By Oki Samson

It is a New Year for the Rotary Club International all over the world on 1st July 2021. This implies that a new set of leadership emerges to pilot the affairs of the clubs for another 365 days ending 30th June, 2022. This brings fresh zeal, new vigour, and revived commitment to the core activity of the club which is to impact communities positively.

For the Rotary Club of Ikeja GRA District 9110, a new leadership has been birthed. Named the Change Maker Year, the executives of the club is now comprises the spirited Olawuyi Tunde Abinibi and 11 others. Though the investiture ceremony is slated for some time in August, the club executives have resumed work with immediate effect.

Speaking with Oki Samson of Trek Africa Newspaper upon assuming office, Rtn. Olawuyi Tunde Abinibi shared: ‘It is a moment to add value to Rotary Club and to the world. It promises to be a great year. We plan to change the way our meetings are held. We will structure the meetings so that you have something to look forward to. The first week will be business meetings in which we will talk more on various profession, the second week will be for talks in which we invite speakers to pick a topic that will add value to our daily lives, the third week will be our personality week in which we will support the club by growing our membership. We will take the third week to interact more. Then in the fourth week, we preach more about Rotary Club – how Rotary affects lives, what we do, what we have done in the past, happenings of Rotary Club around us, and quizzes.’

For the society, he added: ‘it is a changemaker year. In the last Rotary year, we emphasized water. This year, we are looking at school maintenance, building new school structures, and giving books to libraries.’

The new President of Rotary Club Ikeja GRA, Rotr. Olawuyi mentioned the names of the esteemed team that will work with him in the Change Maker excos (2021 – 2022), he listed: ‘Odeleye Ayodeji (VP), Akoka Eke Omoelo (Secretary), Henrietta Etuko (Treasurer), and Omoloba Samuel (admin)’. Others like ‘Rotr. Adegboruwa, Rotr. Marcel, Rotr. Chinedu, Rotr. Oluwatoyin, Rotr. Bakare, Rotr. Abdallah, and Rotr. Ogunwuyi’ will serve in various capacities.

Pledging support for the new executives, immediate past president of the club, Rotr. Alex Abbah remarked: ‘I promise to give him all my support. There are some things that we did not finish doing during my tenure which we will have to pass unto him. The cantonment is actually our primary community. They have given us their needs. We will do needs assessment before we can meet the needs. We will do our best to uplift their condition. According to the calendar, we will host the District Governor on September 16. We will embark on some projects that he will commission for us on that day.’

On how Nigeria became polio-free, the Chair of Rotary Foundation, Rotary Club Ikeja GRA, Rtn. Lateef Bakare explained: ‘Rotary Foundation is the heart of Rotary Club and is the funding mechanism that Rotary Club uses to execute its projects globally. Rotary spent millions of dollars in polio eradication. Nigeria was last year certified polio-free courtesy of advocacy and intervention efforts by Rotary International conducted through its 4 districts in Nigeria. We also had Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation partner with Rotary Club and then of course, the global grants come from Rotary Foundation for clubs and districts to carry out their programmes.’

During the inaugural meeting for the year, other past presidents of the Rotary Club Ikeja GRA gave useful tips that will enable the new executives have a successful tenure. They also reflected on the impact they have had on the 9 Brigade Ikeja Cantonment and other communities.

The past president of Rotary Club Ikeja GRA about 2 years ago, Rtn. Sylvia Abdallah shared: ‘My advice to the new president is that he has started on a good note. We hope that he will continue with the zeal that he has started with. He has said he will focus on key focus areas of Rotary Club and have an all-inclusive membership. These are the marks of a true leader. I enjoin all leaders to encourage and support him with our talents, time, and treasure. He should also try and expand our membership. We will do everything we can to retain old members and bring new members. Rotary Club is very strong on membership development and retention. So help us God.’

The past president about 3-4 years ago, Rtn. Akin Shoyoye remarked: ‘It is a New Year for Rotary Club because our New Year starts 1st July to 30th June. We have Tunde Olawuyi as President. He will do his best, do projects that affect lives of people. By serving, he will make changes in people’s lives. It will not be easy but Rotary makes it easy. Basically, the advice for the president will be done at the board level but we will encourage all Rotarians to work on their membership and their roles. All the endowment that God has given us we should use it to support Rotary Club.’

The Rotary Club Ikeja GRA president about 4-5 years ago, Rotr. Marcel commented: ‘We will support the new president with our time, talent, and resources to ensure that we improve the lives of the soldiers defending the sovereignty of Nigeria. For the Rotary Club Ikeja GRA, we have an adopted community and that is the military cantonment in Ikeja GRA. We have been doing lot of projects there – health project, water project, basic amenity project – to improve the lifestyle and quality of life in the barracks for the families of the soldiers we have there.

The barracks is one of the biggest we have in Lagos and you go there and see the roof of some of the house leaking, light is not regular, there is a lot that we can do there. That is the passion of the Rotary Club and we are going to do more this year.’

Yet another past president of Rotary Club Ikeja GRA, Rtn. Bukola Bakare added: ‘We expect a lot of change in the club in this New Year. I advise the president to gather the club together so that everyone can work as a team. Together, we all can do exploits. We intend to win many awards this year.’

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