Lion Wesley Kafidiya is the new District Governor of LION’S Club District 404-B2, Nigeria. His appointment takes effect from 1st of July 2019. He will be DG from 2019 to 2020. He is a Chartered Accountant and a man of God. Below in this interview, he talked about his new role, life and career.
As the DG of Lions Club, what are your roles? Also what legacy do you wish to leave behind come June 2020?
The District Governor (DG) is the chief administrative officer of the District and serves as the District Governor Team leader. Thus the DG administers and promotes membership growth, new club development, leadership development and impactful service projects at all levels. He also presides over cabinet, convention and other district meetings; and facilitates harmonious and proper administration of all clubs in the District. The major legacy, among others, that I strongly wish to leave behind at the end of my tenure is the completion of the ongoing Lions Clubs Ophthalmology Centre at Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex in lIe-lfe and to go on to furnish and equip it to become one of the best eye care centers for prevention of avoidable blindness.
What would you say has been the strength of the Lions Clubs in Nigeria, how does it get members and remain relevant despite the harsh economy?
Lions Clubs International being the biggest global humanitarian service organization has a lot of appeal to the majority of the enlightened service-minded humanitarian individuals in the country. Further our much-needed quality and impactful service activities within our various communities; coupled with our numerous life-touching legacy eye-cares, diabetes, cancer and other projects in the various health care facilities all over the country to attract the Clubs to passionate and quality volunteers/members. The hardship being faced by the less privileged is usually multiplied and compounded in a depressed economy e have in Nigeria now. Since the government alone can hardly alleviate the whole suffering among the populace, the continued relevance of humanitarian organizations like ours cannot be overemphasized.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job and how do you plan to handle it?
The going concern (sustenance) of an organization is threatened the day it seizes to grow. Thus membership growth and retention are very important to our association. However, membership growth, satisfaction and retention are major ongoing challenges confronting Lionism in Nigeria and our district especially, Our outgoing District Governor applied various innovative strategies to combat the problem. Thus I shall device appropriate approach to reinforce those of the strategies that worked and also try to innovatively develop some additional ways and means of growing our membership, with impressive recognition and awards for individual and club performers.
Where did you grow up and what memories of childhood do you recall?
I was born in Kano but grew in the countryside of lIe-lfe and Abeokuta (when it was still a students’ town long before becoming a transformed state capital). I could never forget my first day in school in Kano (before being sent down south). I joined my peers in playing football after school and my dad, coming back from work, caught me washing my feet with my new school sandals on. For pouring water on the new leather shoes, I received thorough beating on getting home. I also usually remember the pleasurable train rides variously from Osogbo and Abeokuta to Kano on holidays during my primary and secondary school days.
Your educational background?
In summary, I have an honours degree from University of Lagos; I am a Fellow of both the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (U.K) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. I am also a Certified Information Systems Auditor (C/SA).
In what way will you say that your early background influences the person that you are today?
From my early life I had been brought up in a pure Christian environment where I had been made to imbibe and appreciate the importance of basic tenets of service, compassion, justice, fairness, peace, human equality, thankfulness and enduronce in the life of a true Christian. Thus I seize every opportunity to be of service to God and to my fellow men. Throughout my primary and secondary studies I was an active chorister and a communicant in the Anglicon Church and since I joined the C&S Movement Church (Ayo ni o) I have always been engaged in one service unit or the other. Outside the church I emphasize the same principles. My personal Philosophy in life is positive impact on my environment and deep commitment to best ideals.
Thus currently in addition to being Lions Clubs District Governor, I am also Chief Warden (Usher) of the whole Surulere District (having a large network of branches), the Treasurer of Ife May Club (socio-political) and National President of Lisabi Grammar School Old Students Association.
What determined your choice of becoming an accountant for a career?
I had a teacher, guardian and mentor during my Secondary School days in the person of Mr. Layiwola -Adediwura, new a practicing Chartered Accountant. He influenced and played an active role in my journey to becoming a Chartered Accountant.
Have you found fulfillment in accountancy as a profession, and in what ways?
Yes I have found deep fulfillment in Accountancy. Studying and practicing accountancy afforded me broad-based education and wealth of knowledge that has kept me relevant as an active participant and not a bench-warmer in any environment I have found myself whether professional, socio-poiiticol or religious.
Is Lions club an elitist club?
No, Lionism is for everybody that has the spirit of service to humanity. You do not have to be sophisticatedly educated or stunningly rich to be a Lion. Profession, religion, race, status in life are no barriers. All you need is the humanitarian mien to sacrifice portions of your ‘Three Ts’, time, talent and treasure in the service of humanity.
What are your programmes for the Lions year?
At the turn of our centennial, Lions Clubs International decided to broaden the frontiers of service by
.. adopting five” different service focus areas, which include Diabetes (prevention and management), Vision (prevention of avoidable blindness and treatment), Environment (promoting sustainable environment) Paediatric Cancer (prevention and management) and Relieving Hunger.
During my year as District Governor, while touching all the above stated service focus areas, we plan to put finishing touches to, furnish and fully equip the Lions Clubs Ophthalmology Centre at Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, tte-tie as the Core Project for the 2019-2020 Lions service Year. The centre, on completion as a Centre of Excellence for Eye-Care is expected to serve persons from the whole of South-West in particular and the whole of Nigeria in general.
How have you been able to cope with family life considering your work and then the hectic schedule of Lion’s club affairs and other social engagements?
First and foremost I am grateful to God for sound health and immense energy that keeps me going and divine wisdom in allocating my time optimally to cope with my multifarious activities. I also have to appreciate the understanding of various stakeholders in the home front.
At what point did you become a pastor. How did you receive your calling?
Initially, I registered in my Church’s College of Divinity in 1991 to deepen my knowledge of the Bible as a Levite in His Vineyard. It was towards the end of the Degree Course that my mates and I were counseled to spend an additional one year for the Pastoral qualification, which we all did and passed out in 2001. Thus my call is to serve God my in the ‘Ministry of Helps’. In fact, I developed my Thesis into a book for Church Workers titled “The Guide to the Ministry of Helps in Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches”.
How do you combine your professional calling with pastoral work?
I am in full time professional practice, while my pastoral work is mainly my service in God’s Vineyard.
How did your wife and other family members react to your calling?
They have all accepted it as part of my overall passion to be of service wherever and whenever I belong to.
What do you do at your spare time?
Whenever and if I have the spare time, I read, watch films or listen to music that can deepen my secular or spiritual being.
What has life taught you?
To believe and have faith in God as the ultimate driver in life’s journey and to do unto others as you would like to be done unto.
Can you describe yourself?
I am a honest, gentle, easy going, friendly and peaceful person. Most of those qualities I embrace to a fault. “Whenever a doubt arises as to the right or ethics of my position or action towards others, to resolve such doubt against myself.”
If you were not what you are now, what else would you have loved to be?
Professionally, if I am not an Accountant, I would love to be a research scientist; as to service to humanity there is nothing else I would love better than to serve.
What is your view about fashion and how do you describe fashion?
I just like to dress smart and neat.
What is your style, and what kinds of clothes do you like wearing?
I like to be as formal as possible in complete english or native dresses depending on the occasion.
What determines the clothes you wear in a day?
My planned engagements and of course, the weather.
What fashion accessories like ties, cufflinks, etc. will you not do without?
When the occasion demands and depending on the style of the dress I wear, I use the relevant accessories.
How do you describe success?
In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self actualization is the very top of the pyramid of human needs. It is how I define success. That is, reaching for maximum potential; being all you can be; or feeling like you have found your life’s purpose and are living it to the full.
What do you value most?
Peaceful relationship. I am always ready to sacrifice a lot to maintain peaceful relationship with others.
What do you detest most?
Dishonesty and/or insincerity.
What sports did you grow up with? Have you developed newer ones in recent times?