Tuesday, October 18, 2016 11:33 am
The recently concluded Heroes and Helmets Independence Day project, organised by Out of Nigeria (OON), an adventure and social good organisation, has been described as an ‘epic and uncomfortable challenge’ that moved Nigerians out of their comfort zones to engage with men and women of the armed forces in order to improve the relationship between civilians and people in uniform.
Founder of Out of Nigeria, Mr. Toyin Adebola, at the conclusion of the authentic Nigerian adventure dream that heralded the nation’s 56th Independence Day celebrations, said the Heroes and Helmets project was a historic two-legged event with an off-road motorcycle riding adventure around Lagos State by the Out of Nigeria team that included Dele “Bami” Bamidele, founder, Eleko Motor Race and Ron Grace, a bonafide off-road enthusiast and founder of Lost For A Reason, a charity that supports Native Americans in the United States of America. The off-road adventure took the riders through Tarkwa Bay, Badagry, Ikeja, Ikorodu, Epe, Eleko, Ajah and back to Victoria Island which was the bikers starting point.
The second leg of activities was designed to inspire young people to go outside their comfort zones to engage in a larger and more patriotic cause. It involved demonstrating support for members of the armed forces. Taking self-portraits with them and uploading the shots on social media platforms on Independence Day.
Adebola said: “Heroes and Helmets was a fulfilment of my dream of a local motorcycle-inspired project that would resonate across the nation and the world with a soul stirring message and cause,” he said, adding, “The project which recorded almost 4,000 selfies, while not breaking the Guinness World Record, it broke the ice with Nigerian service men and women and it has contributed to achieving our goal of creating better appreciation of members of the armed forces for their role in nation building.
Ron Grace, who participated in the circumnavigation adventure of Lagos State and was visiting Africa for the first time also commended the initiative, saying: “I am both proud and honoured to have been a part of the Heroes and Helmets project, which was a great way to raise awareness and help to nurture a better relationship between civilians and service people. I feel strongly about this because my brother is a police officer in the USA and I see first-hand the struggles he faces; he knows he could be killed in the line of duty, yet, he does it anyway. He does it to help people and that feeling is stronger than the fear.”
Mr. Dele “Bami” Bamidele, who also participated in the adventure observed that the State-wide off-road event was a motorcycle ride that was ‘very different.’ “It was a ride that no one had done before and it had a social impact project to honour our armed forces that was executed simultaneously. We rode off-road around the major areas of Lagos, we made it happen and the rest is history.”
The combined Out of Nigeria selfies campaign and motorcycle adventure, which held on Saturday, October 1, 2016, were anchored on patriotism, inspiration and education (PIE), the purpose of which was dedicated to thanking members of the armed forces for their sacrifices to keeping Nigeria safe.