Newly elected President of the Lagos Country Club, Tajudeen Akande has once again reiterated his pledge to take the club to the next level following his victory in their election held recently. Speaking during an interview in his office at the club, Akande promised a totally overhaul and upgrade of infrastructure at the club. Excerpts….
How are you settling in into your new position?
I’m just trying to get to grip with what is on ground. To be able to move smoothly it’s good to have a good understanding of what has happened, so the last couple of days has been to look at documentations and correspondences so that one can be on the same page with the career management people who are here to assist us with day to day operations.
Â What motivated you into running for the position?
The main motivation is service, selfless service and two, I’ll say effective leadership. I’ve been part of the club, I’ve been an active member in terms of club activities, not politicking and even I can see where we are as against where some of us thought we ought to be and when in that kind of situation you need to look at why are we where we are now and what do we really need? At this point I believe, as a member of the club prior to the election that the club needs a kind of effective leadership, a leader who will be a team builder and I know I can provide that effectively.
Â What are your goals and objectives for the club?
The main objective is to accelerate the speed of development. As a club we have massive facility and infrastructure but they are deteriorating very fast in terms of maintenance or the lack of adequate maintenance, also we have a situation where we need to rebuild our brand reputation. It’s not as if the club when compared to other clubs isn’t up there, but at times we get complacent and we think we are there so before you know it others overtake you, so my goal first and foremost is to ensure that we take the club as it were back to its pre-eminent elitist position in terms of public perception. We want a situation where no matter the number of clubs you mention in Nigeria, Lagos Country Club will be ranked at the very top, so to achieve that, there are things we need to do. In this tenure there will be a complete overhaul of our physical infrastructure.
Â So what do you think will be the key to achieving these goals?
The first thing is a buy-in from them to share the vision. We have put this program across to them during the electioneering and I believe the vote is a reflection of how much people believe in that, but we will not stop at that, we will still sell this vision for people to be convinced because we need funds to achieve them, everything that is good comes at a cost, so we will be needing funds.
Â Do you think the experience of serving as the chairman of the Table-Tennis section has put you in a better position to effect change?
Definitely. When you serve as the chairman of any of the sections, because the same set up you have at the club is what is obtainable at the sections and even there you have closer interactions with the members. It is like we have in the country, a federal system where you have the state and the federal, a state governor has that experience when he comes to the national level on how to manage legislators and the rest. My experience as chairman of one of the sections is of course is an added advantage, I also believe that the level of achievement myself and the team there made might also be a contributing factor to the support I got, because when you are going into election you make promises but with the experiences weâ€™ve had it’s difficult to believe promises, you can only make references with promises that has been delivered. So having done that, people have seen the little that one was able to deliver which serves as a good reference point and I think it helped in bringing this massive support.
How would you summarise your time as the chairman of the Table-Tennis section and what are the highlights during your tenure?
There are so many. Even though it is not ideal to assess myself but I finished that assignment over two years ago and I’ve also had the opportunity to get feedbacks, when you leave people will talk. Generally and with all sense of modesty I want to term that as largely successful and in terms of the key moments, I’ll say for me there was no dull moments, in terms of membership interaction, sports, we were having tournaments virtually every month, the enthusiasm that was created was such that we had people willing to sponsor events and we were telling them our calendar was full.
The changes in the physical infrastructure were so significant that you can still look back and see one signature there. I never did anything and put a plaque on it but up till now people can still look back and say “oh, that changing room was done during TJ’s tenure, that gallery was done, that lounge”, so they are there and those are reference points up till now, yes there has been improvements but when somebody has done something it will be stupid for you not to make your own contribution.
What is your message to the club members?
Well, to everybody I’ll say the support should not end with the election, the journey has just started. The election is just a means to an end, that is the starting point, so we need even a much bigger support and this time around it is not only those who supported during the election, we need everybody. As I said during my acceptance speech, whatever differences ends with the election it is now Lagos Country Club and the objective is the same, whether you belong to this camp or that camp our objective is to make Lagos Country Club greater than it is today and when one side gets the mandate everybody must collapse that support base into one for that ultimate objective. So we are together and let’s keep focus on our objective of making the club greater than what it is now so we must all work together as a team for a common goal, we cannot afford to work against each other. That’s my message to our members, we need more support, we need people to key into the vision to update the infrastructure not just to accept that we need to do this, whatever way anyone will contribute, either financially or in terms of influence that can benefit the club, every level of support will be greatly appreciated. By June 2018 we want to look back at June 2017 and say that we have travelled far.