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Kayode Situ, a distinguished chartered accountant and respected business consultant, is set to become the president of the Rotary Club of Ikeja on July 14. His leadership will mark a new chapter in the club’s commitment to community service and humanitarian efforts.

In conversations with TAOFEEK OYEDOKUN, the president-elect shared his motivation for joining Rotary, reflected on his journey as a Rotarian and also talked about plans for the next Rotary year. Excerpts:

Can you give us a summary of your profile?

I’m a Christian, and I have a very strong belief in Christianity. I’m a chartered accountant with a family of five; two of my children are married, and I have a grandson.

My journey in Rotary started with the fact that I believe in caring for people, and I also believe in the golden law that says, whatever you sow is what you will reap. I somewhat believe in that, and to that extent, it informs my activities and relationships with people.

I once listened to one of our elders in Rotary say, “The business of Rotary is about doing God’s job.” Doing God’s job if you understand the essence of God, He’s good, He loves, and He is merciful, all those things.

If you understand Rotary, you will see that Rotarians also give their time, talent and treasure, but if you ask me what they get in return, they believe that when you sow good, it will come back to you. It may not be from the source which you sowed it, but it will come back somewhere else that you least expect. That’s why humanity itself is a mystery.

When did you join Rotary, and what inspired you to join the club?

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I joined Rotary about seven years ago. I was one of those who believed Rotary was a cultish organisation because I never did any research.

I have a friend, a classmate, who was the president of this club some years ago. He came to my office one day, and when I saw him, I said, ‘’Where are you coming from, you this cult member? And he said, No, I’m a Rotarian.’’ Then I asked him what Rotary was about, and that was how he told me about Rotary. I was like? I then shared my views about the club with him.

He invited me to the club to come and fellowship with them, but before then, a lot of people had invited me, but I just dismissed them. He came the first week, the second week, the third week, and the fourth week. In the fourth week, I felt like I shouldn’t be promising someone and not fulfilling it, and I now told him not to worry that I would surprise him.

The following week, I was at the meeting of the Rotary Club of Ikeja. When I got there, I saw so many of my friends in the club, and they were like, “What are you doing here?” I sat with them, listened to what they were saying, participated in everything, and I found out that it was a lovely environment.

If all they are doing is doing good for humanity, impacting the lives of less privileged people, then I think that resonated with me as an individual, and that was how I decided to join.

Can you tell us about the Rotary Club of Ikeja and what distinguishes the club from others in District 9110?

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The Rotary Club of Ikeja is 57 years old, and I’m coming in as the 57th president. It is a club that has a lot of pedigree if you just go down the history and read about the kinds of people that had gone through this club. I have been going through the list recently because I’m preparing for my year.

You will find that it is a club founded by well-meaning people, and they are very certain about how they want the club to be: professional, service-oriented, and impacting less privileged people. And of course, they have their ethics, codes, and policies, which are very outstanding.

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If you look at those who started the club, these are people who have been through the corporate ladder and have existed in very high positions. Accountability, policies, ethics, good conduct—and, of course, if you know about Rotary itself, it talks about being truthful, being fair, and all those things. When a club follows all these regularly, it will distinguish it from those who will not do it.

What impact has your club had on its adopted communities?

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At Rotary Club of Ikeja, we believe in making an impact in what we do. That’s why we have selected certain communities where we site our projects. And the reason for that is that when you do something consistently in a place, after a while, you will start making an impact.

When you go to a school like Ikeja Junior High School and you see what the Rotary Club of Ikeja has done there, you will be amazed. We’ve virtually reconstructed all their classroom blocks.

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The environment shapes the mind. If you are studying in an environment that is not conducive, there’s no way you can learn. I believe that was why presidents and elders in the past decided that for meaningful impact to be made in that school, we should improve the environment. The teaching environment, good classroom blocks, good desks and chairs, boards, and the general environment.

When we were handing over the last project we did at the school, an ex-student of the school who later became a Rotarian was also present. Over time, the students see what Rotarians are coming to do, which is unknown to us. We are also shaping their thinking; they want to be like us. We are also shaping their future; they can begin to visualise the kind of person they want to be.

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Another one is water and sanitation. Anywhere there’s no water, you can’t be talking about hygiene and good health. That’s why one of our key projects is providing good water for some communities. We used to work with the Lagos State Police Command at Police College. We’ve also gone to Cantonment, where we provided boreholes for the communities there. We’ve also gone outside Lagos State and done a joint project with the Rotary Club in Abeokuta.

In addition, every year, we go to Lagos State Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) on Christmas Day. We take items like syringes, bedsheets, thermometers, BP readers, and the like. We don’t just go and donate this equipment to the hospital.

We also encourage staff at the hospital with yearly awards.

There are patients in the hospital who will not have the opportunity to celebrate, as we, by the grace of God, have opportunities to do so. We go there with music, sing Christmas carols, and also give them gifts just to cheer them up on that day.

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I recalled my first time participating in that event; I couldn’t eat when I got home because I was so emotional.

You will be the 57th president by July 14th and the pioneering president of the club in District 9111. How do you feel about this?

My club’s past presidents and maybe the members will be very jealous because I’m the first. I’m the first in District 9111, so I’m qualified to say I’m a pioneer president because this is a new dispensation. It is a dispensation that we believe will bring new hopes because a new era brings about new expectations, and we are being led by a visionary leader, the District Governor Elect, Dr. Wole Kukoyi, who has shared his aspirations with us.

What are your plans and activities for the 2024/2025 Rotary year as president?

Rotary itself gives you themes for every month. For instance, we have Vocational Service, Peace Building and Conflict Prevention, Basic Education and Literacy, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and others.

Every president will want to talk about the Star Project. We had thought that we would provide a computer laboratory for students of Ikeja Junior High School, but after discussing it with the new principal, she said they needed a vocational centre. And in Rotary, we don’t give what we want; we give what the people need, and that’s how you can make an impact. So, we are hoping that someone will sponsor the computer laboratory, and we also do the vocational centre. But notwithstanding, it is going to be our priority.
We will also make more impact and do better on past projects. For the community’s empowerment, where they gave two last year, we will give three or four. But the star project is the main project every president of the club looks forward to achieving.

You are a fellow chartered accountant, consultant of repute, and life cum business coach. How will all of these impact your role as president?

As president, you are a leader, and this is where your experience comes into play. Aside from the fact that you have to manage resources to get maximum impact in the communities you are servicing.
Secondly, you are relating with people—your board members, club members, and elders in the club. This will also help you as a leader to understand how to play with the team, how to lead, how to carry everyone along, and how to get everybody to participate.
We will bring more fun to encourage more members to attend physical meetings. Now we are told we can do hybrid, online, and physical, but we desire to have 100% physical attendance so that our relationships and interactions can be best fulfilled.
The coaching aspect of it is motivation. Someone who doesn’t have the financial capacity may feel downcast; he will need a leader to encourage him and tell him to keep serving, give your time and intellect, and give yourself.

What are the requirements for joining the Rotary Club?

You must have it in your heart that you want to serve humanity. If you don’t have that, you probably would not be a good Rotarian. People who give have it naturally to do so. It can be acquired, don’t get me wrong, but beyond that, you must have empathy, compassion, and love in your heart for people, want to relate to them and encourage them to do better, regardless of their situation or your situation.
Because of the ways of Rotary, you must have time. Of course, you won’t join Rotary if you don’t have a good intellect and understand life itself.

The money aspect is about you paying your dues. For most of the projects we execute, the funds do not come absolutely from the pocket of the President; we reach out to people—friends, family members, and colleagues at work. If you don’t have interpersonal relationships, you will find it difficult to raise funds.
The standard for the Rotary Club of Ikeja has been set from the onset. For instance, we are the Paul Harris Members Club. This means that you have to donate $1000 to the fixed funds of Rotary International, and then you are now a Paul Harris member. Then every Rotarian donates $100 a year. Then again, there is the polio plus. Rotary International’s major project is to eradicate polio in the world, so every member is also expected to donate $10 or $20 towards the polio eradication program.

Mind you, these are not compulsory; you can choose to do any of these as a member. But in our club, it is almost mandatory. Before you can say you are a member of the Rotary Club of Ikeja, you will do your Paul Harris and the Polio Plus, which are part of the annual dues.

You would be rounding off by June 2025. What would you want to be remembered for as the president of the Rotary Club of Ikeja?

Somebody said to me that we need to look into our system and processes. Notwithstanding that it is an enviable standard, we need to look into it and tighten it further. At the end of the day, we must have achieved that because it will comply with the standard set by the founders of the club. It is only through the rules and regulations we all subscribe to that we can govern ourselves.

I spoke about the Star Project. There’s no project that we have listed to do that I will not want to see that we’ve done very well at the end of the year, especially the star project. If we can deliver the vocational centre or the two fantastic. Rotary is a continuous thing, and Ikeja will move from one hand to another. Whatever we start, we want to complete. If we start the second and are not able to complete it, we will be happy to hand it over to the next administration.

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