Rolling out his projects for the 2018/2019 year, Babalola pledged to tackle diabetes, adding that the disease was becoming a growing concern in Nigeria.

Perpetua Egesimba

Recently, Ikeja was agog as Lions Club International, District 404B1 Nigeria, installed Mr. Lekan Babalola as its district governor for the 2018/2019 Lions’ Year.

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The event, which took place in Agidingbi, Ikeja, served as a public presentation of Babalola and his cabinet, as well as a fundraising event.

In attendance were business associates of the celebrant, past leaders of the club, friends and well-wishers.

Rolling out his projects for the 2018/2019 year, Babalola pledged to tackle diabetes, adding that the disease was becoming a growing concern in Nigeria.

According to him, Nigeria was one of the 32 member countries of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), with the highest incidence of diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa, hence the need to pay attention to the disease.

He said 425 million people had diabetes in the world and more than 16 million were in Africa. According to him, by 2045, the figure should be around 41 million.

“There were 1,702,900 cases of diabetes in Nigeria in 2015 and it would have doubled now because of our lifestyle.

“Thus, to reduce the trend, the district 404B1 core project under my leadership is diabetes screening, awareness and counselling. This will massively take place across all regions, zones and clubs within the district in the Diabetes Awareness month of November 2018.

“This is targeted to cover a minimum of 10,000 Nigerians within our coverage.”

He stated further that the club would need N20 million to execute the 2018/2019 Lion’s year-round global projects, which include diabetes, vision, feeding the hungry, protecting the environment and paediatric projects.

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Speaking about his present status as the club’s district governor, Babalola said he joined the club 19 years ago and has been able to go through some positions in the system that prepared him for the top.

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“The real journey started about three years ago when I was elected as the second vice district governor in District 404B1 in Asaba. Last year, I moved from second vice to first vice. And now, I am the district governor.

“On the diabetes project, we have 79 clubs, which means 79 communities under the district. We will go to these communities and give them the opportunity to know their status. We want to reach out and test people for their diabetes status so that we can at least contribute our little quota to solving the societal problem.”

Babalola said he recognised the enormous challenges of leadership, promising that he would provide the right leadership for the district’s progress.

He also described the outgoing district governor as an amiable man, who challenged a lot of things in the system and was able to deliver a beautiful result.

The outgoing district governor, Oyewole Oyewunmi, described his successor as a competent leader.

“I feel great today because I am handing over to another erudite, knowledgeable man, who has worked assiduously with me during the year. I believe that whatever we achieved in my tenure would be a baseline for him to develop upon.

“He is very hardworking and a go-getter. He has for the past three years shown all the qualities of a great leader. Based on this, we believe that he will surpass all the records that anybody could have dreamt of.”

Oyewunmi advised the new district governor to carry on the good work of the club, adding that he would be available whenever his guidance was needed.

President of Lagos Country Club, Mr. Tajudeen Akande, lauded the Lions Club, describing it as a philanthropic organisation that preached good governance, ethical leadership and takes on projects that improve the lives of its host communities.

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He described Babalola as a man of few words with many actions: “He has very good leadership qualities and is an effective communicator. He also leads by example. He is one man that displays ethical dispositions in his dealings with others.

“I am aware he realises that leadership has a lot of challenges but a successful leader is the leader who is able to transform his visions to deliverables. He has promised a number of things to do within the year. So, I will advise him to remain focused. There will be distractions. It’s normal. But he should remain focused from the go and work with his team.”

Also, the first vice district governor of the club, Bernard Eboreime, said Babalola would be given all the support needed for his tenure to be successful.