‘So much more to be done…’
THE need for service to others especially to the under-privileged , by those more richly endowed was again emphasised on Saturday, during the installation of Dr. Alexander Thomopulos as the President of the Rotary Club of Lagos-Palm Grove Estate, 2009-2010.
Other executive members of the club were inducted and the Charter President, Dr. Deep Mirani and other pioneer club officers also honoured at the ceremony which took place at Hotel Victoria Palace, Lagos.
Other dignitaries present included the representatives of the Indian High Commission in Nigeria , led by Head Chancery, Indian High Commission, Lagos, Mr. Raj Kumar, and the former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ona Soleye and many more.
It was also an opportunity for members to look back at what has been a very busy period since the club’s charter presentation on Saturday, October 18, 2008.
None other than the District Governor , District 9110, Emmanuel Tayo Alabi led in commending Rotary Club of Lagos-Palm Grove Estate for the numerous ways it has positively touched the lives of people in the Palm Grove area and beyond , in such a short time.
He said Rotary Club of Lagos-Palm Grove Estate , since its charter has demonstrated in practical terms , the tenets of Rotary and has even achieved much more than some clubs established many more years before.
He commended the club for the free health checks and surgical operations it holds in Lagos and thanked the founding fathers for the wonderful feat so far achieved.
The District Governor also called on well-meaning individuals and corporate organisations to join hands with the club in helping the less privileged in particular and humanity in general to make the world a better place .
Speaking shortly after his installation, Dr Thomopulos said the Rotary Club of Lagos-Palm Grove Estate has executed many projects aimed at uplifting humanity.
The club, he said has not relented in its efforts to meet the needs of Palm Grove Estate host community and environs with projects like the provision of artificial limbs to the needy who lost their limbs to accidents or diseases.
Thomopoulos also said the club, in collaboration with Indo Eye Care Foundation, has organised treatment and surgeries to correct eye-related ailments for the underprivileged as well as run health camps for medical checkups and distribution of medications .
In the area of education, the president said the club is constructing bore-holes and wells in schools, repairing roofs and classrooms and providing playground equipment.
He continued:“ But so much more needs to be done. Currently, our club has planned some very important projects, in the health and education spheres, to the tune of N32 million during the year 2009-2010 and beyond.
“Our service projects will focus on health and education as primary spheres of our activities.
“We are aware that government alone cannot deliver health, educational and other services to the citizens. Therefore, other groups must offer their assistance to society in order to complement the efforts of the government. It is a civic duty for all to join hands with government in improving health and educational facilities.”
In the area of health , Thomopoulos said the Rotary Club of Lagos – Palm Grove Estate intends to organise four health camps for free medical check up and distribution of basic drugs and medicines to the needy during Rotary year 2009/2010 at an estimated cost of N6 million.
He also said the club hopes to provide about 500 artificial limbs at no cost to needy beneficiaries who may have lost their limbs in accidents or as a result of diseases .
The artificial limbs, world-famous and known as “Jaipur Feet” will be imported from manufacturer in India and can be fixed to recipients from the ages of three years to 80 years and could be above or below-knee.
The limbs will cost the club close to N9 million.
The club will also continue with the popular free treatment and surgeries to correct eye-related ailments as well as those with complicated ailment like hole -in -the -heart, cornea transplant and kidney transplant at the cost of N14.5 million.
He said: “As you have rightly guessed, it is not possible to execute these projects without support from people and organisations, like you. The underprivileged in our communities will benefit from these projects, thanks to people like you.
“I want us to do a simple exercise. Close your eyes and listen please. Just pause for a few seconds! Visualise the faces of thousands of people whose lives have been transformed and uplifted from bad health, blindness , whether partial or total, with amputated legs and so on.
“ Shall we say that you begin to cry!? But, this cry is that of joy and not of sorrow. You immediately feel touched, happy that you have helped transform a portion of mankind. Their joys will be your joys! This is what we are talking about! Your joy will be multiplied several fold”.
The charter president Dr Mirami said Rotary Club of Lagos – Palm Grove Estate , in collaboration with the Indo Eye Centre and Indian Community in Nigeria will within the next 14 months provide Nigerians with a world-class eye specialist hospital to serve the needy as well as those who can afford it.
For the guest speaker and former Minister of Finance, Dr Onaolapo Soleye , the nation should undergo a structural change rather than the present ‘repetitive change’, which is merely change of personnel in a very defective structure, if it is ever to move forward.
He said, if Nigerians had appreciated that Nigeria is big business, “we will not be in the mess that we are in , toda”.
He urged the club to help discourage money politics in Nigeria by refusing to donate to political parties and politicians.
According to him, there is need to amend some of the sections of the constitution, especially, the centralization of the police, the Land Use Act, The Minerals Act, the inclusion of Local councils in the constitution, the direct involvement of the Federal Government in the Universal Basic Education and the power of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission to determine the remuneration of political office holders in the states.
The superintending posture of the Federal government in this regard, he said violates the spirit of federalism as there is no basis to assume the state governments are incapable of determining what is good for them
The special guest of honour, Prof. Deji Femi-Pearse called for the application of the Rotary Club’s 4- Way test if the nation is to free itself from the present logjam.