Posted on Nov 01, 2021
We’ve done it, says Shekhar Mehta.

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing…, this is the best way to start my address this month since the Rotary International President, Shekhar Mehta, captured it well, “We’ve done it!” 

We have quit talking and started getting results … we are getting closer to *BEATING THE CLOCK.* 
We have every cause to celebrate our achievement in the first four months of the Change Maker Year with regard to our crossing the 1.2m membership to 1.4m mark for the first time over the last 20 years.  
We are proud as a District that contributed to the achievement of making the change possible. We started the year with 125 Rotary Clubs and 3,621 Rotarians but we now have 131 Rotary Clubs and 4,257 Rotarians with a net gain of 636.  May I use this medium to congratulate all, most especially those that bought into our ‘Each One Bring One and Retain All’ slogan. I thank you all.
The work has just begun.  We need to sustain the momentum and ensure continued growth in our membership which will give us the impetus to have our districting agenda come to fruition earlier than thought.  
I have herewith an extract from RI Code of Policies August 2021 to guide our discussion on the subject of splitting our District for the purpose of growing Rotary in our region.  I am inviting our leaders and fellow Rotarians to show more interest in the Districting agenda in the next few weeks to engage in the discussion for us to be able to submit our proposal to the Rotary International as late as December 2021.
Clubs have been made to see the importance of District Governor’s visit to clubs as it is one of the elements that make a club a functioning Rotary Club.  Further to the urgent need to strengthen clubs that are weak or none functioning, the District Membership Committee has started to engage the clubs by inviting them to a meeting with the District Governor to take advantage of the opportunity of strengthening the clubs as provided in the RI August 2021 Code of policies.  Thirty two of clubs fall within the weak or none functioning Rotary Clubs as of date. 
As at 31st October, 2021, the official District Governor's visit has been conducted in 63 clubs out of the 131 clubs in the District.  Experience of the visit varies from club to club.
October was for Economic and Community Development month in the Rotary calendar.  The month was used in preparation for the District 9110 Economic Empowerment Programme (DEEP) implementation process. 
DEEP will help create opportunities and support the beneficiaries to thrive financially so that they are able to support their children’s education. DEEP in DEWEF (District Educational and Welfare Endowment Fund) is like the other side of a coin called ‘INDIGENT STUDENTS’. The earlier side of the coin is ‘INDIGENT STUDENTS AND BRIGHT’ that have always enjoyed DEWEF scholarship annually while the other side, ‘INDIGENT STUDENTS BUT NOT BRIGHT’, that are sponsored by their parents when economically empowered. 
With an initial seed fund of N20.0 million provided from proceeds of my installation as DG, each beneficiary will receive not more than N100,000.00 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) at a time for a tenor of six months after being nominated through a Rotary Club by a member of that Club. 
Each beneficiary is expected to make monthly repayments for the period and disbursements are planned to be in two cycles of N10m each from time to time. But as the fund grows, the disbursement cycles may increase to accommodate more beneficiaries.
I am happy to announce that Rotarian Olusegun Osunkeye, CON, Babalaje of Egbaland of Rotary Club of  Ikeja and his wife  in commemoration of his 50 years in Rotary decided to  support the District Economic Empowerment Programme (DEEP) with an initial sum of N2.0m as long as the fund is in the custody of DEWEF with the intention to increase the support to N5.0m on or before 31st December,  2021.  
My District Treasurer, PAG Adewale Adegbite of the Rotary Club of Gbagada, also supported DEEP with a sum of N2.0m, while members of the DEEP committee pledge to support the scheme with N1.0m. May I ask you to join me in appreciating these great Rotarians for their act of generosity and spirit of giving.
DEEP Committee under the Chairmanship of 
PP Olutunde Aboderin is working with M/s Seedvest Investment Ltd. to manage the implementation process under the direct supervision of DEWEF. DEEP Committee will soon come up with the beneficiaries as may be approved by the DEWEF Board that will be about 200 before the end of the year.
November is The Rotary Foundation month.  We have put together various activities to mark the month.  TRF seminar will hold on the 10th November, 2021.  Regrettably, our TRF Fund Raising Dinner Dance has to be pushed forward to a later date to be announced very soon by the TRF Fund Raising Dinner committee.  
I am happy to announce that there is improvement in the Rotarians act of giving to our Foundation. We hope to achieve our goal at the end of the day.  The following are some of the initiatives we have put in place to ensure the achievement of our set goal for The Rotary Foundation.
 *i  EREY Challenge:* 
The District has donated a full plot of land for grab at CRYSTAL VILLA ESTATE for the EREY/Rotary Foundation Challenge amidst many other attractive prizes.
What it takes to qualify for this offer is to be EREY compliant with just $100 and you receive a booklet of 5 (five) tickets for the draw. Now the juicy part is that the more $100 payments (multiples of $100) you make to the Rotary Foundation gives you more booklets, more tickets and more chances of winning the plot of land. 
A PHF or a PHS with $1,000 gets 10 booklets and 50 chances of winning the land while a Major Donor of $10,000 gets 100 booklets and 500 chances of winning the plot of land. Each additional level gives its equivalent chance.

Guess what?  All payments will be recorded for the individual Rotarian for his/her Rotary Foundation contribution. There are lots of other prizes that will be won ranging from Gas cookers, Fridges, Microwaves, and many more which will be drawn intermittently. 
This Challenge started with all those who made payments into The Rotary Foundation Annual Fund starting from 1st July.
ii   *Celebration of World Polio Day* 
The book, ‘So they can walk,’ sponsored by Nigeria National Polioplus Committee (NNPPC) was launched on the 23rd October, 2021 on the eve of World Polio Day celebration for 2021.
It is a story of our initiative (RI), involvement of Rotary Clubs, Rotarians, Governments and partners (GPEI) in the eradication of polio. Not only a must have but a must read. The book besides capturing our involvement, it is meant to support fund raising drive for polio eradication.
Copies of the book are now available for purchase at the District Office. 
Before the book launch was the Polio Walk early in the day in Abuja while on 24th October, 2021, our District, both in Lagos and Abeokuta organised our Polio Walk that was well attended and publicised.  I want to recognise the support of our clubs for their individual participation in organising polio walk at their different clubs to mark the day.
Rotary Day of Service is our tool for promoting Rotary Image this Rotary year.  Clubs are enjoined to follow up with the committee.
It is time to go to work in order for us to have projects to show case during our chosen Rotary Day of Service.
Sponsorship of RYLA continued with our plan of organising a Big RYLA for about 1,500 youths this Rotary year.  1,290 youths have been sponsored to date from my visit to 63 clubs.  
May I please appeal to our Clubs to redeem their pledges of the sponsorship and do I need to state that sponsorship is only half of the job done in organising RYLA. The other half which is as crucial as the sponsorship is nomination of youths to participate in the programme.  
I am therefore appealing once more that we take nomination very seriously. It is time to start screening at our club level ahead of invitation by the RYLA Committee Chaired by IPP Dare Adeyeri of the Rotary Club of Lagos.
The above Conference being put together by the four Districts is holding at Chida Hotel between 11th and 14th November, 2021.  The theme of the conference is, ‘Uniting Nigeria through Rotary’.  I enjoin Rotarians from our District to be part of the conference that promises to afford you fellowship opportunity, friendship and business networking.
Our District has started screening intending attendees for the forthcoming Rotary International Convention holding in Houston, Texas, USA from 4th – 8th June, 2022 under the District Convention Committee with  PAG Niyi Adesanya as the Chairman.  
The aim of the screening is to get prepared for the expected invitation of the District by the US Embassy, we don’t want to be caught unaware whenever we are invited.  Discussion is ongoing between the US Embassy and the Four Districts in Nigeria.  Other contacts are also been explored to make sure we are given the opportunity for visa interview where necessary.
Preparation for our District Conference (DISCON 2022) is in top gear.  It seems participation at the Conference in terms of attendance will surpass the planned participation target set as Covid-19 is abating due to Rotary advocacy for vaccination which has resulted in increased vaccination.  
Booths in the House of Friendship have been fully sold.  It promises to be a conference whose memory will linger for a while.  Please register today for a life time experience at DISCON 22.
The Conference Chairman, PAG Lanre Adedoyin, has promised to deliver a conference like never before.
Other Committees in the District are doing their work as necessary. The Awards and Recognition Committee under the Chairmanship of PAG Ayo Olumoko released revised guidelines for evaluating and awarding points to winners.  
The new guidelines cover all avenues of service in Rotary.  It is important for clubs to note that to be a functioning club, you have to co-operate with the District.  One of the several ways of co-operation with the District is by supporting a number of the District Committees, to qualify to be recognised or win awards.
Extract from RI Code of Policies of August 2021 
17.10.1 - Role of the District
A district is a group of clubs within a geographical boundary established by the Board. The purpose of a district is to strengthen and support clubs. Districts are not required to complete a particular service project or program. (April 2018 Mtg., Bd. Dec. 160).
Establishment of Districts within Zones
At its first meeting of each year, the RI Board establishes Rotary’s zones and any needed adjustments to the zone sections, for that year. (April 2018 Mtg., Bd. Dec. 160)
Through districting, the Board redraws district boundaries, either by dividing districts, by realigning clubs within districts, or by consolidating districts.
As stated in RI Bylaws section 15.010.1, the Board may eliminate or change the boundaries of any district with more than 100 clubs or fewer than 1,100 Rotarians. In conjunction with any such change, the Board may move clubs from such districts into adjacent districts, merge or divide such districts.
All districts are bound by RI Bylaws 15.010. to accept clubs from districts with more than 100 clubs or fewer than 1,100 members whose boundaries are redrawn.
District governors use the District Reorganization Form, available from the general secretary, to propose districting changes.
When districts are consolidated or divided, all of the affected districts’ future governors who have already been selected (elected, nominated, or designated) are offered the opportunity to serve in the newly merged or divided district, although some may not serve during their originally selected term.
In districts with 1,100 or more members or fewer than 100 clubs, the governor(s) of the existing district(s) must share the districting proposal with the clubs. Clubs have 30 days from receipt of the proposal to discuss and vote on the proposal. If a majority of clubs in a district with 1,100 or more members or fewer than 100 clubs reject the proposal it does not move forward. Each districting proposal includes certification that the majority of clubs in the district(s) did not reject the proposal and signatures of the current and future elected governors.
The districting committee evaluates districting proposals and sends its recommendation to the Board.
The District Reorganization Form asks for:
The proposal
Description of the new district boundaries
Suggestions for the new district numbers. Consolidated or divided districts must have new numbers to ensure the accuracy of Rotary reports and historical archives.
The consolidated district may not use the number of either of the merged districts. The Board ultimately assigns new district numbers.
The desired effective date of the change
The current and future district leadership plans for the affected districts, including the number of assistant governors and number of clubs assigned to each
The general secretary will provide the following data to the districting committee for each districting proposal:
The affected districts’ membership history, based on 1 July invoices for the past five years,

A list of the affected districts’ clubs, including their charter date and membership as of their most recent club invoice; the list will highlight the number and percentage of clubs with fewer than 20 members and clubs chartered in the past three years.  (April 2018 Mtg., Bd. Dec. 160)
Source: April 2018 Mtg., Bd. Dec. 160
Districting Criteria – 
The procedures for districting shall be as follows:
Districting decisions are based on the official membership of the district as of 1 July or 1 January, whichever is the most recent at the time of the Board meeting.
 Districting proposals may consider geographical boundaries, potential for district growth, and cultural, economic, language, and other relevant factors
New districts should:
–Have at least 60 clubs or 2,100 members
–Have demonstrated potential for growth to at least 75 clubs and 2,700 members within 10 years, based on their five-year membership history
–Have at least 90 percent of its clubs that were chartered at least three years before the date of the proposal
–Have more than 20 members in at least 80 percent of their clubs
For districts that have 1,200 members or fewer:
–The districting committee will request an annual membership development plan from the district and share district consolidation information.
–The director and the district’s governor-elect, governor-nominee, and governor- nominee-designate will receive copies of all correspondence about the district’s size and will be asked to work together on increasing membership.
 (October 2019 Mtg., Bd. Dec. 29)
In furtherance of our effort to encourage performance and recognise achievement by clubs and individuals, the District is planning to create a Hall of Fame where various awards and recognitions will be displayed.  We are starting this year by hanging the portrait of the overall Best Club President for year 2020-2021, Opportunities President Funke Doris Salau of the Rotary Club of Ota, at The Rotary Centre on the 10th November, 2021 at a ceremony to precede the TRF Seminar.  The portrait will be on display for the rest of the year before a new winner emerges and replaces the current portrait.
 “Together we can, together we will”.  
Let me end this address by thanking you for the support to date and plead that the journey is still far; the clock is still begging for attention. Let us continue to beat the clock and be the confirmed ‘Change Makers’ as we ‘serve to change lives’.

 *'Remi Bello, FCA*