I am most touched to have been asked to provide a foreword for this important publication.  ‘The Darkest Dawn’ is a deeply poignant tribute to all those who so tragically lost their lives when H.M.Y. IOLAIRE sank a century ago, in the early hours of 1st January 1919.

Time and again I have been deeply humbled and profoundly moved by the extraordinary grace and capacity for forgiveness that I have seen in those who have suffered so much.

The small steps we have taken towards a circular economy will need to become giant strides if we are to achieve the required changes before time runs out.

Over the decades Australia House has become a symbol of the unique relationship between Australia and Britain, through good times and bad, and as vital members of our Commonwealth Family of Nations.

As the world moves towards the adoption of sustainable business models – with those organizations which find ways to eliminate the throwaway society and to use natural resources in a sustainable, “circular” way, being the ones which uncover new opportunities and reduce their risks – companies are going to require ever more robust data on which to base decisions. Who is better placed than accountants to provide them with this information?

Once again, on this visit, I have been struck by the dynamism and energy of this city, and its vital role as the beating cultural and economic heart, not just of Nigeria, but of the whole region – and, indeed, as one of the major urban and economic centres of the Commonwealth.

It was of particular importance to my wife and to myself that we should conclude our Tour of West Africa by coming here to Nigeria, and to experience, however briefly, something of  the extraordinary nature of this immense country. 

It is clear to me that the Commonwealth remains as vital today, as it has ever been.  It brings us together, building bridges between our governments and our people, and offering the practical means to work together for a better future.

We are both tremendously touched by the warmth of the welcome that we have received here today and can only say how much we admire and appreciate its wonderful celebration of your culture.

 I remember quite clearly The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh returning from their own visit to The Gambia in 1961, when I was just thirteen, and telling me how much they had enjoyed their time here.  I remember seeing some of the photographs that my Father had somehow managed to take with his miniature Minox camera and thinking how marvellous it would be to visit myself one day.