Being Rotary Club president is hectic, but interesting —Bisi Yomi-Layinka

Rotarian (Mrs) Olubisi Yomi-Layinka is an experienced administrator who when she was elected as the president of the Rotary Club of Ibadan Jericho (RC Ibadan Jericho Metro) about one year ago, was determined that her one-year tenure of office would be committed to service to humanity. Being the first female president of the Club, she would make a lasting positive impact, both within the club and on the life of the people. And these avowals she fulfilled to the fullest as she serves out her tenure by the end of June.

Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune at the recent commissioning and donation of a N2.1 million solar-powered borehole to the residents of Eyin Grammar Community at Molete, Ibadan, Rotarian Yomi-Layinka however said it has been very interesting being at the helm of leadership of the Club. “Rotary Club is a humanitarian organisation and when you lead the Club, you have to be committed. It involves a lot of work but you don’t feel tired because you are interested in what you are doing. It is a thing you live for and it has become a part of your life; everyday you eat Rotary, you drink Rotary. Even in the middle of the night, what you are thinking of is Rotary. Though hectic, it is very interesting.”

Yomi-Layinka who, in 2019 emerged as the first female president of the club after two rounds of election, said she is looking forward to leaving office after having performed the duties required of her office. She listed her achievements to include the solar-powered borehole which she said was the biggest successfully-executed project of the club and which falls under Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in the five Areas of Focus of Rotary Club. The other four areas are Maternal and Child Health; Community Economic Development; Basic Education and Literacy; and Disease prevention and Treatment.

During her presidency, RC Ibadan Jericho Metro donated hand-washing tools, materials and sanitizing items and disinfectant to Oni Memorial Hospital, Ibadan as its contribution to the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. For basic education and literacy, over 200 textbooks, sourced from three Ibadan-based publishers, were donated to two secondary schools and three primary schools in Ibadan.

Insecticide-treated mosquito nets and birthing kits were given to about 200 pregnant women at the Jericho Specialist Hospital and Jericho Nursing Home, both based in Ibadan. The club held a community eye outreach in which about 150 residents of Kuola Community, Apata were attended to; medical outreach in collaboration with the US- based Yeye Funmi Layinka Foundation through which 135 residents of Joyce Bee, Ring Road received free medical examinations for fasting blood sugar, high blood pressure, malaria parasites, just as 50 people got free eye glasses. Three days were set aside Rotary Family Health Days during which members come together to offer free medical examinations, treatment and referrals; RC Ibadan Jericho Metro also dedicated attention and resources to the eradication of polio in the state capital.

To promote youth development, the club sets aside a week every year for the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) where youths across the country are gathered to receive leadership training. Under the Rotarian Yomi-Layinka presidency, 15 youths were sponsored to this year’s training at Abuja. She disclosed that the money spent by the club on humanitarian activities across the world is sourced through fund raising and contributions by its committed members.

The outgoing RC Ibadan Jericho Metro president however attributed her successes to the cooperation of her members. She said though the post was tasking, “No matter how hectic it is, if you have people around you who believe in the cause that you are pursuing, it will become easier…The life of a Rotarian is the life of service; my members, even the ones that are older than me, male and female, have been very cooperative and that is what made my job very easy.”

Desirous of the emergence of another female president in a predominantly-male dominated club in not a distant future, Rotarian Yomi-Layinka looks forward to a greater service at the expiration of her tenure. She enthused: “In Rotary, when you leave as a president, your work has just started as an Immediate Past President (IPP). You have to sit at the table with your successor and put him or her through. In any case, if your successor fails, then you have failed. So, you have to ensure that the person coming in does not fail; you have to ensure that the Club progresses. So I must always be on ground. After that, I may get a district appointment; the next one could be after the presidency which is the Assistant Governor. If I get that, cool but if not, I will be in my Club serving and I am always at service.”

Other members of RC Ibadan Jericho Metro also attested to the strength of character of Rotarian Yomi-Layinka presidency, attributing her successes to her leadership traits. For the first president of the Club, Chartered President Gbenga Oluniyi, the outgoing president lived up to expectations as the first female occupant of the post.

“Since when she started, you know, there is this saying that when you give a woman a child, she is going to give you a home. That has actually happened in our Club. Many other presidents have been laying the foundation, building here and there but the moment she came on board, we have enjoyed a peaceful year; there has not been any rancour in the Club; she has been able to bring everybody together. The year has been very exciting, full of activities and we are glad that she has been the president and I believe that even within the next one month, before her tenure runs out, it is still going to be further exciting,” he said.

One unique thing about the successor plan of the Club is that it is devoid of rancour. Though we are still in 2020 and if as the tenure of the incumbent president is yet to run out, she already know her successors for the next two years. The president-elect to run the affairs of the Club from 2020 to 2021 has been named, just as the successor-president for 2021 to 2022, Rotarian Samuel Kolawole, is also waiting in the wing.

Speaking on the activities of the outgoing president, Rotarian Kolawole agreed with Chartered President Oluniyi as he said her tenure was good, adding that she, as a female president, brought new perspectives into the Club leadership. “She has brought the homely, caring and careful dimensions to leading the club. She is somebody that carries along everyone; she runs an inclusive administration and encourages people. She gives assignment and follows up to ensure that they are executed. That is why she has been successful in her one-year tenure. She has a lot of people backing her up and supporting her. That shows that she has been a wonderful president and she is somebody that people want to work for and work with,” he said.

Rotarian Kolawole spoke further on the succession plan of the Club as he said, “With the way we have been structured, as you may be aware of, Rotary Club is very particular about succession. She is leaving by the end of June, but we already have a president-elect who is taking over from her and who will run for another one year. The one who will take over from that president-elect in another one year is already elected and that is my humble self… The person who is taking over from Rotarian Olubisi Yomi-Layinka is also prepared; he already has his board in place and he is putting in efforts to ensure that he succeeds even more than the current president.”



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