Why I Love My Job..FRSC Lagos PRO (Sonusi) Speaks On Her Job

Ms Olabisi Sonusi, Sector Public Education Officer of the Federal Road Safety Commission, Lagos Sate, tells ‘Nonye Ben-Nwankwo about her career and other sundry issues
Was it by choice or design that you ended up being in the paramilitary service?
While growing up, I never thought I was going to work in an office where I would wear uniform. But I know I liked making friends and meeting people. Joining the paramilitary never crossed my mind.
So why did you join the Federal Road Safety Commission eventually?
Back then in 1992, I just finished my Diploma in Data Processing. One of my aunties suggested that I should join the FRSC. That was how it happened. Over the years, I have grown to love the job. I enjoy what we do.
How has it been all this while?
When I joined FRSC, I was in the licencing section. I wasn’t going on patrol. We weren’t exposed to patrol. It made the job so comfortable for us. We would come in the morning and go in the evening. It was just like a routine. I didn’t see it as challenging. But when the section was upgraded, it was no longer as simple. But that was when all the years of experience began to pay off.
So were you ever posted on patrol duty since you joined the commission?
Back then, I was in the junior rank. In the course of my job, I went back to school and I was elevated to the officers’ cadre. I had to leave the licencing department and I was posted to the field. I became a patrol person and later a patrol leader. I had to be in charge of the men and women that were in my team.
Was it easy to work with men under you?
Once you are moving to the next cadre, you undergo training. In the course of the training, you forget you are a male or female. Don’t forget that in military and paramilitary, there is no female, we are all regarded as men. So there is no reason for you to feel inferior or feel anyhow because you are a woman. From the beginning, you are being taught to be a man. You must take charge. Having men or women working with me has not been an issue as I am an officer. Every officer takes charge irrespective of the gender.
Could it be why so many people feel that female officers are so tough?
Most of the time, naturally, we have it at the back of our minds that if we are not thorough and tough, men will not respect us. They are ready to tell you, ‘go and sit down, you are a woman.’ Some will even ask you why you should order them. That is why people fear us when we are on the road than the men. They feel that the men ‘understand’ themselves and a woman would just want to show herself. But that is not the case really. It doesn’t have anything to do with being a woman or a man. It is just that we have to enforce the law. We don’t look at people’s faces. If we go on patrol and we don’t do serious and thorough job, then it is just like entertainment. We always have that at the back of our minds. You just don’t have to show sympathy to somebody who has done something wrong traffic-wise just because you are a woman. That person may end up killing my family. I must be thorough and I must be firm. But I must be friendly at every point in time.
Are there occasions that men who broke the law tried to undermine your authority just because you are a woman?
I have had instances like that but I insisted that I must enforce the law. I don’t even need to shout or scream. I am always cautious and firm and I explain to the person why I must book him or give him a ticket. So many people have erroneous impression about women. Take for instance, if somebody is driving immaturely on the road, even without seeing the driver, somebody will just assume and say, ‘na woman dey drive.’ I have been driving for a long time and I know my colleagues ask me who taught me how to drive. Even the men are scared when I handle the steering. But now, people have started respecting women.
Are you proud of your uniform? Some people usually wear mufti and change into the uniform when they get to the office…
I am proud of my uniform. When I wear it, people respect me. Don’t forget that I do road shows. It is part of my job. When you meet motorists in the course of the road shows and give them flyers, most of them pull over and want you to educate them more. You tell them why they shouldn’t make phone calls while driving and why they shouldn’t carry an underage child in the front of the car. People would want to listen to you especially when you have something that can add value to their lives. The uniform has made me to gain respect.
It is usually believed that any woman that gets to the top of her career used ‘bottom power;’ how true is this?
Well, I have to speak for myself, I don’t know about other women. I have spent well over 20 years in the FRSC. I can stand tall and say whoever slept with me even when I was unmarried till now that I have three kids should come out and say it. I had a principle when I joined the commission. Then, I would tell any man who wanted to go out with me to build a mansion for me and a fat bank account before I could consider him. That was my defence. I knew then that my job would sustain me, so why would I mess myself up? I always had it at the back of my mind that if I got it right or wrong, it’s me. If anybody would make a reference, that person would use me. He would tell the whole world how he made me because he slept with me. I didn’t sleep my way to this position. It was just God and my diligence to my duties that brought me to this level.
Most men are usually sceptical about marrying a woman in the military and paramilitary…
My husband met me on the job. Remember I said I started this job in the 90s. He met me and married me while I was still here. There were clear indications that this is a job I love and which should be respected. We had a common understanding and it worked all the while. He didn’t try to stop me from the job. He eventually joined the commission but later left when he got another job.
How have you managed your job and the home front?
It hasn’t been easy especially when the kids were young. But my siblings were very helpful. I am the first in the family and I was taking care of my siblings. I had a very strong bond with my siblings. They helped me out when the kids were growing up. My sisters-in- law used to come around as well.
Would you support any of your children to join the commission?
Oh yes I would. My kids are proud of me because they know what I do. I do traffic report on radio every morning. I report for Ray Power in English and I report in Yoruba for Faaji FM. My second child will remind the last child that he shouldn’t talk while mummy is giving the report. I do the report for Ray Power early in the morning, so they are usually around then. Once I get the call, I tell them and they know it is absolute silence. At times, my son will jokingly ask me , ‘mummy, how is Agege looking like this morning?’ He is used to it. I have passion for this job. I go to parks and talk to drivers. If any of my children has the passion to save lives, I wouldn’t stop him or her.
Are there challenges that come with your job?
I don’t believe in challenges. I see every challenge as an opportunity. When I was asked to do traffic report for Faaji FM in Yoruba, I told them I might not be able to do it in Yoruba but I could do it very well in pidgin. The presenter called me and told me I was going to do it in Yoruba. Ah! It wasn’t easy. I know I ‘bastardised’ the language that day. But I told myself I could do better. I had to research. I had to find out what ‘Expressway’ is called in Yoruba. I know what ‘traffic’ is called in Yoruba. Now people ask me how I am able to know the Yoruba version of every word. I don’t see it as a problem; I see it that I must improve myself. I am now proactive. Every challenge is an opportunity for you to develop so that people can learn from you.
How was growing up?
It was good. My parents weren’t rich but we were comfortable. There was a time things weren’t rosy. That was when I joined the commission. I was just 19 then. I was able to train my younger ones and they are proud of me. My father would always tell us not to forget the children of whom we are. I always had that at the back of my mind. I was always conscious of what I did and still do. Whenever I want to go out of the line, I remember my name and I just come back to my sense. My brother was travelling the other day and once his passport was checked, the person asked him if he was related to the person that does traffic report on the radio and he said I was his elder sister. The person checking his passport was amazed and told him I do a great job. I had good upbringing and I am passing that to my children.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

Previous Post Next Post

نموذج الاتصال