The National Wolffish Association (NAS) has unveiled its 70th anniversary logo as the band officially kicks off celebrations to mark its Diamond Jubilee.
Abiola Owoaje, the leader of the group, told reporters at the official unveiling on Friday that many activities were held to showcase the organization’s nobility, philosophy and continued quest to create a just Nigerian society.
“As we celebrate, we will also use the period, especially as we get closer to the 2023 election to continue our effort for a just society where no one is victimized by color, gender or creed,” said Mr. Owoaje, which is known as NAS Cap’n.
“Through our celebrations, we will join Nigerians in demanding free, fair and credible elections in 2023. This would be the most fitting culmination of our 70th anniversary celebration.
Last month, the group, also known as The Pyrates Confraternity, made headlines after a viral video on social media showed its members chanting a song about a presidential candidate whose “hands and the feet are shaking, but he says ‘it’s my turn.'”
The video, which apparently referred to APC presidential candidate Bola Tinubu, was immediately condemned by Wole Soyinka, one of the NAS founders.
The group is quick to distance itself from the video, saying it has remained apolitical since its inception in 1952.
“Service to Humanity”
During the official unveiling on Friday, Mr. Owoaje recalled that the group was founded by “seven passionate and patriotic young Nigerian students” Mr. Wole Soyinka, Ralph Opara, Nathaniel Oyelola, Pius Oleghe, Olumuyiwa Awe, Ikpehare Aig-Imoukhuede and Slyvanus Egbuche, at University College Ibadan, now University of Ibadan.
He said the Founders “took a revolutionary giant step towards greatness and etched their names in the sands of time by standing up against abhorrent conventions to form the Brotherhood of Pyrates.
“In 1952, when the Brotherhood of Pyrates was formed, its fundamental philosophy was not only to fight for the oppressed, to speak for the helpless and to resolve a myriad of injustices in the march towards the realization of a society fair and equal,” Owoaje said. .
“Certainly, this was a pioneering initiative by these seven undergraduates, which restored dignity, confidence and an enduring sense of worth and justice to much of the Nigerian population in those heady days of colonial subjugation.
“Over the years, from one bridge in Ibadan, Pyrates Confraternity has grown to 60 bridges spread across five continents and in many countries including South Africa, USA, Canada, UK, Japan, Australia and all of Europe.
“It is therefore only fitting that the theme of our platinum anniversary: ’70 years of service to humanity’ is a thoughtful synthesis of our modest contribution to humanity.
Mr. Owoaje said the brotherhood has contributed to national development in Nigeria through words and deeds.
“It was our organization in 1986, through a thorough investigation conducted entirely by our members, that revealed the widespread corruption that had hampered operations at the Lagos/Ibadan highway tollbooth,” he said.
“One of the recommendations of this investigation was the privatization of tolls, but this was not implemented until several years later.”
He also highlighted the role played by the organization when the Nigerian government established the Federal Road Safety Corps in 1988 and appointed Mr. Soyinka as Marshal of the Corps.
“They laid the foundations of discipline, steadfastness, integrity and an enviable commitment to humanitarian service, transforming it into a formidable paramilitary agency,” he said.
“Indeed, Nigerians would attest to the fact that the FRSC at its height was devoid of the corruption and underhanded shenanigans associated with its sister agencies. The FRSC of the day dramatically reduced the level of carnage on our roads and highways and inspired a change in attitude among motorists.
Mr. Owoaje noted that the founding members of Pyrates Confraternity benefited immensely from the good quality education offered in Nigeria at the time.
“Many of our members who have excelled in their chosen careers and made the country proud both at home and abroad have had their university education in Nigeria,” he said.
“We are, however, saddened by the sad state of education in our tertiary institutions, especially Nigerian universities. It is outrageous that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has to go on strike to prevent a total collapse of the public university system.
Mr. Owoaje said successive governments in Nigeria have usually treated education with the same testy levity that we all witness today.
“This unfortunate situation jeopardizes the very future of an entire generation of young people. It is hard to believe that any government could be so indifferent to what happens to a largely young demographic that is the most populous on the continent.
“The federal government, which has been unable to stop the massive drain of development funds and which does not blink an eye while funding the debauched lifestyle of its civil servants, is now struggling to devote funds to the operation of public universities.”
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