Marketing Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Franco Maria Maggi’s Speech At The Nigerian Winter Olympics Sponsorship Media Unveil
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
Dear colleagues and friends,
Gentlemen and ladies of the press
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to such an historic event.
A little over a year ago, in 2016 to be specific, a young exemplary Nigerian woman launched a GoFundMe page to help finance what some people referred to as an outlandish dream; she wanted to start a Nigerian women’s bobsled team to compete in the Olympics.
To put it in proper context, a Nigerian wanted to start a bobsled team for Nigeria — a country with a sub-Saharan climate, never had snow, no winter except for the sometimes dry and cold harmattan — and become the first team from Africa to compete in the sport at the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
How daring to even contemplate such a feat.
But as they say that success is not a lone journey, she invited her friends, all of Nigerian descent to join in making history. They handcrafted a wooden training sled named the ‘Maeflower’, depleted their savings and put white-collar careers on hold to slide around icy curves at 80 miles per hour.
As these three women set out to make history, another remarkable Nigerian lady who had read about them was inspired to do something equally extraordinary. So she reached out and kept in touch. Though she had wanted to try out bobsleigh, she discovered Skeleton which she found equally interesting and decided to, as she said in her own words, ‘use my talents to serve my country.’ She started to learn the sport and eventually qualified to compete at the winter Olympics.
Today, Simidele Adeagbo is Africa’s first Woman Skeleton athlete to qualify for the Winter Olympics, just as the remarkable trio of Seun Adigun, Akuoma Omeoga, and Ngozi Onwumere of the Nigerian bobsled team are the first team from Africa to ever compete in the Winter Olympics.
In the nearly 100-year history of the Winter Olympic Games, Nigeria has never been represented, in any sport, but when the 2018 Winter Olympics kick off in Pyeongchang, South Korea, FOUR exceptional and inspiring Nigerian women will be making history.
They are women, they are Nigerians, they are exceptional, they are shining examples and they are the reason why we are here today.
If you know Nigeria as much I do, Nigeria is a nation of firsts, the pioneer of many greats in Africa. As the first lager brewed in Nigeria, we identify with that pioneering spirit of excellence that these amazing four Nigerians represent.
They have yet again demonstrated the irrepressible Nigerian spirit; the grit, the resilience, the never-say-die attitude that characterises the Nneka in Enugu, the Omolola in Lagos and the Ameenah in Kano. It is this same verve for success, the same determination to surmount challenges and the same mindset of possibility that makes Star Lager unique. As a proudly Nigerian brand, Star is indeed proud of these exemplary athletes.
Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere, Akuoma Omeoga and Simidele Adeagbo are rewriting history to become Nigeria’s first women’s bobsled team and Woman Skeleton athlete respectively.
Together they embody the Nigerian never-say-die spirit. As Nigerians, we exhibit an unequalled grit and can-do attitude that makes us excel in any endeavour we put our minds to and wherever we find ourselves in the world, we always showcase, with passion, the ‘Nigerianness’ in us.
Star Lager identifies with these Nigerian traits of talent and resilience as demonstrated by these strong women and celebrates them.
As Seun rightly said in an interview, ‘resilience is something that you can actually live to achieve, and the fear of the unknown doesn’t need to be something that limits your ability to thrive in life.’ We are proud that these four women saw fear as just another opportunity to learn and they took it and made something bright and shinny of it.
To Ngozi, Seun, Simi, and Akuoma, we say thank you for making Nigeria proud and we wish you even greater successes as you go on to compete at the winter Olympics. Indeed, you have inspired young Africans to excel at whatever they set their hearts to. You have shown that every dream is valid and can be achieved if they put in the work.
Star Lager is proud of you, proud of our Nigerian heritage and we will continue to support the Nigerian brand at every opportunity.
With this, I say thank you all for coming, please enjoy the rest of today’s historic event.