By Lucy Ogalue
ABUJA – Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF) has donated and inaugurated a hall worth N73.8 million to the Rotary District 9125.
The founder of the foundation, Dr Emeka Offor, told newsmen at the inauguration on Tuesday in Abuja that the hall would provide a befitting venue for Rotarians to meet.
“I have travelled widely and have attended a lot of Rotary functions outside Nigeria and I see that most Rotary Districts outside have a meeting point.
“So I wanted us to have a rallying point in Nigeria because Nigeria has the largest number of Rotarians in Africa and yet our impact is not well felt the way it should.
“Rotary is about meeting, interacting, friendship and brainstorming, so we now have a comfortable place that we will be meeting,’’ Offor said.
Retired AIG, Mr Chris Ezike, the Chief of Staff of SEOF, said the hall was conceived as a friendship centre where the ideas of Rotary would not only be promoted but propagated in love for humanity.
“The ground breaking of the project was performed on March 11, 2020 by Offor in company of his friends, many of whom are here today at the inauguration.
“The building contract was initially awarded to Messrs. A. G Vision Construction (NIG) on the recommendation by the project committee at a cost of N70 million without room for variation since the entire sum was provided upfront by our founder.
“The contractors were expected to deliver the project on or before June 15, 2020 but the rest is history.
“It is also pertinent to note that an additional N3.8 million was disbursed by our founder to facilitate the ceiling works of the hall, which was previously omitted in the project Bill of Quantities.
“This brought the total project sum to N73.8 million.
“This 1,600 capacity edifice is the first of its kind within District 9125, which is made up of FCT and 23 other states.
“There is no doubt therefore that this hall will offer tremendous opportunities to Rotarians, clubs and the community to take maximum advantage.’’
Ezike, however, thanked the Rotarians, SEOF, friends and well-wishers of Offor, for their presence and contributions toward the success of the project.
Former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, while commending Offor, prayed that his pockets be continually refilled as “he has a mind to give’’.
“Rotary is giving a good example in Nigeria and elsewhere, I want the Rotary movement to continue to encourage people to imbibe the habit of giving and the habit of service.’’
Amb. Babagana Kingibe, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, while commending Offor, urged Nigerians to key into the Rotary’s four-way test for a better nation.
“I am most grateful for increasing my knowledge of Rotary, a people of faith, people who care about their community and society and who try to do good.
“This four-way test of – `is it the truth, is it fair to all, will it build goodwill and better friendship and will it be beneficial to all concerned’ are excellent standard, which I wish in Nigeria we can apply universally, especially in this day of social media.
“With this, the country we will be a better society, a more united society and we will be more tolerant,’’ Kingibe said.
Earlier, the District Governor, District 9125, Jumoke Bamigboye, thanked the founder of SEOF for providing the funds for the hall and for being a blessing to “our generation’’.
“We are grateful to Sir Emeka Offor, Rotary Ambassador and a great son of Nigeria for his large heart. He has not just built and donated this hall, he has contributed over three million dollars to the rotary foundation to fight polio and continue to do good in the world.
“I pay glowing tribute to you and thank you for being part of rotary and a blessing to our generation,’’ she said.
Bamigboye also commended all the members, team of SEOF and all who worked assiduously to ensure completion of the project in spite of all the challenges.
Foundation for the Rotary Centre project was laid during the tenure of Dr. Victor Onukwugha, Past District Governor (PDG), who was district governor in 2019/20 Rotary year.