Mary Ekah writes that Rotary Club District 9110, Nigeria recently rounded off its activities for the year 2016/2017 with an end of the year party for members and a send-forth party for the outgoing District Governor, Rotarian Patrick Ikheloa, who handed over the mantle of leadership to Rotarian Wale Ogunbadejo, who took over instantaneously for the next Rotary year

During the auspicious occasion, which turned out to be a fun time for members, awards were given to deserving individuals and clubs in the district. It was an avenue to reward persons and clubs that have stood out by performing outlandishly well in their various domains during the Rotary year. For the just concluded Rotary year, the Rotary Club of Lagos Palm Groove Estate came top in district, coming top amongst all other clubs in its constituency as it clutched the highest number of awards in different categories during the award ceremony held at the premises of the District’s headquarters in Ikeja Lagos.

Rotary Club of Lagos Palm Grove Estate emerged the Overall Best Rotary Club among 100 clubs of the Rotary District 9110 during Rotary year 2016-17 and thereby went away with a huge trophy amongst other plaques and certificates of excellence that the Club took home same day. Coming on the heels were Rotary Club of Ogudu GRA and Rotary Club of Maryland, which took second and third positions respectively.

The outgoing All-stars District Governor, Rotarian Patrick Ikheloa who was extremely excited as his tenure came to glorious end with lots of achievements to show, said, “Without gainsaying, we have in actual sense served humanity in the past 12 months. We have brought to bear the All-stars nature in us which the Rotary International President, John Germ branded us. We are found shinning all around our communities as we put Rotary’s footprints on the sands of time through series of need-informed service projects and other activities of Rotary.”

“We have kept our clubs and by extension, the District going. We have made impacts to the best of our ability and faced challenges with great courage along the line. And our district has once again been made to stand tall among other districts in the zone and beyond going by our records of achievements.”

Ikheloa recognised the efforts of every Rotarian in the District as he specially thanked Rotarian Vinod Garg, the chartered president of Rotary Club of the Lagos Island and Rotarian Tarun Shangvi, the all-star president of Rotary Club of Lagos Palm Grove Estate, both of whom clubs had emerged mega clubs during the year.

The DG specially commended the Past President, Rotary Club Lagos Palm Groove Estate and District Chairman, Public Relations and Public Image Committee for 2016/2017, Rotarian Biswal, for his excellent dedication for achieving two mega clubs during his tenure as the All-stars District Governor.

The event also witnessed the launch of the Club’s annual publication, titled, ‘The Governor’s Magazine’, which was an advanced format of its monthly newsletter, ‘The Governor’s Newsletter’, containing information about the district and the various clubs, their activities as well as information about the Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation. Before now, the district had published 11 editions of ‘The Governor’s Newsletter’ which culminated in the bumper and upgraded 12th edition, ‘The Governor’s Magazine’.

Rotarian Biswal, said his Club, Rotary Club of Lagos Palm Groove Estate, emerged number one for various reasons.
“First reason is that we have made our baby club, Rotary Club of Lagos Island, become a mega club in no time, where the then District Governor, Rotarian Bola Onabadejo had appointed me the District Governor’s Special Representative (DGSR) to take responsibility for the club,” Biswal said while explaining that, “A mega club means having more than a 100 members at a time and in all over Nigeria, there are just two clubs that are mega clubs – One is the Rotary Club of Lagos Island and the second is Rotary Club Lagos Palm Groove Estate. So as a mega club, Rotary Club Lagos Palm Groove Estate is having over 120 members, which is the highest number of members in a club as of today. Again we are rewarded the best club because we have done the highest number of service projects, those are services that have to do with humanity.”

Enumerating the community services that his club has been involved in over the year and which had earned it the high-status awards, the special representative of the District Governor of the Rotary Club of Lagos Island, said the Rotary Club of Lagos Palm Groove Estate has carried out free eye surgeries to over 20,000 Nigerians and has also donated over 50,000 free artificial limbs to physically challenged Nigerians.

“And for all these we have earned the number one club in Districts 9110 and also in all over Nigeria. In service we won number one, in membership we are number one and we have also got the overall best club,” he noted.

Biswal who joined Rotary Club in 2008, became one of the chartered members in June of same year and also a pioneer member of Rotary Club Lagos Palm Groove Estate, which started off with just 23 members and by the end of his tenure as the club’s president between 2014 and 2015, membership had increased to 72. He was also appointed by a former District Governor, Rotarian Bola Onabadejo as the District Governor’s Special Representative (DGSR) for the formation of Rotary Club of Lagos Island which was formed with 32 chartered members and within six months, the club through the leadership dynamism of Biswal’s leadership achieved its mega club status having registered over a 100 members, making it first of its kind in Nigeria.

“I feel proud as being instrumental to have created the first mega club of the district 9110 and also in Nigeria with excellent team work of Rotary Club of Lagos Island members. I feel so proud to be associated with Rotary Club of Lagos Island and Rotary Club of Lagos Palm Groove Estate, the two clubs which are the only mega clubs of the district 9110 in one Rotary year,” Biswa said.

He said further that these achievements happened mainly due to the team work of committed Rotarians, good publicity and public image created by excellent projects like blood donation camps, the signature project of the year for District 9110, where nearly 1000 bottles of blood have been donated by Rotarians during the just concluded Rotary year. The DGSR who said the Club has also executed water and sanitation projects as well as donated benches and desks for schools amongst other projects like polio eradication and vocational training, stressed that it has been fantastic year with the All Stars District Governor, Ikheloa who supported him wholeheartedly and help made his job easier.

The incoming president of Rotary Club of Lagos Palm Groove Estate for 2017-2018, Atul Kshetry said the awards were only recognition for what the Club has done over the year, adding that, “At Rotary, we don’t work to be awarded; our objective is simple – service to humanity – and that is what we keep doing. If awards come, fine, if not, there is still recognition by the society. So irrespective of the awards, we would continue with what we have been doing. That is the fundamental philosophy of our club. So our objective will be to continue to grow in various aspects of community services and we would continue to be awarded by humanity and the Almighty God.”

Kshetry noted further that the Club’s major focus has been on healthcare and that they would continue to tackle health issue while also carrying out humanitarian services on vocational training and various other things to improve on the society, adding, “And most importantly we would continue to distribute about 30 artificial limbs every month for 100 percent free of charge to the physically challenged and this is a project that is very much dear to our hearts and we have been doing this for the past 8 years.”