Sarah Adebisi Sosan discusses the governance plan implemented by Gov. Babatunde Raji Fashola in Lagos State, with special emphasis on the education initiatives in which she was personally involved since the beginning. In the context of the Nigerian policy of universal education and the challenges raised by service provision in a large metropolitan area, most measures focused on enhancing the inclusiveness of the school system within urban areas and the extension of educational infrastructure into rural areas. In particular, to address the financial burden faced by parents, the state provided free textbooks, covered fees for national terminal examinations and made transportation and meal arrangements for children with special needs both within the regular school system and at specialized institutions. A second focus was on infrastructure and equipment, especially concerning laboratories. A third focus was on capacity building through the school system in a variety of ways: by improving technical and vocational schools, by promoting sporting and science competitions, and by requiring membership in a state-sponsored scout organization aimed at building leadership skills and providing children with teamwork experience. This approach complemented emphasis on teacher training and awards to incentivize good teaching. Sosan singles out funding as the main challenge faced by the governance program and in particular by its educational component. While most of these reforms were facilitated by a significant initial budgetary increase, Lagos state fostered involvement of private actors through programs such as "Adopt a School." Public support and trust were secured through both follow-up on electoral promises and as a result of increased transparency and access to top officials. Other areas such as health care and transportation were at the center of similar progress, with Lagos state focusing on visible issues that could enhance public confidence in the government.
At the time of this interview, Sarah Adebisi Sosan was the deputy governor of Lagos State during the governorship of Babatunde Raji Fashola. Trained as a teacher, she served as the principal education officer of the Lagos Ministry of Education from 1990 until 1999. Among other accomplishments, she contributed to maintaining computerization on the ministry's agenda. She was appointed as deputy governor in 2007.