Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Francis-Xavier – The Truck Pusher Now Turned Lawyer

If you are one of those who have never understood what the aged mean when they express the adage “Never despise smaller beginnings”, then you ought to meet Francis-Xavier Kojo Sosu for him to tell you about the sad but inspirational story of his life which has made many have a change of mind, attitude and feeling of themselves.

Titicaca as he’s affectionately called by his peers, Francis began life on the streets of Accra during his childhood days, apparently searching for what will help him break the vicious cycle of poverty in his life and family. As determined as he was, he never despised his smaller beginning and today, he is an icon of hope to many Ghanaians including his family members. At the WAEC Hall in Tamale and in the presence of about 500 Senior High School (SHS) students, he recounted a chilling story about himself during a program dubbed: “Public Schools Orientation Tour 2011/2012.”

Struggling Times In Francis’ Life

Francis grew up through incredible challenges, becoming a homeless street kid several times. He was born in 1979 to a poor and deprived family in Accra New Town; to a mother who was a victim of “trokosi. Just as his mother was a slave to the shrine for many years of her life, so was his father a slave to alcoholism after he lost his business in 1982 during the repatriation of Ghanaians from Nigeria.

Born into a family of six siblings, daily life was a matter of survival to Francis as he became a street kid, hanging on to any job: selling iced water, pepper, tomatoes, fruits, kerosene, boiled corn, roasted plantain, among others, to keep body and soul together. Francis recalled that sometimes he pushed trucks and served as a porter (Kayayei) at the Mallam Atta Market to survive.

Due to his disadvantaged background, Francis said he began nursery school at age 8, adding that, despite the challenges, he humbly endured life, keeping his eyes on EDUCATION which was his means to a successful life. “I knew it was only through EDUCATION that I could make something out of this life. Though I grew up among social miscreants like drug addicts and pushers, alcoholics, thieves and the like, my desire for a better future through EDUCATION made me defy all odds and remained uncontaminated by the bad morals that surrounded me.”

Talking about his successes in EDUCATION, Francis recalled that he passed the Basic Education Certificate Examination with distinction and in his first year in SHS (St John’s Grammar SHS), picked six awards while learning with lantern, because there was no electricity at home.

He also became the Senior Boys Prefect of St John’s SHS and the Students Representative Council President of Accra Zone 5 (zone 5 consist of schools such as Amasaman SHS, Oso-Doku SHS, Ghanata SHS, West African SHS, Presby Boys SHS and St John’s).

By keeping his eyes on EDUCATION and hoping to become a lawyer one day, Francis rose beyond his deprived background and now an icon of hope to all students, parents, teachers and care givers in general.

Achievements So Far

Today, Francis-Xavier Kojo Sosu is a Barrister and Solicitor of the Superior Courts of Ghana and a managing partner to F-X Law and Associates (public interest, oil and gas, tax, corporate and commercial) lawyers and formerly of Logan and Associates in Accra. He holds a BA (Hons), LLB (Hons) and Master of Philosophy (Sociology) which is yet to be awarded, all from the University of Ghana, Legon.

Barrister Francis is also an author of four books: Love Lifted Me from the Street; Understanding the Storms of Life; Overcoming the Storms of Life, Becoming a Hero and now Homeless, the latest of his publications which has been assessed and recommended as a supplementary reader for all Junior High and Senior High Schools, Technical and Vocational Institutes and Colleges of Education by the Textbook and Educational Equipment Committee through the Curriculum Research and Development Division of the Ghana Education Service.

Barrister Francis also at the moment serving as a part-time lecturer in Business Law, at Knustford University College at Accra, East Legon; a founding member of a group called Lawyers’ Action for Christ, a Christian Lawyers’ Association devoted to legal aid services and working as its secretary. Aside being a legal practitioner and lecturer, the Titicaca man is also a gospel musician currently with one album titled ‘Don’t Give Up My Brother’ released in the 2002.

Class representative (2008/2009) Ghana School of Law; Class representative (2006/7-200/8 Academic years) – Faculty of Law University of Ghana. Senator – Law Student’s Union, Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, (2006/2007). Legal Advisor, ‘Legon Today’ magazine, (2006). Public Relations Officer, Biotech Foundation, Ghana (2004/2007). Public Affairs Manager, Vital Idea Services (2003-2005). Public Affairs Officer, Village of Hope Gomoa-Fetteh (2005-2006). Special Assistant to Managing Director & Secretary to Board of Directors – Village of Hope, Gomoa-Fetteh (2005-2006). Welfare Committee Chairman, Students’ Representative Council, University of Ghana, (2004/2005). Legal Advisor – Publication and Information Committee, Students’ Representative Council, University of Ghana, (2003/2004). President, World Youth Potential Organisation, Accra – (2002/2004). Project Director, Disabled and Needy Students Endowment Fund, University of Ghana, 2003/2004.

Advice To The Youth of Ghana

While hoping that his story would inspire all young men and women in school who truly want to make it, the former truck pusher and now a lawyer with his own chambers, took a serious swipe against the so called Association of Unemployed Graduates in Ghana, challenging them to make use of the knowledge and skills imparted in them at the university or polytechnic and stop making a mockery of themselves by constantly asking government to provide them with jobs.

According to him, there are many Ghanaians from very poor backgrounds who could not make it to the SHS and Tertiary levels of education, yet were able to do something worthwhile for themselves. “What about those children on the streets who have completely lost hope about acquiring education and those who don’t even have parents or relatives to look up to for support?”, he queried.

While asking the unemployed graduates to count themselves lucky for the experience they acquired in school, Barrister Francis observed, that there was no justification for anyone who had the privilege to acquire tertiary education with some form of assistance from government, to sit at home after graduation and ask government again to provide him/her with a job.

He commended the government for what he described as a wonderful initiative it’s implementing and also for choosing him out of many to go round the entire country to speak to students, some of whom thought that all was lost. “I would make myself available anytime for initiatives like the Public Schools Orientation Tour because I like serving humanity”, he told Savannahnews in an interview after the event. When asked why his friends call him Titicaca, Francis-Xavier Kojo Sosu, said Titicaca is the longest man-made lake navigated by large vessels. “It is situated at Peru, in South America. I was named after the lake to show my ingenuity in geography during my high school days and this name lasted throughout my university days till date”, he reminisced.

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