‘LP will use Rotary model to govern Kwara’
ONE surest way the Kwara state Governorship candidate of Labour Party (LP) in the forthcoming elections Mike Omotosho hopes to turn around the fortunes of the people of Kwara is bringing about the ideals of Rotary into governance.
Omotosho, said to be making waves in Kwara next to the incumbent Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed ahead of the polls, is at present the Governor-Elect of District 9125 of Rotary, which tentacles spread across 23 states in the North West, North East and South West of Nigeria excluding Lagos and Ogun.
The 47-year old state is rated second from the rear in the Federal Government’s monthly allocations to states. No doubt, the financial status has negatively affected the socio- economic conditions of the state and her people under successive governors whose refrain, in describing the economic situation, had always been “poor Federal Allocations” and “dismal Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).”
But Omotosho, who apart from promising the donations of his monthly salaries as governor to charitable endeavours, said he would use the structure of Rotary to augment the state’s resources with the hope of churning out true dividends of democracy to the people.
Being the only Rotarian among the candidates vying for Kwara governorship, Omotosho said he would lessen taxation among the market women just as he expressed his belief in empowering more women towards boosting their economic status and aligning with the “Beijing recommendation”.
Omotosho said Rotary is a philanthropic organisation piloted by over 1.2 million business and professional men who have resolved to pool together their resources in providing services to humanity. For him, the pivotal issue with Rotary is comparable to the modern day concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
According to him, “it is a body of people who have decided to give something back into the society. It is not an exclusive money issue but it is about being devoted to the acronym we tagged ‘three Ts’. These ‘Ts’ are Time, Talent and Treasure. Once you have the desire to serve the society, Rotary will welcome you.
“It is not an elitist thing, it is a vision to work for and support one another. We work in cells or clubs and have the heart to give back to the society what the society truly needs without any prejudice. It is indeed the best approach to life.”
Like the Rotary, which operates within communities to form clubs or districts that are in turn grouped into regions for administrative purposes and report to Rotary International, the LP candidate promised effective administration that would have positive impact in the life of the rural populace.
He added, “the Rotary has about a Trillion Dollar in holding. The beauty of it is that the foundation is able to do good in the world by partnering others in the world, especially in the area of providing bore-holes. When elected the Governor, we shall create a conducive business atmosphere and embark on spreading wide our tentacles towards wooing more investors into the state.”
Among other things he said the Rotary had equipped many schools in Kwara especially at Isolo/Opin, Ekiti Local Government Area (LGA) of the state where science and computer laboratories were equipped by the body.
Besides, Omotosho disclosed how recently a team of foreign medical experts bankrolled by Rotary, stormed Ilorin, the state capital where they treated over 1,000 patients with special medical cases for about three weeks.
He said these endeavours of the Rotary spread across the nation as he reminisced on how the organisation sponsored 24 Indian surgeons who carried out corrective orthopaedic surgeries on 384 polio patients in Abuja. He said the Rotary is still committed to end polio in the world and ensure that the last case was eradicated within the next six months.
Omotosho who said he had sworn to the oath of Rotary to serve humanity and pursue people-oriented agenda, the cardinal point of his party, added that he would jettison selfish ambition unlike some politicians and remained a technocrat in governance.
He cited former Nigerian Health Minister Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, a Rotarian, who rose up to the challenges of the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus in Nigeria and turned the nation into a model on how the dreaded virus could be curtailed.
The governorship candidate said, “The moment the Ebola thing came up we knew the then Minister for Health would put in his utmost in curtailing it. The belief came because he is a Rotarian who values human life. The nation came out of it, assisted other infested West African countries and became a model to other medical experts all over the world who came here to see how he did the co ordination of the control of the outbreak.”
He lauded an octogenarian Rotarian, Chief Jonathan Majiyagbe SAN who till date has the record of being the only black African, to have been elected the President of Rotary International, just as he praised efforts of other Rotarians like Chief Ade Ojo of Elizade Motors, Princess Adeluyi, and Alex Thomopolous of The Guardian for keeping the flags of the association flying.
“If I am voted in as the Governor of Kwara,” he said, “I will establish network of opportunities with world leaders and aid grants to the state. These can be made easier with the inherent connections in Rotary. We will manifest all these in such areas as poverty eradication, interventions in health and education sectors and provisions of potable water across the state.”
Omotosho added, “We can partner with donor agencies and Rotary international to furnish and equip our schools. But note that Rotary will not build schools but will only equip them. Rotary will not pay teachers’ salaries but can send them abroad or invite their trainers here in Nigeria for capacity building. We can do this repeatedly at no cost.
“Besides, don’t forget that one of the greatest infrastructural needs of this state is lack of potable water. But we can, through Rotary, attract some 1,000 boreholes to deserving communities in he state. We will in turn allow such communities to take ownership of the projects through rotary corps who will be saddled with the task of maintaining the boreholes. The corps will contribute to Rotary dreams by ensuring that the projects brought into their communities are viable.”
He disclosed how his technocrats had conducted a feasibility study of a particular Federal Constituency in the state, came up with a figure of 187 boreholes using the borrowed idea of Needs Assessment of the Rotary, and concluded that the idea will make potable water available to the entire citizens to within 100 metres to the nearest bore hole spot.
However, while explaining the tripartite ways the community initiated projects work with the Rotary, Omotosho said the three parties involved would contribute their quota before such projects could work.
According to him, “if a community for instance makes a request for a health centre, the Rotary will sit and discuss it with who is who in such a community. At this stage, Rotarians may use their individual money to build the health center, asks the community to supply the labour for the building and the Rotary will furnish the centre and supply the necessary equipment. Again, this idea can work in governance. We should not abandon the act of governance to government alone. Benefiting community, private individuals and the government must be involved.”
On the idea of Peace and Conflicts Resolution, Omotosho said he would facilitate the location of such a centre in Kwara State stressing, “we will sponsor our youth, pastors and imams to such a centre. It is only when there is peace that we can live in peace in the state of harmony. Peace is the bedrock of good things.
“We shall use the idea of Rotary to equip our schools gyms with state-of-the-art equipment. Again, it is saddening to discover that most of our schools have no recreational facilities. We shall make all these available and engage in capacity building of our youth and provide coaches especially Football and Table tennis.”