like having to train all over again irrespective of what teachers have learnt in the school. I could have as well go into other areas of the economy as a private person on leaving office, but I feel education needs a lot of attention and this made me to ask myself what I can do or contribute.
“Thank God for what He has used me for as the past deputy governor and what I have been able to contribute in the education sector. Many know what I achieved there, so they will readily assist me to help our teachers she said on how to deliver properly,” on why the establishment must succeed.
She said that nobody stops learning until he dies. She gave an example of a seminar she attended in Barcelona, Spain while she was the deputy governor. She said for her to benefit from the programme, she had to conceal her identity so as to acquire the knowledge. That type of knowledge “when we acquire them we should not keep it to ourselves, rather we use it in transforming our nation, work force. Our human relation still needs a lot of training and retraining. Not for money now, but for things to work better because often times you walk out and you keep complaining. You should not just grumble, but find a way of translating that thing you learned into the general use of many people.”
Mrs. Sosan told THISDAY that the idea to start the training outfit came about eight months after she left office as the deputy governor of Lagos State. While taking her rest she had time to think and look at different areas and education, especially “and that vision became stronger and stronger. Even when people told me that I don’t need to do anything, but sit at home, but I refused. I said I still have a lot to do for the nation. I am so committed and I can’t keep quiet in anything that will make people better and they get value for their investments. Many people have also helped me by showing so much love,” she emphasised.
Even in the area of management, Sosan said her company is there to provide services and would as much as possible customise its trainings for different clients. “Like the business school abroad, I have told them that what they are doing is quite commendable and we can invite them to come down here because you will ask how many people can you fly out but you can bring them here and it will have a multiplier effect.”
While the training company continues to explore various partnerships and collaborations, it will assist others raise people to come to teach vocational skills in a very simple and modern way “because most of the way teachers learn and train the children are obsolete. We have to embrace the technological method because these days, the use of computers to do most things are commonplace. We even have a programme for handicaps.
“We cannot just sit and wait or criticise or enumerate the problems, rather we should think of where to help. Our training outfit is not designated for the educational sector alone, but across board. It’s not for the money now, but for things to work better because often times you walk out and you keep complaining,” she said.
As the deputy governor of the state, who was directly in charge of education, Mrs. Sosan cannot escape commenting on the education sector, especially in the state. She said the performance in schools is poor and declining even in private schools except few. “What some of the private schools are doing to those children is wrong. Most of them employ unqualified teachers with school certificate as teachers. So we have come out to remedy some of those problems. Look at what they learnt in teaching colleges, they are not putting them to use. So we want to remind them of the modern ways things are being done now. I want to assure you that whoever attends our training would be the best.”
As time goes on, Sosan said her company would be looking into vocational and technological training too because “I see it as a key area. When I was in office, we were able to revive our technical colleges. So we are going to assist them to raise people to teach vocational skills in a very simple and modern way because most of the way teachers train these children are obsolete. We have to bring the technological method,” she said.