Let me begin by saying that the motto of the Rotary International, “Service Above Self” has demonstrated the source of the strength of this famous Club over the years. This has made the organization to be relevant in the history of human existence. I am aware that the usual District Conference could not be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the Club has refused to be deterred and decided to exploit the potentials of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to organise a virtual Conference which is highly commendable. This is a good example of promoting the global interest and strengthening the campaign of maintaining physical distance as occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic containment.
2. On that note, on behalf of the Government and the entire people of Ogun State, I welcome all Rotarians to this Virtual Annual District Conference of Rotary District 9110 Nigeria on this remotely designed platform. Let me, in a special way, congratulate the District Governor, Dr Jide Akeredolu, on the hosting of this year’s Conference that combines all Rotarians and their spouses, and other international guests from outside the shores of our country. I commend the District Conference Committee and all those who have, in one way or another, contributed to making today’s event unique and memorable.
3. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is worthy to mention that the Rotary International, created on 23rd February 1905 from the first Rotary Club in Chicago, United States of America has continued to grow in leaps and bounds. In other words, this International Club has grown to become one of the largest and most significant reference points in philanthropic activism worldwide.
The organisation holds a track record in bridging cultures and connecting continents to champion peace; fight illiteracy, poverty, disease, and promote clean water, amongst other laudable programmes. Without mincing words, Rotary International is now a foremost global organisation promoting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals such as
- Goal 1: No Poverty
- Goal 2: Zero Hunger
- Goal 3: Good Health and well-being
- Goal 4: Quality Education, just to mention but a few.
And, by sense of responsibilities, the organization has always been opento all persons regardless of race, color, creed or political preference.
4. At home, Rotary District 9110 Nigeria, has, over the years,also continued to keep alive the ideals of the founding fathers, which invariably attest to the resilience of the vision of a better world and the continuing fidelity of its present leadership and membership to the Club’s tenets.
There is no doubt that the Club has continued to enjoy the goodwill of the people, most especially among businessmen and professionals. Indeed, Rotary District 9110 Nigeria has not only endeared itself to the people but has also continued to operate according to the dictates of its motto “Service Above Self”.
No doubt, the 4-way Tests of Rotary
- (i) Is it the TRUTH?
- (ii) Is it FAIR to all concerned?
- (iii) Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
- (iv) Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?
Has continued to be a lighthouse and shares a lot in common with the good governance of our Administrations focus of inclusiveness, openness, transparency, accountability, fairness, justice, equity, and obedience to the rule of law.
We are very delighted to note that sons of Ogun State have always been at the forefront at different levels of Rotary activities towards the development of humanity.
- HRM Oba Dr Adedapo Tejuosho, Osile Oke Ona Egba, District Governor, 1986 – 87, Rotary International District 911 (Comprising Lagos and the Ogun States)
- Oluwole Folarin, District Governor, 1987-88, Rotary International District 911 (Comprising Lagos and Ogun State)
- Olumayowa Olukoya, Former Ogun SSG, District Governor, 1987-88, Rotary International District 911 (Comprising Lagos and the Ogun States)
- Pharmacist Kola Sodipo, District Governor, 2018-19, Rotary International District 9110 (Comprising Lagos and Ogun States)
- HRM Oba Professor Olanlege, The Oleta of Ota Kingdom, amongst others
5. For us in Ogun State, we are more than happy to state that the humanitarian disposition of Rotary Club District 9110 Nigeria is in tandem with our blueprint for the socio-economic development of our dear State. This humanistic value is the fulcrum of our Administration’s “Building Our Future Together” Agenda that is anchored on a vision of public-Private Sector Partnership (PPP) and encapsulated in ISEYA.
That is acronym that stands for
- I – Infrastructure
- S – Social Development
- E – Education
- Y – Youth Empowerment, and
- A – Agriculture
6. No doubt, since our assumption of office on 29th May 2019, we have continued to formulate policies and execute programmes that improve on the well-being and welfare of the people of Ogun State and also strengthen the socio-economic development of our dear State. Our Administration is committed to restoring government to its forefront as the facilitator of development.
Towing this path, right from the first day of our Administration in office, we set the ground rolling by carefully mapping-out a practical approach that will enhance a symbiotic relationship between our Administration and the people of Ogun State. This is towards ensuring a more rapid improvement on the lots of our people, irrespective of their geographical location, gender, religious or political affiliation, and their economic stratification.
7. At this point, it is pertinent to state that, no State in the country has the monopoly of funds and other wherewithal to continue the delivery of good governance. Therefore, I call on Rotary International for further contributions and partnership in bringing about development and succour to the less privileged in the society.
One cannot but mention the selfless service delivery espoused by the distinguished Rotarians, particularly before and immediately after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. The club has continued to be a partner in progress, supporting the government in our efforts to contain the invisible enemy of COVID-19.
8. I enjoin the Rotary International to continue with its good work of providing a benchmark of selfless service to humanity. But I must also say that, as a Government and people, we look forward to more philanthropic gestures from your organisation. In fact, we invite Rotary Club and individual members to support our “Adopt a Project” Initiative through rehabilitation/construction of a school or Primary Health Centre.
There are also other windows of partnership and support in other areas such as human capital development and social welfare. Let me also assure you of our Administration’s support towards the implementation of your laudable-people oriented programmes.
9. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, before I end this address, let me use this opportunity to call on other well-meaning individuals and organizations to come forward and partner with us.
As for us, we will continue to put in place the necessary ambience for Public-Private Partnership, support and encourage individuals and collective initiatives that are directed towards the socio-economic development of our dear State. You will find us, worthy partners.
10. Once again, let me congratulate Dr Jide Akeredolu, the District Governor and all Rotarians in the Rotary District 9110 Nigeria, and its national and international guests on this year’s Conference.
11.As I wish you all fruitful deliberations, it is my belief that at the end of this conference, you would have come up with better and improved ideas that will further promote the objectives and motto of this Club. It is my honour to hereby declare this Conference open to the glory of God and continued development of humanity.
12. I thank you all for listening and God bless. “Igbega Ipinle Ogun, Ajose gbogbo wa ni o”!
Prince Dapo Abiodun, MFR
Governor of Ogun State, Nigeria,
Friday, 12th June 2020.
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