Welcome Message by Prince Ifeanyi Onochie, NAS Capn, National Association of Seadogs at the 18th Wole Soyinka Lecture held at Greenbelt Marriott, Maryland, USA on 12th June, 2015.
On Friday, June 12, 2015, At Greenbelt Marriott Hotels, Greenbelt, Maryland, United States Of America
By Prince Ifeanyi Onochie, Nas Cap’n.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen! It is with immense pleasure that I welcome you all to this 18th Wole Soyinka Lecture Series.
The Wole Soyinka Lecture Series was established with the cardinal aim of promoting good governance, social justice and the advancement of democratic ideals locally in Nigeria and globally across all nations; on the principle that by highlighting issues and challenges individuals and governments face in delivering good, responsible and accountable governance, and providing a platform for their evaluation and discussion, clear, practical and internationally acceptable solutions and intervention strategies can be developed, which will, in turn, guarantee that through efficient and effective service delivery, nation-states can incrementally enhance citizen welfare, improve living standards and protect the rights to life and property of the most vulnerable members of society.
The Lecture series was conceived by the National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) and dedicated to honouring one of Nigeria and Africa’s most outstanding and enduring literary icons, scholar, and writer, intellectual, activist, visionary and moral beacon in the person of Professor Wole Soyinka.
The justification for a Nigerian local content for the Lecture Series stems from the fact that although National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) has metamorphosed into a global organisation with thirty eight decks (operational and administrative bases) in seventeen states of Nigeria and sixteen decks in fifteen cities outside Nigeria, which are located across four continents, it has its roots in Nigeria.
Since inception in 1994, twenty five distinguished speakers; activists, financial and political leaders, scholars, as well as academics have graced the Lecture Series, in varying capacity. The event has been hosted at thirteen venues, in seven cities, across three continents and has had a turnover of more than one thousand participants.
In developing the theme for this 2015 Lecture, we took cognisance of the impact of the brutal, barbaric and unprecedented surge in armed insurgency and transnational terrorism on individual-family-groups and nations, especially developing nations; and set out to identify, highlight and discuss the issues, circumstances, factors and influences that have contributed to the current state of insecurity threatening the corporate existence and sovereignty of many nations, especially across sub-Saharan Africa. Having tracked the impact of the activities of terrorist groups like The Islamic State Militant Group (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria; Taliban extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan; Al-Shabaab in Somalia and Kenya, Boko-Haram in Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon et cetera, The National Association of Seadogs foresees a global spread of cataclysmic geo-political and socioeconomic consequences, if concerted efforts are not made to contain the current surge in extremism.
We dedicate this year’s event to all the victims of armed insurgency and transnational terrorism, whoever and wherever they may be; those who have lost lives or limbs, those who have lost loved ones or have become refugees in their own countries, we salute your courage and in line with our cardinal principle “For Humanistic Ideals”, we identify with your plight!
We are optimistic that the theme: “Escalating Fundamentalism, Terrorism and Insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Economic Development and Imperatives of Building Strong Democratic Institutions” ensures that your sufferings remain a blight on international consciences and that by the end of our deliberations, we will arrive at practical solutions and agree strategic interventions that will ensure the gradual degradation of armed insurrection and curtail the adverse socioeconomic consequences of transnational terrorism.
Thank you all for being here, for your attention and patience.
Prince Ifeanyi Onochie
June 12, 2015