Posted by Elizabeth Edozie on Sep 01, 2019


I welcome you to the new month of September. 

This is the third month in the Rotary calendar. This is the 'BASIC EDUCATION AND LITERACY' month.  We will talk about that later.  But I have lots of news to share.  Lots of good news, a few bad ones, and plenty in-between. 

Let me give the bad news first.

This last month I had the sad experience of attending the burial ceremonies of two of our finest Rotarians.  Past President Bayo Amosu of the Rotary Club of Falomo, and Past President Francis Ejeogo of the Rotary Club of Ajuwon.  To say these deaths were shocking will be an understatement.  These men served Rotary to the best of their abilities but died when Rotary, their families and communities needed them most.  

Let's keep the bereaved families in our thoughts and prayers.  I salute the Presidents and members of the Rotary Clubs of Falomo and Ajuwon for all they did to support the families of their departed members.  It was obvious to everyone that they Rotary is indeed a family, and that 'we care'.

This trend of sudden deaths is disturbingly too frequent.  Each one of us owe it to ourselves and our families to live a healthy lifestyle, do regular medical checks, and don't ignore warning signs. Many 'sudden' deaths are usually preceded by warning signs which, unfortunately, many ignore, or wish away,  often with terrible consequences.  We will try to inculcate health talks in as many of our programs as possible.

Now the good news.  And there are lots of them!  The first is on Polio.  At last we did it!  On August 21st we reached that elusive milestone.  3 years without Polio in Nigeria. The low key celebrations were deliberate.  It is the first milestone in the journey for Nigeria, and in fact the African continent to  be declared Polio free.  Rigorous checks are going as we speak, and these may take months, so we should remain vigilant and focused.  

I congratulate the District, and the National PolioPlus committees for their tireless efforts. Let's keep supporting their efforts as individuals and as clubs.  Donate to the PolioPlus fund of the Rotary Foundation.  Support the immunisation teams in your local communities during National Immunisation Days.  For us at the District level, 20% of our District Designated Fund has been donated to the Polio effort.  

The World Polio Day is October 24th.  It's a day to organise events in our various clubs to raise awareness, raise funds, and share the stories of Rotary's efforts to eradicate polio in traditional media, and  on our social media platforms - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.  Don't forget to forward your stories to the District PolioPlus committee.

More good news on membership.  Finally, Yes, finally, we crossed that elusive 3,000-member mark.  As at 31st of August, membership count in the District stood at 3,015. Feel free to click some wine glasses at your next fellowship. What is more? One more club joined that elite group of Mega Clubs .  Rotary Club of Maryland hit the 100 member mark last week. I congratulate the President and members  for this achievement.  I am aware of 5 other clubs who plan to join this elite group.  They have my support as we play our part in the RI President's plan to GROW ROTARY.

Our Rotary Foundation activities are picking up, after a slow start.   I have had to make clarifications about the 'Million Dollar Challenge'.  It is not a separate scheme, but an integral part of our standard Foundation contribution programs, - EREY, PHF, PHS, Major Donor programs.  It is an extra incentive for making your EREY or PHF contributions.  

A Rotarian donated $4,000 to the Rotary Foundation during the month and got 800 tickets!  Every $5 donation will entitle you to a ticket.  We have enough tickets to match any amount of donations.  The spinoffs are the fact that you can sell tickets to your friends and associates, at N2,000 each and get credited in your Foundation account.  So, you can become a Paul Harris Fellow by just selling the tickets to friends and family.  

I hope every Rotarian will have his or her name as a contributor to the Rotary Foundation.  If you cannot buy, you can sell! Let's get going with the Challenge.  At the last draw, a 'Worldwide Business Class Ticket' to any destination on earth, worth 2.6 million Naira was won. There are ten more draws planned, and the earlier you have your ticket in that raffle drum, the better your chances of winning in any of the subsequent draws.

There are interesting times ahead and I hope, together, we can make the Rotary experience a pleasurable one.

As at 31st of August the official District Governor's visit has been conducted in 21 clubs.  There are 79 clubs to go!  Looks daunting!  While it can be exhausting, it is a special experience.  Every club is unique, with its own culture and they are as diverse as the number of clubs.  This is to be encouraged in as much as it doesn't go outside the parameters spelt out in the manual of procedure. I have encouraged Club Presidents to visit other clubs both in and outside our District or even outside Nigeria, to discover the very diverse ways of getting the Rotary experience.  Try out new ideas that will spice up your fellowships, and the club will be better off with it.

Our Cervical Cancer Prevention project should go to the field by the end of next month.  I am grateful to clubs that have keyed into the project by pledging to take on the costs of vaccination of a number of girls.  Some have pledged to save 10, 20, 50 girls and more.  Topping the participation list is the Rotary Club Lagos Palmgroove Estate with a pledge to save 110 girls from the threat of Cervical Cancer.  A dose of the vaccine costs 11,000 Naira.

Each girl will require 2 doses, meaning 22,000 per girl.  We are still a long way to our target of 10,000 girls, so I will implore clubs and Rotarians who are inspired by this noble idea to just contact me or the committee chair, PP Agbe-Davies of the Rotary Club of Ikoyi.  Account Details are....First Bank...2032874938...Rotary International District 9110.

Now for our focus for September. The BASIC EDUCATION AND LITERACY MONTH.

‘Basic Education and literacy’ is one of Rotary's Areas of Focus.  Consider these facts:

• If all women completed primary education, there will be 66% fewer maternal deaths.

• A child born to a mother who can read and write is 50% more likely to survive past the age of five.

• If all the children in low income countries completed primary education, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty. 

I hope every club will plan and execute at least a project in this area of focus this month.  If you don't have one planned, you can get ideas from other clubs, and at Rotary Ideas on ''.

As the excitement of the new Rotary year settles, many investiture ceremonies over and done with,  its time for action. That who we are.  United Rotarians.  Together we "unite to take action, to create lasting change, across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves".

I wish you well as we continue our Rotary journey together.

Sincere regards