Posted on Sep 01, 2017
My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I welcome you all to the month of September, the Ninth month in the Gregorian Calendar but the third month in the Rotary year, my month of birth. A month dedicated to “Basic Education and Literacy”, one of the Six Areas of Focus of our organisation.
I wish to thank all the clubs that hosted my entourage and I in the past one month for their hospitality and willingness to listen to what we had to say towards making their Clubs Better, Bolder and Bigger. It has been very educative and motivating for me, to see clubs at close quarters, with each demonstrating its own uniqueness, strengths and weaknesses. For us to Make a Difference this year, we MUST be innovative and be ready to go through the uncharted paths in our volition to serve our communities and beyond.
On your behalf, I hereby congratulate Rotary Club of Ikeja, one of the Grandfather Clubs in the District as they attained the Golden Age on 31st August 2017. May the next fifty years be more fulfilling and fruitful in the Service to Humanity.
We also wish to place on record, the passing of PDG Bob Ogbuagu who served in  1983-84 Rotary year with the Theme “Share Rotary…Serve People.” He was a very wonderful spirit, a Humble, jolly good fellow who served Rotary till the end. He will be sorely missed by all those who had the opportunity to have come across his path in life. May his path upwards be blessed and May he be permitted eternal, joyful existence in the Realms Above. A condolence Register has been opened at the Rotary Centre in his memory, while our flags will fly at half-mast till his remains are interred.  
Now to the Theme of the Month “Basic Education and Literacy.” Why is Basic Education and Literacy a priority for Rotary International?
What is Literacy? Literacy is traditionally understood as The Ability to read, write and use arithmetic while a higher definition says, “Literacy is the ability, confidence and willingness to engage with language to acquire, construct and communicate meaningfully in all aspects of daily living.” 
What it all boils down to, is that an illiterate person or one who is unable to read, write and do some arithmetic is severely and grossly disadvantaged among others in same community, more so in this technology-driven age. His illiteracy may also affect his/her children thus further deepening the problem in the community.
The higher the illiteracy rate in a community therefore, the more the possibility of Poverty, Higher incidence of illnesses, Reduced economic productivity, Higher Maternal and Child Mortality, the proclivity for minor issues escalating into major crises, higher level of superstitious beliefs, criminal activities like Money Rituals etc based on Non-existent or factually-inconsistent beliefs and so many other things that retards societal progress. 
In Nigeria, our Literacy level according to CIA World Facts is as follows :  Male  : 69.2%, Females : 49.7% with an average of 59.6%. We can therefore say by inference that our Illiteracy Rate stands at about 40%, which translates to about 60 Million illiterate people above age 15 years in our population of about 150 Million people.  We must all accept that this is a Huge number and explains all that we are going through presently especially in the Northern part of the country. It also partly explains why the Polio virus is still present in Nigeria.
It is therefore our responsibility as Rotarians to assist by helping to improve the infrastructure in our Public Schools, to help in improving the knowledge and skills of the Teachers, to improve the self-esteem of pupils by donating some basic needs and amenities to them. To be Role models to these pupils through setting up Interact clubs in secondary schools.
For the adults who for one reason or the other missed being educated and wish to be educated, we must provide Adult Literacy Classes for them.
The higher the literacy level in a community, the better for all of us as we can all speak with some kind of understanding on issues and ideas and no one can then befuddle others and lead us to unnecessary crises. Economic productivity is increased, the adult literacy graduant has an improved self-esteem and earns more respect from their children, peace and goodwill is also improved and the community progresses.
Global Grant projects on Basic Education and Literacy are few while the needs in our schools are humongous. Let us do more projects in this Area of Focus of The Rotary Foundation.
There will be a Basic Education and Literacy Seminar on Thursday, 7th September 2017 at the District Centre by 10.00 am. Presidents, Service Project Chairs and all Clubs with Adult Education Classes and those desirous of starting one, should please attend as Major personalities in the Education Ministries of Lagos and Ogun States will be available for interactive discussions. All Clubs with graduants who are yet to be awarded certificates can also come with such candidates for a joint award at the Seminar.
Thanks so much Ladies and Gentlemen.
May Rotary Friends and Rotary Ways help us to serve Our Creator All our Days . Amen.  
District Governor, 
Rotary International District 9110, Nigeria.