A genuine devotion to Road Safety was the punchline that inspired Mr. Lucky Igbinedion, former governor of Edo State to acquire his learner’s permit from Haward school of driving for onward processing of his driver’s licence over 10 years in line with due diligence.
In this exclusive interview with TheNewspad, Mr. Aigbekaen Imuetiyan Haward, Director of Training and Chief Executive officer, CEO of Haward school of Driving, espouses the deep views, insights and foresight on a wide range of issues. Excerpts.
What motivated you to establish a Haward school of Driving?
Our motivation is that in the process of saving lives, our financial needs could also be meant in an attempt to solve problems and create job opportunities for other people, including employment and develop capacity of Nigerians.
How many years have you been running with Haward school of driving and what has been the impact?
We have been running with this vision (Haward) for over 16 years. We will be 17 years by January 2022.
What makes your school stand out from others, and a destination for learners?
I am a United Kingdom trained instructor. I had attended several training relating to driving in both Nigeria and the United Kingdom where I was certified as an instructor. Before we employ any driver in Haward school of driving, we train them to become instructor.
There is a difference between a driver and a driving instructor. We have changed the narrative and defined the notion in the minds of some people. We improve on your driving capacity and make you a driving instructor.
What makes us unique is that all our vehicles are dual control, which make them customised for training. For the purpose of clarity, it is not all vehicles that you use for training. There are specialised vehicles that are designed for training. Such vehicles make it possible for the instructor who sits besides the learner have access to his own break. The dual break innovation was introduced in 2007. It helps the instructor to regulate the movement of a vehicle if driver mistakenly steps on the accelerator instead of the break. We don’t have to drag the vehicle steering with the learner. Rather, the instructor applies his break and in the process an accident is averted.
In addition to that, we imported driving stimulators that help a learner to practice driving while sitting in the classroom. You could practice how to move, change your gear and accelerate and do other things like overtaking bends left and right while you are sitting down and watching your mistakes and progress on the screen. So, this will help a learner to have an overview of how it will look like when you finally hit the road as a learner.
Haward school of driving is recommended for learners, especially bus drivers and conductors, who do not possess the basic knowledge and principles of driving as a well established school.
One of the things that has being our source of strength is that we take the safety of our clients as priority. What that means is that when we train you, you will obviously see that when you have gone through the mill, you will have no choice but to recommend other clients that would love to do training on how to acquire a vehicle or process a genuine licence or vehicle documents. Remember that Chief Igbinedion obtained his learner’s permit here at the Haward school of driving shortly after he left office as a Governor. The feat inspired a lot of Nigerians and boost Customers confidence in our service.
What is your relationship with the Federal Road Safety Commission?
Our relationship with the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) started before the laws permits them to regulate driving schools in Nigeria in 2009. As at that time, Haward school of driving was the only driving school that was accredited in 2005 in Edo State. We were given full accreditation while four others were given provisional accreditation.
What did the FRSC discovered in Hayward Driving school that prompted the Commission to give full accreditation for the school?
They saw that we were prepared for business. Real business to save lives. The landmark that gave us edge above other competitors is that before they introduce it elsewhere, we already have it and started running with the innovation. An example in point is that before the FRSC introduced a dual pedal vehicle, we already had dual pedal vehicles.
Also, before the FRSC introduced other innovations into driving schools, we have started to import five driving stimulators before the FRSC made it compulsory for driving schools to have at least one driving stimulator about five years later. For driving schools that already had the facility, had nothing to worry about. In other words, Haward school of driving set the pace for others to follow. We are not doing those things for the fun for it or for fame, but for the sake of safety and needs of the people. We can’t be settled if ours roads are unsafe for road users.
Why did Haward school of driving ventured into importation of vehicles?
The decision was strictly based on demand. We discovered that most of our Clients, over the years, will buy a vehicle and start complaining within a short time of tear and wear. Due to the short durability nature of some vehicles, we discovered that some vehicle dealers that they buy vehicle from use the vehicles without any number plates or registering the vehicles. When clients buy cars from some dealers, you will start replacing worn out spare parts and carrying out maintenance almost immediately. This is not suppose to be so. We became worried and ventured into the business of importing vehicles directly for our clients who chose to go through Haward school of driving. This initiative has helped to build trust and customers’ relationship over the years because the vehicles that we import are usually in tact before we hand the vehicles to the owners.
What customers unique experience that you can recall?
We usually obtain customers data before and after they complete their training or through with other services that we have rendered to them. We create room for feedback channel where they share their experience about our service and expectations, which are usually positive. There are so much good reports from them.
What is the kind of future plans do you envisage in this business such as online services and others?
The world is moving forward and we intend to move along with the trends.
We intend to take the business online such that if you are in America and other parts of the world, you can also access services from any part of the world and enjoy a unique benefits. We are moving online to make sure that this service goes far. We intend to deploy Information Communication Technology (ICT) and other programming to promote ease of doing business in the company.
What is that unforgettable memory as a special Marshal and experienced instructor?
As a Road Safety Advocate, I have traveled locally and internationally. The experience I will not forget in a hurry was a friend of mine who was supposed to mark his Thanksgiving on Sunday, but he died two days before the event. He had twins, promoted at his place of work and also bought a new car. He, however, did not live to celebrate this multiple blessings.
While he was preparing for his Thanksgiving, he boarded a Commercial vehicle from the King square in Benin City, to Ikpoba Hill in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State. Sadly, as he was alighting from a vehicle he boarded, another vehicle emerged from the blues and hit him by the door and he died on the spot.
When we went to the cemetery to bury him, we discovered that human bones were dug from the ground where he was laid to rest at the cemetery. We saw carcass of people that had died and buried there. We saw caskets and human bones.
In that same weekend, I travelled to Delta State, the house that was next to where we visited, was abandoned and roofed thorned. I inquired what was amiss. But I was told that the entire family who own the house had died in a road crash and were all buried at the residence. There was no heir to inherit the property, which was left to rot away.
These encounters propelled me to be more cautious on road safety. It is important to note that there is hardly any day in Nigeria without a road crash. If you flip through the Newspapers, you must see report of road crash. These are very shocking stories. Hence the need for safety at all times. We also hope that the government will listen to our advice by doing the needful towards promoting safety on our roads.
It is on that premise charged me to be more dedicated in the mission to save life and reduce carnage on the roads. Generally, the rate of road crashes everywhere is alarming. It is possible to manage and reduce road crashes. We should be safety conscious by doing the right thing.
Majority of people who pass through a genuine and well-established driving school like ours, you will hardly see them involve in road crashes on the road, except in few factors mechanical factor like break failure. This sometimes occur when other vehicles ram into other vehicles or objects that could lead to multiple road crashes and become devastating. Ultimately, there are three main factors that cause road crash. They are human, mechanical and environmental factors, which can affect anyone on the wheel.
But as a driver like me, before another driver will run into my car, I will know because I drive defensively. I also teach people how to drive defensively.
Haward School of Driving
28 Ezoti Street
Off Airport Road
200 Uselu Lagos Road
Beside God is Good motors.
Zion City Plaza
62, Country Home Road
Just Before DVD oil.
A Commitment for Drivers
….Safety on wheels since 2005.
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