Fun as Rotary Gives Youngsters Leadership Tips 

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By Omolabake Fasogbon

It was another day when education took centre stage as the Rotary Club of Lagos marked this year’s Basic Education and Literacy Month with a visit to Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos. The visit was very instructive as the Club was able to bring in two young chaps, Obinna Chinewubeze and Miss. Omoboye Folasade, as guest speakers. Their names might not ring a bell but those who are conversant with recent academic feats at the University of Lagos would attest to the fact that Chinewubeze made a first class in Chemical Engineering while Omoboye also made a first class in Accounting from Babcock University, in Ilishan, Remo in Ogun State.

The two young man and woman were there to give talks on leadership and how the students could develop their leadership skills. However, while the event of the afternoon focused on the talks, it must be noted that the Club also took cognizance of the fact that while Dowen College was an Ivy League school, it does not mean that those whose parents could not afford such school would not benefit from such a programme. That was why, according to the president of the Club, Mrs. Gladys Modupe Sasore, decided to bring students from other colleges from the Mainland. These schools included Lafiaji College in Lagos, Obalende High School as well as Igbobi College, also in Lagos.

In her welcome address, Sasore said Rotary International always sets aside September as its Basic Education and Literacy Month. She added that “Rotary Club of Lagos has always been at the fore-front of promoting education and literacy among pupils and students.”

She explained that education increases the self esteem of a child and also his or her confidence. She said apart from the fact that there has been tremendous access to education; she explained that the quality of education in the country has also improved which could be gleaned from the quality of students and graduates being produced.

In his address, one of the guest speakers, Chinewubeze, spoke on Leadership and You. According to him, the best way someone could lead others is how well he or she has been able to lead him or herself. He admonished the students to start honing their leadership skills right from their school days.

 Obinna is the author of Secrets of Best Graduating Students. To the glory of God, I was the best graduating student of Lagos State Polytechnic. I went to the University of Lagos where I was also the best graduating student. I worked on the book with the help of other best graduating students, both in University of Lagos as well as other schools. I currently work at the Computer Engineering Department of the University of Lagos as Graduate Assistant.

Coming from a generation that is so used to catching fun and living life on the fast lane, Obinna Chinewubeze seemed to be different. And he attributed this to the fact that he was able to know, quite early, that one must be able to know the consequences of any particular path one chooses.

“Wisdom is the ability to aggregate consequences. That is why I felt focusing on my academics while I was in school was the best thing for me. And I still believe it is the best thing for any student to do. If you focus on any other thing, then you are off it because the ultimate thing will be your

This is a great programme. This is because these students are being taught that this is the way to go. I was an average performer from when I was young and towards secondary. I was able to come across some resources that helped me.

I did not have this kind of mentoring when I was in school, but I have it in church. In fact, one of the gifts I got was a book on the three Ds: discipline, determination and diligence. And that is why I want students to focus on their academics and also what their passions are as well.

 In marking the Basic Education and Literacy Month is held by Rotary every year to promote education. And it has been doing this for decades. But the choice of Dowen College and the bringing in students from other schools that were not in the same standard with the host school. Speaking with THISDAY after the event, Rotary Club of Lagos President, Sasore, who was also a special adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, said bringing the students from those schools that were not in bracket with Dowen College was just to show that students from such schools should not be denied opportunities because of the economic conditions of their parents.  

“For Rotary Club of Lagos as part of Rotary International, September is the Basic Education and Literacy Month and Rotary is very keen to the fact that education is the backbone of every human endeavour. 

We want to help the students and that is why we put this together. It is very important and I feel personally glad that students from other schools not as privileged as Dowen College came for this programme. 

Yes, there are those whose parents are less privileged and could not afford a school like this. But that does not mean they are less knowledgeable. That is why we brought them together to mingle and benefit from this programme.”