Full transcript of the Welcome Address by Seun Soyinka, Captain of J9C at its 3rd Annual Lecture, titled, 2015 General Polls: Beyond the Rhetorics of Credible Elections at Muson Centre, Lagos On Friday, January 9.
Permit me to begin by expressing our deep appreciation to you for taking time off your busy schedules and accepting our invitation to attend the J9C Annual Lecture, the third in the series this morning. Your effort, in accepting our invitation and attending, is an encouraging pointer that we indeed have the wellness of our dear nation at heart. Your attendance here today therefore, represents hope for Nigeria. it is commendable and much appreciated.
As you may be aware, the January 9 Collective, J9C for short, is a non-partisan socio-political group of like-minded Nigerian professionals whose unifying strong bond is not only in the unwavering belief in Project Nigeria, but also in the strong possibility of good governance not as an aberration but as a given in our dear country. The founders of J9C transcended beyond social media commentaries and living room analyses and made bold to crystallize their passion, vision and aspirations for Nigeria into a veritable platform from where requisite awareness and promotion of good governance at all levels via constructive engagement can be achieved.
Our lecture series have since crystallized into that platform where strategic initiatives can be developed via constructive discussions, geared towards the attainment of the ideal Nigeria of our collective dreams. Our lectures are therefore themed in line with the current burning national issues.
In just a matter of weeks, we will be going through another bout of elections to decide our future and livelihood both as individuals and as a nation. Appropriately therefore, we have themed this year’s lecture: “2015 General Polls: Beyond the Rhetorics of Credible Elections”
Credible elections are important but hardly enough to guarantee good governance. You might have asked yourself the question, “With our politicians, why do the vibrancy and energy of pre-election era suddenly wane after swearing-in?” You will get your answers from our panelists in a short while. Given our natural resources and brilliant minds, our country Nigeria indeed has a great potential to become a self-sufficient world super power but unfortunately, our advancement beyond mediocrity, for so long and too long, has remained what it is, a mere potential. Painfully, our albatross has majorly been bad leadership as well as bad followership both of which have given free passage to bare faced-greed and corruption of course with their attendant ancillaries that keep our country perpetually bleeding and ailing.
I think it is our business, it is the business of everyone of us especially those of us who have the benefit of education… those of us who have the benefit of the opportunity to serve our nation in whatever capacity, it is indeed our duty to contribute our own quota and make this nation a much better place than we met it. We have another opportunity at the forthcoming general polls, to fix our ailing country by electing our leaders and continuously holding them accountable to their commitments.
This morning I have the great pleasure and privilege of welcoming several distinguished Nigerians in our midst; Our Royal father of the day, the Alaafin of Oyo, His Royal Highness, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, Kaaaabiyesi o. k’ade pe lori, ki bata pe l’ese, ki irukere ko di abere, I say a ‘BIG’ thank you Kabiyesi and a very warm welcome sir, may the bright star of the Kingdom of Oyo never grow dim;
And to our keynote Speaker for today, Professor Anthony Kila, a very warm welcome home from Cambridge! And our panel discussants who are all my big egbons, the irrepressible and shining example of diligence and love for motherland, Bashorun Dele Momodu; our gubernatorial aspirants for Lagos, Mr Jimi Agbaje of the PDP, who coincidentally was the Keynote Speaker at our inaugural lecture in 2013 and that son of a teacher who wants to be Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode of the APC, I welcome you both.
And finally to you distinguished guests, I bid you welcome and urge you to fasten your seat belts as we proceed with the program.
I thank you for your attention.