OBANIKORO, JOHN MOMOH DAZZLE
The newly signed Freedom of Information (FoI) Act was put on the front burner recently at the investiture, luncheon, installation of Board of Directors and the 27th President of Rotary Club of Ikoyi, District 9110, John Senaya, at the Golden Gate Restaurant, Ikoyi, in Lagos.
On the occasion chaired by Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, the club gave media awards to renowned broadcaster, John Momoh, and his station, Channels Television, House of Representatives member, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, and Vanguard Media for their support to the cause of the act.
Making his presentation, Obanikoro, a one-time governorship aspirant in Lagos State, thanked the Rotary Club for the invitation extended to him.
He said it was important for him to identify with Rotarians because they were a people committed to adding values to their society. One of those values, according to him, which stood at the heart of Lagos residents, was the fight against flood disaster in the city. He recalled how he once fought hard on the floor of the Senate in 2004 to ensure that precautionary steps were taken against the disaster and urged for a closer Federal Government and Lagos State collaboration in combating the crisis.
'I'm here because Rotarians are gentlemen and ladies, who give time, money and knowledge to add value to human life, even when you are neither elected nor are public officers. At the moment, one of those areas we're fighting to receive your priority attention is the flood disaster, ravaging Lagos State.
'I recall that I once moved a motion on the floor of the Senate in 2004, calling on the Federal Government to support Lagos State to fight flood disaster. That call is still as relevant today as it was yesterday. In fact, it is even more relevant now.
That is why I'm reiterating that call now as there is an urgent need for Lagos State and Federal government collaboration in dealing with this situation.' He described Lagos State as a mini Nigeria with people from all parts of the country.
Speaking on the theme, 'Freedom of Information Act: How relevant to our socio-economic development,' John Momoh said the act 'represented a break with public service practices and traditions that discount the yearning of the human spirit for enlightenment, for clarity, in those things that impinge on material existence.'
He noted that 'access to such records as guaranteed by the FoI Act will empower the citizenry to effectively evaluate the performance of government relative to the development challenges and aspiration of the nation or state. Such evaluation becomes the basis for acceptance or rejection of a government.'
Momoh, a former Radio Nigeria and Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) employee, now the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Channels Television, observed that the 'FoI Act has of tremendous social relevance because it provides access to records and information that will enhance public enlightenment and the meaningful participation of citizens in the governance of our nation.'
He added that the Act would enthrone accountability in governance and by extention, make office holders more sensitive to the political as well as development aspirations of the citizenry.'
While thanking Rotary Club Ikoyi for bringing the Act to the fore, he said: 'The challenge for the main operators of information industry, namely the media professionals, is for them to strive for the highest ethical standard.'
Rotarian Senaya, who took over from Rotarian Mrs. Nike Maiyaki, assured colleagues that he would build a mega club status in his one-year tenure. 'The journey to the mega club status for the Rotary Club Ikoyi has started,' he said. 'This is going to be a journey spiced with hard work, dedication, strong determination and most importantly, the will to be there. The journey will most certainly be rough at some points but the result shall be sweet.'
He noted that he would work to sustain and grow quality membership, implement successful and sustainable service projects and sustain the Rotary Foundation. He added that he would strive to develop leaders beyond club level, achieve and maintain an effective Rotary Club, train and retrain intending members, among other things.
He disclosed that in the club's service projects, N4m had been earmarked to provide amenities to the club's adopted Orofun village in Ibeju Lekki council of Lagos State, fight malaria as well as spread breast cancer and sickle cell awareness.
The past president, Rotarian Maiyaki, also used the opportunity to enumerate her achievement during her tenure and expressed her commitment to work with the new exco for the good of the club.
The occasion marked the induction of six new members, including their spouses. It also featured raffle draw whose star prize was a return ticket to London provided by British Airways. It was won by Rotarian Maiyaki.