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‘So much more to be done…’

rotary*New Rotary Club of Lagos-Palmgroove Estate  President  outlines new service plan for Lagosians

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.



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