‘Pure Water Seller’ Kofi Adjei Fosu is the best graduating student of Law of Taxation from the Faculty of Law in the University of Cape Coast (UCC) after three years of selling sachet water in a tricycle before and after attending lectures to support his expenses.
From Takoradi, he gained admission into the Faculty of Law at UCC as one of sixty-three successful applicants in 2017 with his first degree from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
Pro-Vice-Chancellor of UCC Professor Dora Adu Boando announced Fosu’s recognition amidst cheers from graduands at the New Cape Coast Sports Stadium where the University held its 54th Congregation to observe COVID-19 safety protocols.
Below is a conversation that transpired between Media General’s Spencer Kwabena Boateng Mensah and Fosu…
Spencer: Congratulations Fosu! What motivated you to choose this path?
Fosu: The reason I desire so much to become a lawyer is that my life experiences and interactions with students on campus and clients at the chambers make me believe law as a phenomenon can be used to engineer social change and to impact upon the lives of the vulnerable in the society.
It is my hope that my story will be an inspiration to anybody who goes through life struggles with self-doubt, and that impossibility is just a state of mind. With determination, perseverance and consistent hard work, nothing in this world is impossible!
Spencer: Going straight to the point now, when did it all start?
Fosu: Gaining admission to UCC Law School, came with huge financial constraint. I had to borrow money to pay the admission fee which was in the region of GH₵8,549.00. Therefore, in order to pay for the loan which I had contracted for my fees and to also provide for the subsequent two years fees, I had to resort to the use of tricycle which I had also borrowed money to buy, to use in selling sachet water to students on campus.
Spencer: How did you combine them successfully?
Fosu: This quest to become the best at what one does starts with having a vision, being focused and determined about life choices, consistent hard work and perseverance.
Consistent hard work and determination in my on-campus water selling and academic experiences are the only secret to my success. To gain, I believe is for one to serve and to succeed in what one aims to achieve, is to learn to sacrifice for a greater cause!
Spencer: Your program requires rigorous studies, when did you make time for books?
Combining studies with the selling of water came with a huge challenge. I was to balance the limited time for studies with selling water by door to door delivery which caused me persistent back pains, waist pains and pains in my knees because of carrying water and climbing 100s of staircases each day.
In fact, in almost all the days of the week, I was always tired when I got to class. The 24 hours available to us all as students, I spent 5 to 6 hours to sleep with the remaining 19 hours spent between selling water, attending lectures and engaging in other academic activities like doing assignment and going for group studies. This continued from first year through to my final year on campus and even during our Ghana Law School entrance exams preparation period.
I sold water to students even during exams period amidst all the pressures the comes with being a law student in no mean university than the almighty University of Cape Coast where academic demands is very high with grade “A” being marks from 80 to 100.
Spencer: So UCC is tough, your rigorous was demanding and your business was a requirement for your survival, what influence did these make on your grades?
Fosu: I confidently say that, amidst all these challenges that came my way, with the exception of my first year at the law school which I struggled because I was unsettled in balancing the academic demands with selling water on campus, I was able to maintain a Grade Point Average(GPA) of 3.6 every semester till I graduated with a cumulative Grade Point Average(GPA) of 3.4 out of a total of 4.0!
Interestingly, it got to a point I couldn’t do any effective studies without me going out to sell water, because my body functioning had gotten to that point that I studied best just after resting from getting tired. This achievement I say became possible by dint of consistent hard work, sound time management, perseverance and determination and above all being prayerful.
What have you learnt from serving your customers and how does it interplay with serving your clients in the future?
My ambition to become a lawyer in the future stems for a quest to serve and a greater desire to sacrifice short term comfort for a worthy cause. This made me resort to riding my tricycle from Takoradi with my luggage and books to Cape Coast consistently each semester upon recessions and reopenings of school.
The very same tricycle delivered water at a retail price of GH₵3.00 instead of GH₵3.50 amidst the discomfort of climbing of 100s of staircases to deliver at door steps.
I sometimes wake up to go for water as early as 1:00 AM in the morning as a result of water shortage in the Cape Coast municipality and at times operational challenges at the factory, I can’t recollect the numbered times I did that.
Countless times I sold from 5:00 am to 7:00 am and in the evening from 6:00 pm sleeping as late as 10:00 pm when there’s still orders to be delivered. I went about my business with the same professional approach as any customer representative will go about his duties: its that the customer is always right and as an individual with insatiable taste and preference, he/she is always looking for options and once his/her taste changes, then there is the likelihood he/she will abandon your product. Thus, in order to survive and thrive with my business model of selling water to the students, I had to be consistent in my delivery of water and to offer them the best of service.
Spencer: You will have your clients at heart in the future the way you have your customers’ but sounds quite challenging.
Yes, this came with huge challenges as most times I had to wake up early and go to the factory to buy the water; deliver the water before 8:30 am; go back to form a queue at the factory and tip the packers to package my water when it’s my turn; rush to class for the first two lectures and during the extended break of about 1hour 30 minutes; go back and make a bulk distribution to some supermarkets on campus then after; go back for the last lecture; come back home around 3: 00 pm to relax; continue with the evening supplies from about 6:30 pm to about 9:30m. All these were made possible with stringent time management as in these moments every minute and seconds counts.
What one passionate areas of law do you wish to impact greatly?
My passionate desire when I’m called to the bar is to join the Justice for all Program started under her Ladyship former Chief Justice Georgina Wood which is aimed at decongesting the prisons in Ghana and maybe my life story can serve as inspiration to our fellow brothers and sisters who by life choices, or have unfortunately found themselves in a disadvantage position in life. And they can be motivated that impossibility is just a state of mind and once they are determined and focused about what they want out of this life, at least they can engage themselves in a worthwhile cause and all that they desire and aspire to become is possible only if they are willing to work hard at their life goals, being determined and persevering.
Spencer: Given the struggles you have endured to come this far, I guess you do plan to achieve more, what is next after successfully being a lawyer?
Fosu: My academic ambition is to pursue a masters and Doctorate in both Law and economic policy given that, by my life experiences I believe I can better be guided when drawing policies by taking into consideration certain fundamental elements that has effect, and impacts upon the lives of the ordinary Ghanaians of which majority find themselves in the low-income brackets of our economy.
Spencer: Any last words to readers?
Fosu: I count it all joy that by the mercies of God who by his divine benevolence brought into my life people like My mum, Mrs Charlotte Jackson, Mr Solomon Kotei, Lawyer Frederick Faidoo, Mrs Yemisi Oduwole, Mr and Mrs Gyedu, Rev and Mrs Gyedu, Madam Habiba Tanko, My siblings, Yaw Agyei Acheampong, Kweku Agyei Ayensu, Mrs Sally Amo Baidoo, Kwesi Agyei Otu and my immediate family whose diverse support, encouragement and sound counsel helped me become grounded to be able to go through Law school successfully. Special mention has to go to all the lecturers at the Faculty of Law, UCC, most especially, the Dean, Dr Peter Atudire Atupare and Lawyer Constantine Kudzedzi.
I say that to the glory of God, He has been good to me in the year 2021. To graduate as the best student in the Law of Taxation and above all to have passed to the prestigious Ghana School of Law is no mean achievements! To God be the glory and as was said in the good old book, many are the afflictions of the righteous but in all these the Lord delivers him from them all and also the battle is prepared for War, but victory is of the Lord.