•New President, Otunba KOLE OLATUNJI
UpAsso, also called Association Of Friends, is a popular social club in Lagos. The club has a new president, in the person of Otunba Kole Olatunji. City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE, met with him few days back, and he told City People his plans for the club which he joined in 2007.
Below is the concluding part of the interview which was first published Last week.
Tell us about what got you attracted to Up Asso.?
Well, like we normally say, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. There must be time you want to work for a better tomorrow and at the same time you must also learn to give yourself desired comfort because health is wealth. The beauty of managing oneself is to ensure that you work and also create time for leisure and that was exactly why I decided to join Asso. Beyond that, the man that introduced me to the club, one of our late Kabiyesi, Late Oba Onasanya Akinrele, was from my home town, Iperu Remo. He brought us in, in the year 2007, that was 16 years ago when he was still the president. He encouraged a lot of youths to be a part of the development and that is exactly the beauty of it. The ability of any leader to identify potential leaders and bring them together to harness their resources towards the development of the club. So joining Asso in 2007 was not an accident, it was our desire and willingness to be a part of what is going on here. It was also close to my office, it was just down the road where I have been operating for the past 32 years. It was an added advantage which means that it was a lot easier for me to leave the office after the close of the day and drive down within 10-15 minutes. After sharing time with my friends at the club, playing games, which we have at the basement, then I can take off from there to my house.
Tell us what you do now?
Well, I am a Realtor, I am a trade finance consultant. I assist Manufacturers source their raw materials at same time help the traders to bring in their goods. What we do in effect is Foreign Exchange. Relating with either a trader or a Manufacturer and negotiating with them, buy the goods on their behalf and deliver to their doorstep effortlessly, once they fulfil all the required obligations.
And of course as a Realtor, you will agree with me that property business is one of the businesses that will be regarded as a risk free investment. If you buy a land for a Hundred Thousand today, believe you me, in another one or two years, it will probably be in excess of a Million or thereabout, because the world is getting smaller and the value of land is equally increasing on a regular basis.
People believe that most associations are cult, Is Asso a cult?
That people outside the club see this place and consider it as a cult outlet, I want to disagree with you. I am a Christian and an Anglican, I have served as a warden of the church in various capacities. I am presently now in the church of 21st Anglican Communion, under the Diocese of Lagos West and I am the current chairman of the developmental committee of my church. Beyond that, as an Anglican, I also belong to one of the most formidable societies in the Anglican setting which is called FOUNTAIN OF HOPE INTERNATIONAL. Fountain of Hope International is an interdenominational Christian organisation that is cut across all the Orthodox Churches, the Anglican, the Methodist, African Church and others. I have had the opportunity of serving as my own church president, served as the deputy chairman of my own Zone Zone 4, Served as the Zonal Chairman of zone 4.
I have equally served as Deputy Chairman, Fountain of Hope International. So if I have done all that, I do not consider it appropriate to leave a Bible based Christian Organisation that believes in the Bible, which is acknowledged as the blessed information bringing eternal, then now came into an institution that is regarded as a cult organisation.
Definitely Asso is far from that. From the history at our disposal, this club came into being when young men about 45 years ago, decided to come together. The likes of Alhaji Sulaimon Onabiyi, the Okanlomo Egba of Egba Land, Asiwaju Festus Adeleke Adeseun, the Asiwaju of Ikere Remo, a very staunch African, Asiwaju Engineer Akinlana Akanni Abiola who came together along with other young men of like minds to set up this Association, to create a very strategic recreational place for themselves. We should appreciate these men, having put their resources together to do this. It is just right along the main road of the Ikorodu road, which was the most popular route in Lagos. So for us, we are here to consolidate on the foundation they have laid Because the word of God says “If the Foundation is faulty, there is very little or nothing the righteous can do”.
We want to thank God for the men of Impeccable characters who came together several years ago to found this club and thats why we are also proud of them, and we find it most appropriate to build on the Foundation they have established. And of course for your information, I also need to let you know that the first Patron of this club is Sir Kesington Adebukola Adebutu, the Odorindodua of the Source. Incidentally he is my Uncle, we are both from Iperu Remo, he is a Methodist and the Baba Ijo of the church and he is also committed to the development of all these institutions across the nation, be it Universities, Churches, Mosques and all the other areas that would be of value to Human Lives. For such a man who is so concerned about the welfare of humanity, so selfless in his thoughts, words and his deeds. He is Extremely Christ-like, he is a very loving and caring man. He is going to 88 and by the special grace of God he will live longer. He is an industrious man that we all emulate. We have the likes of Kassim Adebukun Bashaleruwa in this country. They are totally selfless, in all Ramifications, these men should be celebrated.
What this club stands for is just the expression in the name, the Association of friends and I am sure, you will all agree with the fact that friendship is more better than enmity, so we believe so much in our coming together and that is why our slogan is “Together We Are”.
So what is the process of joining for those who are interested?
For joining the club, you only need to be introduced by two of our financial members, then you will fill a form. We have membership committee under the leadership of the vice-president of the club. They are supposed to scrutinise your form, interview you and also ensure you are responsible and have the capacity to be part of us and also fulfil your obligations. It is not in anyway different from what we experience in other Corporate Clubs like; Island Club, Metropolitan Ikoyi Club or Lagos Club. Some of us belong to some of these other Clubs.
Asso is not in anyway different from all these clubs. So having filled the form, we will place you as a temporary member. Once you meet the Membership Committee, its now the responsibility of the membership Committee to bring the names of potential members to the management and the management will, in turn take those names back to the general monthly meeting in the club for gratification and approval. The moment you are able to do that, then you are now expected to pay your statutory membership fee of about #500,000, which used to be about #460,000 but in view of the current economic situation of the country it was increased.
And of course for old members you are expected to pay a total of #120,000 annual subscription. We also collect fees for sports because we have a sport session which is very well equipped and we also consider the well being of our members. Under Welfare we also collect money for Insurance. Members that are over 70 are insured in order to ensure that whatever happens health wise, insurance companies will be there to take care of them instead of levying ourselves and asking members for money every now and then. We just try to apply some measure of comfort for ourselves. If anything happens to any of our members, insurance companies will be there to take care of it. And in case of death, insurance companies will take responsibility. Our prayer is that our members will live long to enjoy the fruit of their labour, so that we can always sustain our relationship like that of Jesus Christ with the church and Muhammed with the Mosque.
Iretiogo Oloyede Suzanna
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