The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) has condemned the attempt by some political merchants to twist the organisation’s advocacy for good governance to achieve media mileage ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The group maintained that contrary to insinuations in certain quarters, “NAS does not mock or discriminate against the physical condition of any person. Never, it is an unfair characterisation and offends everything that we stand for.”
In a statement by its Capone, Abiola Owoaje, NAS regretted that song by its members during its recent convention in Ikeja, Lagos, is being misrepresented to give the impression that it was targeted at a particular person, stressing that mocking the physical state of any person “would cause offence to even our own members that are also, unfortunately, afflicted” as such would never be condoned.
While stressing that the body remains apolitical, the Capone declared: “As an organisation, we have never had a preferred candidate in any political election, including the upcoming 2023 general elections. We have members, who belong to different political parties, and are absolutely free to support any candidate of their choice.
“It is most unfortunate that political capital is being made of this with interpretations that are totally at variance with the philosophy of the Pyrates Confraternity. Unequivocally, we condemn this in very strong terms.”
He went on: “As an organisation in tune with disadvantaged and voiceless people, we are committed to the enthronement of a just society in which no one is discriminated against based on tribe, religion, gender or disability. We are against conventions that are moribund. We have always stood for humanistic ideals, comradeship and chivalry. Nothing that has happened can and will change that posture.”
Owoaje assured Nigerians that the group is determined “to continue to use our social programmes, intellectual platforms and our compelling songs to advocate for good governance and accountability.”
He expressed dismay that the political imputations to the song tended to diminish the social impact of its interventions during the convention, noting: “Part of the yearly general meeting was the review of all our advocacy, humanitarian and operational activities for the year. This, then, as usual, culminated in a celebratory procession.”
“An aspect of this yearly process that we have undertaken for the last 46 years. In our view, it proceeded without event, until this extremely limited video made this appearance. Quite contrary to the manner in which certain aspects of the video are being portrayed, no aspect of this procession or the event itself was political.
“Rather it was the typical climax of our yearly general meeting. At no time in the history of this organisation has this event, or indeed any of our events, had any slanted political leanings.”
Part of the statement read: “As part of the activities we were at the Isheri Primary Health Centre on Thursday 4th August, where we provided free medical services to the Isheri Community. Over 300 people were assisted with various forms of medical treatment. We were also at the Police Hospital, Area F, Ikeja, where we donated substantial quantities of PPEs and other medical supplies.
“These were part of our NAS Medical Mission which was founded in 2012. In the 11 years since then, we have organised over 50 free medical missions that has made a difference to many disadvantaged communities across Nigeria.
“In the last 48 hours, our attention has been drawn to a viral video of a song that has raised concerns and commentary across Nigeria. For the avoidance of doubt, between August 4 and August 6, 2022, the National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) was in Ikeja, Lagos, for our 46th Annual General Meeting. This event was attended by over 2,000 of our members who came to Lagos from all over the world.”