‘It is a thing of joy for me to serve humanity and touch lives’
Rotarian Adewale Abdulateef Ogunbadejo, a Medical Doctor, recently assumed the exalted office of District Governor, Rotary International, District 9110 comprising Lagos and Ogun States for the period 2017/2018 Rotary year, during which he would superintend the District with not less than 100 Clubs in both States. He shares his desire to serve humanity with passion devoid of the pride of the highest office in the District with Isaac Taiwo. Excerpts:
What is going to be your focus during your tenure?
I launched into my strategic plan two years ago when I was nominated as in-coming Rotary Governor for 2017-2018. Six areas of focus for Rotary International include: peace and conflict prevention/ resolution, water and sanitation, prevention and treatment of diseases, maternal and child health, economic and community development and basic education and training.
By virtue of my profession as a medical doctor, my initial focus would be to address our health delivery system. Lagos State no doubt is ahead of other States in the entire federation when it comes to healthcare. However, there are still some Health Centres that are in a deplorable state. Things are even worse in Ogun State. I have mandated all the clubs to help me identify 10 of these centres for us to carry out renovation exercise, equip them with drugs and empower them so that they would improve on the services they render.
Secondly, we are coming up with vocational centres for our unemployed youths, which would go a long way to reducing criminality. To this effect, we have secured two locations in both Lagos and Ogun States, namely Igbogbo and Itori. We are instituting micro-credit scheme to give them revolving loan after their training. In addition to that, we have the plan to equip financially 150 youths who are skilled, but lack the wherewithal to start something.
Thirdly, we are addressing the issue of polio, which remained in three countries including Nigeria. Others are Pakistan and Afghanistan. To get polio out of Nigeria the sum of $1.5 billion is needed and at the last convention in Atlanta, the sum of $1.2 billion was pledged, out of which Nigeria would pay $150 million within the next two years. I want to see how our District would contribute $150,000.00 out of the amount during my tenure. These are some of those things we are doing as part of the six areas of focus we are covering.
How are you addressing the issue of membership drive?
Each Rotarian is expected to manifest outstanding quality which Rotary preaches according to the Rotary 4-Way Test and win at least a member. By this, we would double the number of members In the District.
We are targeting N1million contribution into this foundation, which is the heartbeat of Rotary.
During my birthday, which is coming up in September, I would expect my gifts to be monetised, which I will direct to the foundation.
How would you propagate the 4-Way Rotary Test?
We are going to secondary schools to have 4-Way Rotary Test Competitions In Lagos and Ogun
States to address the problems associated with ethics, morals, corruption, evil tendencies and other vices to catch them young. The best of these children would address our Convention at Abeokuta in 2018 to tell adults where we are getting it wrong and to address the issues of ego, greed for power or money as well as the bad habit of lording opinions on others, and vices prevalent among the adults.
What are your plans for Rotaractors?
We are bringing them close to us through training and mentoring. We would be eliminating those above 30 years as Rotaractors. We would have an inaugural joint District Convention in May 2018 for them to have more exposure.
What are you doing on education?
In addition to training Rotarians to react to disasters, we are raising six million naira to give scholarship to 20 indigent students of Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of education who should be at 200 Level while medical students are expected to be at 300 Level. Altogether, we are raising N100million as reserve for DEWEF, which has its own board.
How do you debunk the assumption that Rotary is a secret society?
We hold our meetings in the open at hotels and public places and everyone is welcomed anywhere in the world whenever we are holding our meetings. We also have our website for anyone to know about the activities of Rotary. It is open to all.
How would you balance your office of District Governor with that of your professional practice for the period?
My wife would be in charge most of the time with a trained subordinate. If my schedule permits me to spend two or three hours because of those who would like to see me as a doctor, I would squeeze in the time, and if the time is not there, I know God has a way of rewarding commitment to serve meritoriously. It is a thing of joy for me to serve humanity and touch lives.
How would you want to be remembered after your tenure?
A governor who served diligently with others to make a difference, left the stage happily with gratitude to God for giving me the opportunity to serve humanity.
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