As the National Association of Seadogs (NAS) formally launches celebrations to honour its diamond jubilee, the organization presented its 70th anniversary logo.
The group’s head, Abiola Owoaje, told reporters at the official unveiling on Friday that numerous events have been planned to highlight the organization’s nobility, ethics, and ongoing pursuit of a just Nigerian society.
The NAS Cap’n, Mr. Owoaje, said, “As we celebrate, we shall also use the occasion, particularly as we inch closer to the 2023 elections, to continue our quest for a just society where no one would be a victim of colour, gender, or creed.
We will join Nigerians in calling for legitimate, fair, and free elections in 2023 through our festivities. The culmination of our 70th anniversary celebration would be best served by this.
Last month, the organisation—also known as The Pyrates Confraternity—grabbed public attention after a social media video of its members singing a song about a presidential candidate whose “hands and feet are shaking, yet he is shouting ‘it is my turn'” went viral.
The organisation instantly distanced itself from the video and maintained that since its founding in 1952, it has remained apolitical.
To serve mankind
At the group’s official unveiling on Friday, Mr. Owoaje recalled that Mr. Wole Soyinka, Ralph Opara, Nathaniel Oyelola, Pius Oleghe, Olumuyiwa Awe, Ikpehare Aig-Imoukhuede, and Slyvanus Egbuche, “seven passionate young and patriotic Nigerian undergraduates” who founded the organisation at what is now the University of Ibadan.
He claimed that by defying objectionable customs to form the Pyrates Confraternity, the founders “made a big revolutionary leap towards greatness and engraved their names in the sands of time.
The founding principles of the Pyrates Confraternity, according to Mr. Owoaje, “were not merely restricted to battling for the downtrodden, speaking up for the underprivileged, and rectifying numerous injustices in the march towards the realisation of a just and egalitarian society.”
In those heady days of colonial domination, a significant portion of the population of Nigeria was given back their dignity, confidence, and enduring sense of worth and justice thanks to the pioneering initiative of these seven undergraduate students.
“Pyrates Confraternity began with one deck in Ibadan and has expanded to 60 decks throughout five continents and numerous nations, including South Africa, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, and all of Europe.
The topic of our platinum anniversary, “70 Years of Service to Society,” is a thoughtful summation of our tiny contribution to humanity, therefore it is appropriate.
According to Mr. Owoaje, the confraternity has done both words and deeds to further national progress in Nigeria.
“Our organisation was responsible for exposing the widespread corruption that had plagued operations at the Lagos/Ibadan expressway tollgate in 1986 through a thorough investigation that was entirely carried out by our members,” he said.
The privatisation of the toll gates was one of the investigation’s recommendations, although this wasn’t carried out for many years.
He also emphasised the part the group played in the establishment of the Federal Road Safety Corps in Nigeria in 1988, when Mr. Soyinka was named the Corps Marshall.
It became a formidable paramilitary organisation because they “established a veritable foundation for discipline, toughness, integrity, and an exceptional commitment to humanitarian duty,” he said.
Indeed, Nigerians can speak to the fact that, during its heyday, the FRSC was free of the corruption and shady dealings that are associated with its sister organisations. The FRSC of those days significantly reduced the level of carnage on our highways and roads and changed the attitudes of drivers.
Mr. Owoaje observed that the Pyrates Confraternity’s founding members benefited greatly from the high-quality education available in Nigeria.
“Many of our members who have excelled in their chosen professions and brought honour to the nation at home and abroad had their university education in Nigeria,” he remarked.
But the deplorable status of education in our tertiary institutions, particularly in Nigerian universities, saddens us. It is outrageous that a strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was necessary to keep the public university system from completely collapsing.
According to Mr. Owoaje, Nigeria’s successive governments have a history of treating education with the same reprehensible levity that we are all currently experiencing.
“This sad state of circumstances puts a whole generation of children’s futures at jeopardy. It is incomprehensible how a government can be so unconcerned with the future of the continent’s most populous demographic, which is dominated by youths.
“The Federal Government currently finds it difficult to allocate cash to run public colleges because it has not been able to control the vast leakage of funds intended for development and because it does not bat an eye when it pays for the extravagant lifestyle of its officials.”