PRESS: Kindly introduce yourself to the gentlemen of the press
LIONS’ DG: Thank you, I want to specially welcome all Lion leaders, from the chairman of the program, the chairman of the district convention, Lion Abdul Afeez Kolawole Abioye, the secretary to the district that we call cabinet secretary, Lion Abiodun. I will not also want to forget the associate District Governor, the spouse of the District Governor, Lion Hajia Toyin Adedoye, my wonderful CP, Lion Peju Babalola Salaam. Wonderful Lions in our midst, especially, the President of Ilorin metro and member of Ilorin metro, Lion peter, the gentlemen of the press, My name is Lion Dr. Adebola Adesoye, I am the District Governor, district 404B2 Nigeria of Lions Club International. Our program here this time around is the 7th district convention for the district and it is being held with adherence to Covid-19 protocols.
PRESS: Can you tell us more about Lions Club International ?
LIONS’ DG: Thank you very much. Lions Club International was formed and funded about one hundred and three years ago (103) by a man called Melvin Jones who is an insurance broker. Whenever he finishes his business day, he always have business meetings in a restaurant where he always share food. In one of the meetings, he noticed that whenever they share food, the remnants of such food is being packed by some people in waste bin which serve as their own meal. He then discovered that it would be very important to bring friends together to form an association that will be helping the less privilege by giving them what to eat, what to do and help them to make lives better. That is how Lion was formed in 1917. Subsequent years, we started doing things together and more clubs were being formed and that is how it goes to other countries like Canada and specifically it got to Nigeria in 1964. That is why we are celebrating about 56,57 years of existence in Nigeria and that was done by our doyen Lion Akintola William, he is about 101 years old now, the first accountant in Africa. That is the man we see as our father in Nigeria. Presently, our membership in our district which is district 404B2 Nigeria is over two thousand throughout the states in Southwest Nigeria. Thank you
PRESS: Thank you for taking us down to the memory lane. You are here for a purpose sir and that is convention if am not mistaken, what is the convention all about and what did you do at the convention ?
LIONS’ DG: Thank you, our district was formed in 2014 and since 2014 till date, we have been having our district convention year in, year out. To the glory of God, this is the 7th convention in which we always have our members together. The purpose of the convention is to bring our members together, to do a kind of training together, to do some kind of fellowship and assessment of ourselves , to do some kind of networking within ourselves and know ourselves better. This is the forum where we always have that every year and this is the 7th one. Thank you!
PRESS: Sir, there is no organization or association without aims, objectives and core values. Can you kindly put it to the gentlemen of the press, your aims, objectives and core values ?
LIONS’ DG: Lions Club International has purpose and the purpose is to bring men and women together to serve the community directly. Our aims and objectives is service to humanity. We don’t discuss personal gain. What we discuss here is pure service to humanity and it non political, non religious and non profit making organization.
PRESS: Thank you sir. As an association that has been in existence for several decades, you must have imparted in societies, communities. Can you tell us the ways you have been imparting on lives of people so far sir ?
LIONS’ DG: Thank you very much, within the short time of our existence in Nigeria, Lions of Nigeria has built so many facilities, we have built many diabetes centers in many hospitals, we have built many eyes centers in several hospitals. The biggest motherless home in Africa which Lekki motherless home is being built by Lions club international. We have supported the Federal Government in so many programs, we have supported state government in so many programs. Presently, we have nothing less than 6 to 7 diabetes centers built across Nigeria. We more than 1000 boreholes dug across Nigeria. We have more than five eyes centers built by Lions Club across Nigeria. We have more than four cancer centers built across Nigeria. Even in Kwara State, we are so lucky that this association has commenced the building of diabetes center in General Hospital Offa. We also have another project in Erin-Ile, Oyun Local Government Area of Kwara State and that is eyes center. These are all we do and we want to complete our projects in Offa and Erin-Ile by the end of June. That is the way we do our things and wherever you get to, wherever you think there is service activities to be done, the very first group of people you think about are the members of Lions Club.
PRESS: Sir, Lion to me is a symbolism that means big, fearless and giant animal in the animal kingdom, can you make reference to any prominence personality in Nigeria that can be associated with the association ?
LIONS’ DG: Thank you very much, when we talk about Lion, it not the animal we are talking about. Lions simply means Liberty Intelligent Our Nation’s Safety and sometimes we say Loving Individual Offering Needed Services. But why we choose Lion as a symbol because you see it every time is that the bravest animal is Lion and Lion run around to search for food and feed other animal. The strong nature of the animal is the reason for picking it as a symbol and you see that people that will succeed in life are people that have attributes of a Lion because if you are not rugged and committed, you can not achieve your desired objective and can not live in the society. That is why we always say Lion members are wonderful people in the society. I also said it earlier that Akintola William is the first Lion in Nigeria and he is the first accountant in Africa and he is the first Lion that we call doyen Lion in Nigeria. We have a lot of personalities too that are former Minster, former Governors and even the sitting Governors that are members of Lions Club.
PRESS: Sir, there is not association without mode of operation, kindly tell us the mode of operation adopted by Lions Club International
LIONS’ DG: Thank you very much. Lions are wonderful people and we follow rules and regulations of every society but the only thing is that we have organogram. The lowest level is club level where we have the President and head of the club, the second level is a sole where three, four clubs coming together to form a sole. The next is region where two to three sole forming region. After that is district level. Like our own district level 404B2, we have 83 clubs under the leadership of Lion Adebola Adesoye as the district governor. After that we have multiple district level where we have combination of two to three district and after that is the constitutional area like Africa constitutional area and after that we have international office. That is the operational organogram.
PRESS: Thank you sir, Sir, actually you said it earlier that your association is not governmental and we all know in Nigeria that any association that does not get government back up or its officials will always strife hard to soar. This convention is being fuelled with funds, how did you generate funds to organize this kind of elaborate convention ?
LIONS’ DG: Despite the fact that we are not governmental association, our members contribute money from their earnings and we put it together to organize this kind of convention. We also allow sponsors to support us and we always appreciate people when they do thst.
PRESS: What did it take to be a Lions Club Member ?
LIONS’ DG: what it takes is very simple as there three things you need to become Lion member. One is treasure. That is after getting your salary, you must be able to remove some token to pay your dues. Second one is time. You need to create a time to attend our meetings and activities and the last one is talent. Once we discover that someone has talent in a particular area, we make use it. Once one gets these three, one has qualified to be Lion Clubs member with a lot of benefits. One of the benefits is networking where you will get to meet more people you have not met before and another is personal leadership training and the last is we expose ourselves to a lot of places. For instance, we have people that have not been to Offa before. I have traveled to nothing less than 22 countries of the world. That’s part of the benefits of being a Lions Club member.
PRESS: There is no life without challenges, what have been the challenges so far and how have you been able to manage such challenges ?
LIONS’ DG: The challenges we have as an organization in Nigeria is that it is not easy to bring people up to join an association that is not going to be sharing money. What people believe in is that once they join the association, they will being to share money, share food which Lions Club don’t do. The second challenge is that we have been expecting the FG of Nigeria to support an organization like this so that we will able to help the Government on more projects. If we look at the cost of our projects, they are very enormous so if Government support us, we will able to do more. Thank you.
PRESS: Sir, for the last question, what message do you have for the Lions Club members ?
LIONS’ DG: Yes, the message is simple as we can see this convention is taking place during the period of Covid-19, Covid-19 is real and we want the whole people in Offa community to be aware of that and take precautions and whenever vaccination comes, we should go en mass to go for the vaccine. Thank you.
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