On Saturday, July 8, 2017, Dr. Adewale Ogunbadejo was installed as the 37th District Governor of Rotary International, District 9110 Nigeria, in a very colourful atmosphere. The event which held at MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos was attended by Rotarians from far and near and other dignitaries.
Encomium Weekly had a one-on-one interview with the new governor on the memorable investiture and other issues.
How does it feel being installed today as the 37th District Governor, Rotary International 9110 Nigeria?
The feeling is indescribable. I feel very happy, privileged and honoured all together. I also know that it comes with a lot of responsibilities and so, I keep praying for the strength, wisdom, guidance and good health from Almighty Father to carry the responsibilities. It’s only one year. No matter how you plan, it’s left to the grace of God to make it work.
We have planned so hard, we have also worked as hard so that everything goes well. And I feel that this event has turned out well. It’s an indication that God has answered our prayers and I hope He will answer our prayers throughout the tenure.
How would you describe the event generally?
Without sounding immodest, I think it has been a success, a success in terms of arrangement. Despite the heavy rain in the morning, people still came. It’s a great surprise for me. Just a few minutes ago, a senator representing my area in Lagos state just came in after attending the wedding of Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s daughter in Abeokuta, Ogun State. So, I believe, it’s a success in terms of organization. Also, in terms of financial aspect, it has also been a success. Most of our awardees are great. A lot of Rotarians have also donated and contributed a lot to the success of today’s event. So, it has been a success in that aspect, though may be not as much as expected. All of us are aware of the country’s economic situation at the moment. If anybody can come out and say I give you N100,000, that’s a lot of money because there’s recession in the country. It’s not easy. I thank them all, they have all done well.
Going by virtue of your profession as medical doctor, how do you intend actualizing your dreams as Governor of the district?
Like I said, I can’t do it alone in Rotary. You do everything in collaboration with those that are going to work with you. Then, Presidents of clubs, chairmen, district committee members and other past leaders are going to give you all the support. Once you’re given all the needed support and you have a plan, everything will work out well. So, just like I said, it requires a lot of planning and we have spent a lot of our time doing that. It’s now left for us to execute all that we have planned. Once you have all the support from other Rotarians, it’s expected that everything will fall in place according to plan by His grace.
How would you assess the performance of your predecessor?
He did his best. He dedicated his time for the job throughout the whole year. And he achieved so many things. He had taken the district to a higher level. It’s now for me to continue where he stopped.
How do you intend to surpass his record?
Yes, we’re here to surpass his record because one, we came to make a difference. We want to make a difference in all areas of humanitarian services as in terms of district administration, membership in the district, positive image and public awareness and other areas. We want to make a difference in everything. For instance, my predecessor gave scholarship to 18 students last year, I want to make it 20 this year. By making the number of beneficiaries 20, that means I have to get more donations to that fund so that I can give new children scholarship in higher institutions. We know what he has achieved, we know what he planned but just because district is a continuum. So, where he left, I have to take over. It’s not a matter of you saying you run your race I run mine. It’s a continuum. We will take over from where he stopped in all the areas of the district administration and public image and make the whole thing better than it’s handed over to us. That’s how it’s done in Rotary.
Where does your power cover as District Governor?
We’re lucky here. I cover Lagos and Ogun states. We have four districts in Nigeria. Lagos and Ogun is one. Then, Oyo to Abuja, Adamawa, Damaturu and so on are one. Then, from Edo, Cross Rivers, all over South-South states are just one district. Then, the core eastern states are also one district. Then district does not depend on the number of states. It all depends on the number of Rotarians you have because you must have a minimum number of Rotarians for you to have a district. So. It’s because of the number of Rotarians we have in Lagos and Ogun States that qualified us to have a district. We have about 2,500 Rotarians. We can easily have more. All we need do, speak our language and tell people what we have achieved and then, more people will like to join us. Even, in years to come, we can have one district in Lagos alone. Once you have 2,000 Rotarians, you can have a district. And in Lagos, you can have 10,000 Rotarians. So, it has nothing to do with number of states. In some parts of Africa, 800 are one district.
What has being a Rotarian changed in your life?
It has changed a lot of things because if you’re a Rotarian, the 4 way Test alone is enough. Before you think, before you act, is it the truth? And anytime you take decision, is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendship? Then, will it be beneficial to all concerned? You can ask all the question for every step you take. Being Rotarian has enabled us to be more compassionate as human beings. It makes us feel for others and be ready to help others. Love your neighbours as yourself. That’s exactly what’s keeping me on as well. The spirit to help others makes me feel happy all the time.
How would you be taking care of home front going by the enormous task before you now?
That’s the error. Yesterday, I was at an introduction ceremony of the President of a club, and one very important person here who I won’t want to mention his name was asking the Rotarians. “How do you people find time to meet every week?” How much does it take to meet every week? It’s minimum of one hour and maximum of two hours. The average human being, especially the male, look at your 24 hours in a day, what do you spend the time on? When you close for work you can spend four hours in a joint. If you spend four hours at a joint, you should be able to spend at least two hours for Rotary meeting in a week. Anybody can afford time for Rotary. It’s a matter of whether you have it or you don’t have it. If you have it to you, to spend the time is not the problem. The same goes for money. There’s nothing big in being a Rotarian. It’s either you have it or not. And what do you have? It’s the willingness to do it no matter how small. It doesn’t have to do with how much you have. A billionaire may not be a Rotarian and yet somebody who is still struggling can be a Rotarian. You give what you have including your thinking, time, money and even sometimes yourself. That’s what it takes. The money is much. At times, we can fine ourselves for dressing so well or even for dressing badly. If I see you dressed well, I can say “For dressing so well, give me N500”. And the same thing can happen if you don’t dress well. There’s nothing you can do that you won’t get fined. Even, if it’s your birthday, you be fined. It’s all fun and wonderful thing to be a Rotarian.
With this heavy task before you as a District Governor, how can a year be enough?
That’s just it. It’s only one year we have. So, whatever you have to do, it’s within that one year. It’s not more than that. Within that period, you just have to be focused. Forget your job, you donate it to some others. You just face that office as District Governor.
But your job as a medical doctor is also very important (Cuts in)
I knew I was going to be faced with that but reasonably I must have planned myself very well. And I must tell you, I have planned myself well. And somebody will look after my responsibilities while I am serving. So, I have no problem concerning that by His grace.