Sometimes, lions do not roar for prey…

THE lion, in natural lore, is king of the jungle, one that the Yoruba call forest-based circumciser without a blade (akomolailabe). Lions do not turn aside for fear of any; they are agile as the wind and, if you dare them, fast as sound. But then, that is in the jungle. Some lions do not inhabit the vast expanse of the forests. And no, they do not roar for prey. Rather, they roar against societal problems, fully cognizant of the fact that government cannot do it all. These, you must have guessed right, are human lions. A Lion, it is widely acknowledged, is he who cares about the community, shows interest in its welfare, health and progress; achieves success, lives well, laughs often, loves all mankind, loves little children, encourages service-minded people to serve their community without personal financial reward? Yeah, it is he who feels his niche, does his work well and makes the world a better place than it previously was by just brighter flow, a human soul awake to its loveliness. Lions do not wait for regressive conditions to be solved by the government or somebody else; they feel the glow of beauty in all life and never fail to voice their praise of it; they see the best there is in fellow men and give to them all that they possess. They give substance to the needy, their life one vast inspiration.

As you may be aware already, the international association of lions clubs began as the dream of the Chicago insurance executive, Melvin Homes. The puzzle he faced: why could local business clubs not expand their horizons from purely business issues to the uplift of the larger society?  The idea quickly caught fire, and striking a chord with the business circle of Chicago. Authorised to explore the concept with similar organizations from across the United States, Homes organized a meeting at a local hotel on June 7, 1917. There were 12 attendees, each previously sequestered within his own club. But the ice soon thawed, and a national convention of lions scheduled to be held in Dallas, Texas. By 1920, the lions had gone international: the organisation took root in Windsor,  Canada. From there, the train moved to China, Mexico and Cuba. In 1935, Panama joined in. Then in 1948, Sweden came in, together with Switzerland and France. The urge to join the train was overpowering: Japan boarded in 1952, clearing the path for many a country. As an aside: over $149,600 has been raised by lions all over the world to prevent and cure blindness. In India alone, over 300,000 cataract surgeries have been done, and the club is known to purchase eyeglasses for children whose parents cannot afford them. In Nigeria, the club has recorded landmarks in various areas of philanthropy, and it is no coincidence that it has been richly honoured by various agencies and governments over the years for its strides in forging a better society.

Now, Lions are doing many, in fact endless, noble things in our dear country Nigeria, but consider just one strategic landmark in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. As is well known, open defecation is one of the sores in Nigeria’s development quest, but a Lion chose to make a difference, ending the regime of Shot-Put ( a pernicious practice whereby people, lacking toilets, fling human waste into the environment, particularly drainages). The Lion in question, Aremo Olorunfemi Philips, comes into the fray with a heart of gold. Attuned to the lions code of ethics, to always bear in mind his obligations to as a citizen to nation, state and community; to give them freely of his time, labour and means, to aid others by giving sympathy to those in distress, aid to the weak, and substance to the needy, he rolled out the construction of Multimillion naira modern toilet, water and car wash facilities at Mokola, Ibadan to assist the community.  That was in 2017.

Managing Director, Selling Point Ltd., Philips is an accomplished advertising practitioner. He holds a 1985 Bachelors degree in Language and Communication Arts from the University of Ibadan, a postgraduate diploma in advertising, from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism and Masters in Business Administration (marketing) from the Lagos State University (LASU) all in Nigeria. He was part of the Nigerian-American Trade Mission to U.S.A in 1996, and edited the chamber’s Journal for nine solid years.  Another feather to his cap: he served as director of Publicity and Research for 10 years, and was consultant to  the University of Lagos for six tears). He was creative consultant to Unilever till 2018, and commands a wealth of varied senior management experience in the fields of Public Relations and Advertising. Naturally, he has attended various workshops and seminars on marketing, public relations and advertising both locally and internationally. Philips it was who conceptualized and produced various highly reputable and popular sales promotional Radio and TV programmes in major Nigerian languages, some of which are still on air presently. He conceptualized “Royco” Electronics programmes in various languages. These were transmitted in Nigeria for nine years on several radio and television stations.

The Chairman, Kiddie Care Expo, Ltd, and Philips Enterprises Ltd., is a registered member of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON); Fellow of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (FNIMN) and Member, Nigerian Institute of Management (MNIM). He also spearheaded the. The Aremo of Toba Town, Ile-Ife,  is a committed philanthropist with strings of awards.The Nigerian Immigration Service was enthralled by the club’s Operation Vision Safety (OVS) outreach held on November 10, 2017, and commended the esteemed club for its “honest concern shown to the command,” through the provision of 50 prescription glasses. Philips again it was who singlehandedly started Ibadan Mokola new Centennial Lions Club, of which he was the Charter President for two years. In the letter announcing his nomination for the award of most oustanding distinguished alumnus, event held on September 28 this year, the University of Ibadan Alumni Associated noted: “You have carried the banner of the University of Ibadan aloft beyond boundaries, projecting our image of sound judgment, excellence, integrity and conscientiousness. We are particularly aware of your untiring efforts in nation building, especially in the area of human capital development and even more so, your overall positive contribution to the growth of the nation.”

But that was not all: the association noted the nominee’s contributions to the development of Oyo State through “the provision of pipe-borne water, sanitation facilities and award of vistas of scholarships  in various institutions of higher learning.”

Commending our legends may be the much needed tonic for them to soar higher, offering greater services to humanity. That is why, for this Lion, there must be no end to philanthropy, no retreat and no surrender.

 

  • Adeniyi writes in from Ibadan

 

 

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