Gov. Peter Mba bags Lions Clubs’ Melvin Jones Award

Gov Peter Mba 

By Our Reporter 

It was a night of pomp and pageantry penultimate weekend as Chief Anogwi Anyanwu ended his eventful tenure as the District Governor of Lions Club International District 404A1, Nigeria.

The event, the District Governor’s recognition and award luncheon, which took place at the prestigious Nigerian Air Force Officer’s Mess, Victoria Island, Lagos, marked the end of Anyanwu’s one year – 2022-2023 – tenure at the helm of affairs of the global association whose vision is “to be the global leader in community and humanitarian service.”

Founded in October 1917 in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., by Melvin Jones, the businessman and Freemason whose personal philosophy was, "You can't get very far until you start doing something for somebody else," the International Association of Lions Clubs, more commonly known as Lions Clubs International, is a global service organization where individuals join together to give their valuable time and effort to improving their communities and the world.

So, occasions such as the end of tenure of a District Governor is always an opportunity to recognize individuals who helped LCI in achieving its mission of empowering Lions clubs, volunteers, and partners to improve health and well-being, strengthen communities, and support those in need through humanitarian services and grants that impact lives globally, and encourage peace and international understanding.

One of such people is Dr. Peter Mbah, Governor of Enugu State, a well-known philanthropist and founder of the Peter Mbah Foundation (PMF), a not for profit and nonpolitical organization with the sole goal of improving standards of living in rural communities and human capital development.

For his service to humanity, Governor Mbah was honoured with the Melvin Jones Award. Lions Clubs International recognizes outstanding individuals by bestowing on them the award named after its founder, Melvin Jones, a very high form of recognition that embodies humanitarian ideas consistent with the nature and purpose of Lionism. The Melvin Jones Awards ranks with the Lions Humanitarian Award, which is the highest honour of the association given to an individual or an organization with exemplary humanitarian efforts. 

It is instructive that in the one-year tenure of Ano Anyanwu as District Governor, Mbah is only the third distinguished Nigerian to be bestowed with the prestigious and highly coveted award.

It will be recalled that the Lions International District 404A1 Nigeria had in August 2022 conferred the Melvin Jones Award on the Group Chairman of SIFAX Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, as well as on the Governor of Ondo State, Arakurin Rotimi Akeredolu, in January 2023.

In an exclusive chat with TheNiche, the former District Governor emphasized that the Melvin Jones Award is given only to those that exhibit the highest degree of philanthropy and service to humanity.

“The fact that Enugu State Governor, Dr. Peter Mbah, was considered worthy of such high honour by the Lions Clubs International is a testimony to his outstanding dedication to humanitarian works. His values align with the mission and vision of Lions Clubs International,” Anyanwu said. 

But beside the award to Mbah, Anyanwu disclosed that the Lions Club under his watch spent N26 million in executing various projects in the service year.

“The major project we did this year is to provide receptacles for the collection of plastic bottles. We produced and distributed 88 receptacles in five states where our districts exist, including Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Edo and Delta states,” he ululated with a self-fulfilling pride.

“The essence of that project is to call people’s attention to the fact that plastic waste disposal is a problem, so they need to be properly disposed. We built those receptacles and placed them in strategic locations where they are used to collect bottles.

“The goal is for people to dispose their plastic waste inside the receptacles so recyclers will pick them up. Improper disposal of plastic bottles clogs the drainages and waterways which also exacerbates flooding.

“We also carried out more than a hundred cataract surgeries through different clubs. Each club organised its outreach. They sourced for beneficiaries who have eye problems and got good health facilities where they carried out these operations. Over ten clubs carried out cataract surgeries for different patients and the districts also supported these clubs.

“We also had a Feed the Hungry programme at the destitute home in Makoko where we served food to over 1000 people. In the course of serving food for over 1000 people, we discovered that the refuse dump there has not been cleared for a long time, so we had to mobilise resources to clear the refuse. So we accomplished quite a lot of things this year.”

Giving a breakdown of the project cost, Anyanwu said: “The cataract surgery project cost about N5 million. The plastic waste disposal project cost N50,000 each, so 88 of them cost N4.4 million. The Feed the Hungry programme fed over 1000 people, which cost about N2 million, including several other projects different clubs carried out.

“Also, some clubs under our districts donated hospital equipment while some others donated drugs. We donated equipment and medical supplies to our Lions Clinic at Sagamu Interchange, which attends to people who are involved in accidents. One of our clubs in Ikorodu donated hospital beds, another club in Warri donated five delivery beds to a hospital in Warri among other donations.”

Speaking at the event which was well attended, Lion Omotunde Johnson, chairperson of the planning committee said: “The District Governor’s recognition and award luncheon is to appreciate all the Lions who worked so hard to ensure that we made the modest achievements in the outgoing Lions year, which began July 1, 2022 and will end on June 30, 2023.”
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