Starting in the clubs’ junior cadre of LEO, Lion Lynda Odu-Okpeseyi has come a long way on the leadership trail of Lions Club. She is an exceptional individual and a go-getter mentality, with a rush of achievements to show for it. From chartering the Abuja Metropolitan Lions Club to becoming the first Constitutional Area Speaker for New Voices for English Speaking West Africa, her climb up the ladder was steady, and it was by dint of hard work, visionary leadership, and her result-oriented nature. Today, it is not surprising that she is the District Governor for District 404A2.
In this interview with Elizabeth Osayande, Odu-Okpeseyi recounts her rise through the years even as she resolved to sustain her rich performance in leadership.
What does it mean to be a Lions District Governor?
When you are a district governor, it means you are the head servant and the head honcho of the district. You take charge of the district on whatever needs to be done, projects to be carried out, and the administration of District affairs in all ramifications. It simply means that the buck stops on your table.
However, you do not do all these things alone. You have your DG – Team, your core cabinet and there’s an army of people that you appoint to help you in the discharge of your duties like region chairpersons, zone chairpersons, and a host of others and of course, the elected club presidents and committee chairpersons who help you sail the ship to an expected end. Because you are in charge, it means that you take responsibility for the successes and failures of the district.
Give us a clearer picture of your constituency as a District Governor? How large is your District?
My District spans across 17 states; all the states in South-South, South-East and part of the North, including Kogi, FCT, Kaduna, Taraba and Benue states. They are divided into regions and zones for easy administration.
Being a District Governor for one state is a bit much, but for 17 states, that could be overwhelming.
How prepared are you for this role?
I have been prepared right from the time I was elected as the first female LEO District President for Nigeria. The LEO Club is the youth wing of the Lions Club and LEO means Leadership, Experience, Opportunities. However, I didn’t know my new position would come soon. I decided to contest as Second Vice District Governor and against all odds, I won. I have continued preparing and equipping myself since then.
Lions Club has a structure; if you are going to become a District Governor, you will start learning as a member of the DG-Team as second vice and then you will go through trainings including at the District Governor’s School just before you assume the position.
The Association prefers you have a six months preparation period where you’ll be taught what to do and how you can become a successful District Governor. If you listen attentively and put all you have been taught into practice, you will make an excellent, near-perfect District Governor.
How strong is the Lions Club’s outreach in the Northern states?
In Abuja, our presence is strong, very strong. Just recently, a club in Abuja built a resource center for the School of the Blind. That same club also built a Pediatric Cancer center in Abuja. We have Lions Clubs that have renovated health centers. We have done so much in Abuja and Benue. The other Northern states are still work in progress.
What projects are you going to actively work on and where will your focus be concentrated?
Lions Club has five major focus areas: Diabetes, Pediatric Cancer, Protecting the Environment, Relieving Hunger, and Sight Preservation. For now, we are focused on advocacy and massive screening for diabetes.
I plan on building a Diabetes Centre in Ogoja, Cross River State, an ultra-modern facility where screening, treatment, and advocacy can effectively be carried out.