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August | Letter to Rotarians by District Governor
 
My bear brothers and sisters,
 
I welcome you to the month of August, the month of Membership Development in Rotary.
Just like yesterday, the Rotary year started, with a very successful Installation ceremony on 8th July 2017, at The MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos. 
 
I wish to quickly place on record my very sincere and deep appreciation to the entire members of the Installation Committee, headed by PAG Lanre Adedoyin, for their utmost dedication and sacrifices that made that day such a successful one. 
 
I also want to thank all Rotarians for their very palpable love and respect demonstrated for me and my  family such that even the very heavy downpour that caused so much damage in Lagos that day, did not deter them from attending the occasion. 
 
For the very first time in the history of installation ceremonies at The MUSON Centre, we used both the Shell Hall and the Function Room upstairs and both of them were filled to the brim by Rotarians and our very distinguished guests.
 
As were settling down to savour the taste of the success, the very grave and sad news of the demise of our Hope, the Great Gift to Africa, the second African that would have been the Rotary International President, our Rotary International President-Elect, Sam Owori of Uganda, arrived and all hell was let loose. 
It was like a thunderbolt out of the blues. There was confusion, consternation, prayers that the news should not be true but alas, confirmation came and resignation to our fate suddenly dawned on all of us.
Owori gave us hope of a brighter future in Africa. He fought for a separate Zone for Africa. He exhorted all of us to struggle towards the approval of that Zone. He succeeded but he never lived to experience it. 
 
Owori's spouse, Lady Nora, requested at the funeral in Uganda, which I attended, that we must not allow Sam's dream to die. She said that we must all make sure that the light of Rotary burns brighter in Africa. 
 
Owori used to tell us that a Continent with One Billion people MUST be able to have Two Zones at the minimum, which translates to about Seventy Thousand Rotarians. As of now, we only have about Twenty- Nine Thousand Rotarians in Africa with Nigeria having about Seven Thousand of these. We need to have at least Six Thousand more before the provisional Zone approved for us, through Sam's yeoman efforts, can become operational by 2020-2021 Rotary year.
 
WHY IS MEMBERSHIP IMPORTANT IN ROTARY?
As said by a Past Rotary International President, 'Rotary has no hands nor legs, all Rotary has are its members.' They are the unusual human beings who forget self in the pursuit of others' happiness. They commit all their wherewithal to put a smile on the faces of others. Without the members, Rotary lacks a soul. The more the members, the more that can be achieved by Rotary. The more the members, the less the burden on each member. The more the members, the more are the possibilties for a better image for Rotary through the greater achievements made possible. 
 
OUR DISTRICT GOAL FOR 2017- 2018 ROTARY YEAR
Our membership goals are encapsulated in the following :
 
1. To achieve a minimum figure of 3,000 by the end of 2017 -2018 year. The Owori challenge now demands an increase of this goal.
2. Minimum of 30% net increase in membership figures by each club and 100% membership retention. Each Rotarian, Bring One and Keep One must be our mantra.
3. Each Zone is to charter at least one new club before the end of the year.
 
GLOBAL MEMBERSHIP OUTLOOK
Most Rotarians are above 60 years of age. Only about 5% of reported figures are below 40years of age and only about 20% are females. Looking at these figures, its obvious that something urgent has to be done, if Rotary is not to become extinct within the next twenty or thirty years.
We must all therefore work at inviting more of the younger generation and more females into Rotary. Those to be invited must have willing hearts, willing hands and must be of good reputation and integrity because, while looking for members, our core values, especially, integrity MUST be protected.
We can however only achieve these laudable goals by thinking out of the box, using new ways and new strategies to approach these goals. It cannot be business as usual because as Albert Einstein said, "You cannot use same old method to achieve a new result." You either change your perception or your method.
 
CONCLUSION
Rotary in Nigeria needs a new impetus, a change in perception and  needs to help Africa to be better-respected in the comity of Continents in Rotary.
 
For us to Make a Difference in our communities, we must strengthen our clubs in Membership, both in quantity and quality, improve the Rotary experience for members in clubs and have value-adding strategies to retain members' attention and enthusiasm in clubs.
 
We must improve and expand our humanitarian activities because as The Founder of Rotary, Paul Harris said, "Whatever Rotary may mean to us, people will only judge us, based on our impact in the society we live in." When we thus improve our services, when we carry out projects that truly touch the lives of our communities, we also improve the image of Rotary in our communities. 
 
Once again, I welcome you to the month of August and wish all of us, the Strength, Wisdom and all the Wherewithal to be True Rotarians and thus "Make a Difference" wherever we stand in Life.
 
Yours in Rotary Service,
               
Adewale Ogunbadejo
District Governor 2017-18
Rotary International District 9110, Nigeria
Rotary Centre
8, Ladoke Akintola Street
Ikeja GRA
Lagos
Tel: +234802 314 0773, +234806 693 4824
E-mail: dgwale2017@gmail.com, adewaleogunbadejo@gmail.com
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