The eleventh edition of the Indomie Independence Day Award (IIDA) held at the weekend with three outstanding Nigerian children who have demonstrated courage and bravery in the face of adversity receiving multi-million naira scholarships.
IIDA, which is a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of Dufil Prima Foods and began in 2008, is geared towards recognising and celebrating children below the age of 15 who have exhibited extraordinary acts of heroism in the face of danger or societal challenges. The IIDA initiative has so far benefited 40 Nigerian children who have shown exemplary character and bravery.
At this year’s award, which took place in Lagos, Masters Elijah Ephraim Umanah, Victor Olayiwola and David Nengi Ayomide Pepple won the Intellectual, Physical and Social Bravery categories of the award respectively. They went home with multi-million naira scholarships from the brand.
In his welcome address, Chief Executive Officer of Multipro Consumer Products Limited, Pawan Sharma, said IIDA originated from the passion that the brand had to celebrate heroism among Nigerian children. “As a brand, we feel we need to celebrate our unsung heroes, Nigerian children, who are doing an extraordinary job, without being celebrated. This year, we received hundreds of entries and when we went through those entries, we were amazed to see the kind of things Nigerian children are doing. Sometimes, we feel like crying for them, because those children as young as they are, are sacrificing their lives with acts of bravery. They are doing some things that even 40-year-old people would think twice before they do them. We salute those children. Also, we thank our partners such as Stanbic IBTC Bank and TVC Communications for supporting this noble cause. And we welcome anyone who wants to join this noble cause.”
Founder of Rise Networks, Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, who delivered the event’s keynote address, stated that children are key to Nigerian’s future development and growth. In her keynote address, she commended the brand for the noble initiative and emphasised the need for every Nigerian child to be empowered through quality and scientific-oriented education “I want to thank Dufil for the wonderful work she is doing in Nigeria. IIDA is the biggest and most inspiring programme for children in Nigeria. It is commendable for an organisation to have consistently sustained this social responsibility programme the way Dufil has been doing, by making substantial contribution to the growth and development of Nigerian children, without necessary getting something in return, despite the current situation of things. Although children are the most beneficiaries of education, they are the ones with the least powerful voice to influence it,” she said.
Olayiwola, a 15-year-old boy from Lagos and whose story of heroism evoked emotions from the audience, was adjudged the winner of the Physical Bravery category for saving his mother from a car accident, which later resulted in his left leg being amputated. Olayiwola said, “I did what I did to save my mother and others. I love my mother so much that I did not want her to die. Awards or rewards were never on my mind when I saved them from that car accident. But Indomie has made my act a worthwhile one and a thing of joy. I am really grateful to them for putting smiles on my face.”
Nine-year-old Pepple from Port Harcourt won the Social Bravery category for using his art talent to seek financial assistance for the treatment of his younger brother who has cerebral palsy. At the event, Dufil promised to fully fund the treatment of Pepple’s younger brother abroad.
Umanah, a 13-year-old senior secondary (SS1) student of Centenary Staff College in Uyo won the Intellectual Bravery category for creating reading glasses, using torchlight, solar panel and universal serial bus (USB) ports.
Receiving the award, Umanah, who was overwhelmed by emotions, said, “I feel extremely happy and very proud of this award. I thank Dufil for finding me worthy to receive this award. This has encouraged me to continue on the path of invention and do more in the future,” he said.