Distinguished Guests and family members of the deceased,
As the International President of the National Association of Seadogs (a.k.a Pyrates Confraternity) the organizers of today’s grand event, I welcome all of you from far and near, especially the family members of the deceased gentlemen that we are honoring today. It goes to show how much you loved and valued them. I thank also in a special way the organizers of today’s event specifically the Capoon and Seadogs on board 8quake Deck, the California Chapter of NAS International and the entire Area 02 of NAS International for thinking it fit to honor our departed brothers with an event as grand as this.
I stand before you with very mixed feelings. On the one hand, I am filled with the grief and pain that we bore as an organization when 10 years ago we lost our brothers, namely Chido Umeadi, Ike Nwachie and Collins Oji in a ghastly road traffic accident along the interstate route 5 freeway in the city of Modesto Stanislaus on their way to Oakland on Saturday June 7, 1997 to attend an activity of our organization. If we were a religious organization, it probably would be fitting to describe these three Seadogs as martyrs for dying in the service of a cause they believed in. On the other hand, I am indeed filled with joy and gladness that all of you present here today (including members of their close family) can take time out to honor the memory of these fallen Seadogs and the legacy they left behind. Nothing could be more reassuring than to know that through the Pyrates Confraternity we are indeed forging a new oneness amongst Nigerians that is devoid of ethnic, tribal or clannish considerations. Many of us gathered here today may not have known these fallen gentlemen but we are yet here to honor them for the simple reason that we have come to accept the bonds that bind us together as brothers despite our primordial origins across the Nigerian divide of the rivers Niger and Benue.
I also express joy in this remembrance of grief with the hope that all the good deeds performed by Chido, Ike and Collins here on earth has gained for them eternal peace and perpetual freedom in God’s Kingdom. Without sounding fatalistic, many of us may not realize what peace and freedom could be gained from just being transported in death away from the circumstances and reality of living in Nigeria. Freedom from a number of debilitating circumstances such as: lack of electricity, long queues caused by incessant fuel price increases, violence in the Niger Delta as a result of internal ethnic colonialism foisted by a bourgeoisie that seeks only its self aggrandizement, insecurity and loss of lives and properties caused by the inability of the Nigeria Police to rein in the activities of armed robbers, the leadership of military despots who pretend to be democrats, electoral malpractices, malaria, collapsing buildings, plane crashes, private usurpation of public parastatals in the name of privatization of public institutions, and freedom from all manner of poor conditions of living which an irresponsible and uncaring leadership has perpetuated in Nigeria over the years. Living through this frightening conditions is perhaps what will make many in Nigeria long for death, so that together with the old African American spiritualist, they can proclaim in death, free at last, free at last, we are free at last. But then, it shouldn’t have been Chido, Ike and Collins. They were resolute in their demand for a better state of affairs for the Nigerians they left back home in their quest for better living out here in the US. Their physical bodies walked the face of America but their minds remained focused on how to bring the same conditions back to their down trodden and pauperized Nigerians.
For the family members and other guests who are still in doubt of what the National Association of Seadogs is all about and what type of individuals comprise it, there is no need to rehash the point that the lives of these three deceased members of our organization is a living testimony of what we stand for and the type of people that make up our membership. We have read in the brochure for this event, the high scholarly and human qualities that Chido, Ike and Collins displayed in the short time they walked the face of the earth. They were all brilliant and outstanding Nigerians who sought a better deal for a country that has been run comatose by depraved and parasitic ruling elite. With their integrity and honesty they gave a different meaning to how Nigerians are viewed by non-Nigerians as largely corrupt. With their chivalric attitude, they approached life with compassion and generosity for the weak, oppressed and voiceless in our society. They were in our parlance rugged pyrates.
May I now request all of you in the silence of your hearts to pray to God almighty to grant their souls perpetual rest and to shine His light upon them forever. Amen.
National Association of Seadogs
June 8, 2007