I said yes and I am proud to announce to the world that there is now an atheist group in Nigeria!
Dear Mr. Phil Ferguson,Here is the minutes of the inaugural meeting of the Nigerian Atheists Organization.NIGERIAN ATHEISTS –NGAMINUTES: INAUGURAL MEETING OF STEERING COMMITTEEDate: February 12, 2012.Venue: Haribina hotel, Arab-Utako, Abuja.Present: Mr. Adepoju Adeleke (Abuja), Mr. Andrew Nandip (Plateau state), Mr. Ogunyemi Adekunle (Abuja), Mr. Sambo Gamba (Bauchi state), Professor Tunde Arogundade (Plateau state) and MS. Yemisi Ilesanmi(UK).Absent: Dr. Ogunlana Adeleke (Kogi state), Mr. Aruson Alaba(Lagos), Mrs Adekunle Ann( plateau state).Meeting was called to order by Dr. Tunde Arogundade at 11:30 a.m.Agenda:Item 1 (Introduction):Attendees introduced themselves and shared personal experiences on when and how they came out to identify with atheism.Item 2 (The role of Nigerian atheists):Prof Tunde Arogundade talked about the religious crises in Nigeria and its damaging effect on the country; he emphasized the need for Nigerian atheists to take up the duty of spreading reason and science in their various communities… and drew instances on how he was able to help a number of people to become free from religious slavery to embrace reason.Ogunyemi Adekunle stressed it that religion and superstition will continue to rule Nigeria with all the harmful effects if men of reason and science just sit by and watch. He called for a radical spread of reason to tackle ignorance – saying atheists must come out of their shell to openly identify with atheism and its values. He said education is the key to promoting logic and science in such a highly religious and superstitious society like Nigeria.Sambo Gamba stated that he came out of his [private] way to join the Nigerian Atheists Organization because he believes there is a need for dedicated atheists to come together to give a strong voice to atheistic values in Nigeria.Andrew Nandip who narrated how prof. Tunde was able to help him become the full-blown rationalist/atheist that he is today, agreed that Nigerian atheists should take it as a duty to help as many people as possible get free from the shackles of religion.Yemisi Ilesanmi talked about her personal effort in promoting reason and combating religious fundamentalism through her blog and facebook page; however, she opposed the clarion call that atheists should work to convince religionists to give up their religion for reason. Defending her argument, she asked if there is any standard to prove that atheistic views are the right or the superior ones and added that being atheist does not interpret as being intelligent or super intelligent. This position resorted into an argument between Ogunyemi Adekunle and Yemisi Ilesanmi but Prof. Tunde was able to put the argument to rest and urge the meeting to move to the next item.Item 3 (Appointment of officials):Dr. Ogunlana Adeleke was appointed as the president, prof. Tunde Arogundade was appointed as a director, Yemisi Ilesanmi as a director, Ogunyemi Adekunle was appointed as the secretary, Sambo Gamba was appointed as the public relation officer while Adepoju Adeleke was appointed as the account officer. These [unanimously] appointed executive members will run the Nigerian Atheists Organisation for the period of one year (from February 12, 2012 to February 12, 2013) when the organisation would have been ready for a proper election.Item 4 (overview of the mission statement):The mission statement was read by Ogunyemi Adekunle; Prof. Tunde Arogundade suggested that the word ‘mission’ be replaced with ‘manifesto’. Yemisi Ilesanmi complained that the mission is too broad and called for it to be cut down to cover only atheists rights; explaining that Nigerian Atheists Organization should have a singular focus of fighting for atheists’ rights in Nigeria rather than all encompassing rights activism.Ogunyemi Adekunle disagreed with this position, pointing it out that; atheistic values go beyond the mere defense of atheists’ liberty….Item 5 (acknowledgement of goodwill messages):Dr. Ogunlana Adeleke called in during the meeting to apologize for not being able to be physically present and to affirm his full commitment to Nigerian Atheists Organisation. Mrs. Adekunle Ann also called in to pass her goodwill message. Ogunyemi Adekunle formally acknowledged the financial and moral support of Dr. Ogunlana Adeleke in organising the meeting. Hotem Dajenid (Honorary Nigerian – from Uganda) who has been a strong moral and practical backbone to this organization from the cradle sent in a ewe inspiring message that was read shortly before the end of the meeting.It was moved by Adepoju Adeleke and seconded by Prof. Tunde Arogundade that the meeting be adjourn to April for a general meeting where all suggestions will be looked into.The meeting closed at 18:00 p.m.Encl: Mission statement and the goodwill message from Hotem Dajenid:Nigerian Atheists-NGAOur mission as a civil society organisation is to bring Nigerian atheists together to promote secular norms and values [in Nigeria] through interactive group and mass education; democracy and rights advocacy.We seek to liberate Nigerians from the harmful effects of religious teachings and superstitious beliefs by promoting science and reason- especially in the rural communities.We strongly stand against and seek an end to all forms of state sponsored religious activities.We stand to fight all forms of child abuse and all manner of human slavery.We seek to extend our humanitarian services to Nigerian prisons, orphanage homes and other social welfare facilities.Our mission also includes working with other human, animal and environmental rights protection organisations within and outside Nigeria. We are out to fully protect [legally] any person or group of persons discriminated against or sidelined on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, skin colour, medical condition, social status or religious view.Nigerian Atheists stands firmly as a watchdog organisation to make sure the Nigerian government respects, at all time, the universal fundamental human rights declaration which Nigeria became a signatory to on July 29, 1993, and other human rights applicable laws; we stand to take legal actions against the government whenever it goes against these human rights laws.This organisation shall operate under a management board, guided by absolute democratic principles which include transparency, checks and balance in office hierarchy and keeping the financial records open to the public.Ogunyemi AdekunleSecretary.