Rotary International celebrated its One Hundred and Eight years of excellent service to humanity on February 23, 2013. It was founded by by Paul P. Harris with his three other friends namely Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele and Hiram Shorey. They started their first fellowship in Rotary Club of Chicago, which was formed on 23 February 1905.
Today, Rotary International has about 1.2 million Rotarians in over 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries in six continents.
As a young undergraduate of Ogun State University now Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye and with freedom on lapse I saw different organisations on campus but remembering the stern warnings from my parents on not to associate myself with bad group, I was not just interested in joining any club or society not even the Muslim Students Society then.
But on one faithful evening in 1997 after our lectures, my friend Yetunde, a statistics student invited me to her club for a fellowship as they described their meetings, she specifically told me I will love the group. I reluctantly followed her and to my surprise I met some of the Efikos and the bookworms as we called them (The brilliant students) in my department there as club members including other students from other departments and faculties like medical science, Agricultural science and Law.
This got me interested and I wanted to find out what this club was all about, I later found out the name of the the club was Rotaract club of Ogun state State University district 9110, this was my first encounter with Rotary International.
Some of things I love about Rotaract club is the orderliness of the club members, the manners in which they introduce themselves and their guests, the respect they showed when addressing their president, the manners which issues are meticulously addressed when they arose, the Rotary creed of the four way test, the etiquette training which they gave, the Rotary Hymns, the arguments that sometime ensued with the friendly ways in which they are resolved, the way they greet themselves (service above self), the networking opportunities and positive exposures that the club gives.
My Rotary Best Achievements
My encounter with Rotaract in 1997 made me formally joined the club and forever I'm great to Yetunde for the great opportunity, Rotary is a family that I have come to know and love after my family. I have made wonderful friends and have great mentors from Nigeria to Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya and Benin Republic.
My Rotary Best Themes
In Rotary, power change hands every June of every calender year and it runs between May and June of the preceding year . New president of Rotary changes the Rotary theme which describes the projects the will execute for the year.
My Rotary Best Achievements
Rotary International in conjunction with Bill and Melinda Gate foundation formed a coalition to create a platform in which they will eradicate Poliomyelitis out of the world with the introduction free polio vaccines for children. Its has been a major achievement on the part of the two organisations with the help of volunteers, Rotarians, Rotaractors and Interractor all over the world. Thou, Nigeria is one of the few countries left in the world still battling with polio.
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards-RYLA is an avenue in which Rotary International through its local clubs sponsor youths around them on leadership programs. I'm glad, I'm a RYLA recipient.
My Special Rotary Moments
In 2005, Rotary celebrated 100 years of its existence which was dedicated to hard work, consistency and passion of selfless Rotarians from all walks of life. Oh, Rotary is old but not tired through the efforts of many generation of un-tired Rotarians.
When Rotarian Barrister Jonathan Majiyagbe of Rotary Club of Kano, district 9125, became the president of Rotary International in 2003-04, it shows that race, background, social class and status is not a barrier of becoming an outstanding Rotarian.
Guess what, he was and still a good ambassador for Nigeria.
To all the visionary Rotarian leaders and with support of their families who shared vision of what selfless service above self can do to sharpen other people's lives, on this day I say thank you.
And to all the generations after them who do not allow the dream to die, I say congratulations for keeping the fire burning. To the future and unborn Rotarians, I hope and wish they will continue to ignite the passion of selfless service in their generation because ROTARY is LIFE and ROTARY is GOOD.
Vive le Rotary!