Indomie Independence Day Awards: Legacy beyond Today


BY Olaseni Durojaiye

Awards worldwide are usually excitement packed with celebrities stealing the show as they strut on the runway and red carpets showing off expensive clothes and jewelleries with the cameras flashing non-stop. This is the expectation of many when they attend awards.

When the event is done nobody remembers the core essence of why the awards was held in the first place but most will spend days talking about the glamour, the rumours and very few will remember who won or why they won.

This element sets ‘awards’ apart from ‘awards’. The Oscars in the United States of America rewards talented actors who have been able to distinguish themselves as the best in their profession. These select talents are identified and rewarded for their contributions on stage and before the camera.

Every year the best actors are sought out and rewarded. This generates competitiveness amongst the actors, who seek excellence while entertaining the audience, who buy movies or troop to cinemas to watch live stage performances.

Indomie Independence Day Awards is also a reward platform to identify and celebrate outstanding display of heroism and selflessness in children who are not likely to be regarded as heroes and most often relegated to the background of history, never to be remembered. One difference between the two awards is, while the Oscars is for a make-believe performance, IIDA is for real, sometimes life-threatening, ‘performances and sacrifices’ which might have gone unnoticed.

How many people can still remember 13 year-old Jordan Rice from Australia who was caught up with his 10 year-old younger brother and mother during a flood that ravaged Australia in January 2011? When rescue workers wanted to rescue him he refused to be rescued first, insisting his younger brother and mother get saved before him. Unfortunately Jordan and his mother did not make it alive. Knowing he could not swim he still gave his life to save his younger brother Blake and almost saved his mother too.

This and many other young heroes abound this world but most times ignored, abandoned and even rebuked when that innate, subconscious ‘super hero’ tendency in them is activated when they see someone in distress. We have seen children make haste in order to avert an impending crisis situation even too big for adult and the adults either make fun or chastise them.

In 2008, Khalil Bala, a minor refused to be chastised when he displayed uncanny courage by jumping into a burning house to save his sister. His limbs got seriously damaged in the process but if he had waited for help it would have been too late for his precious sister and for this he was appreciated by Indomie through IIDA first prize award. Dorcas Ayodele saved her younger brother from an uncontrollable car accident. His presence of mind and quick reaction entitled her to the second prize in 2008 Indomie Heroes Awards. Razak Omolade demonstrated strong will power to succeed in life, even in the face of severe disability. Indomie honoured his courage on Indomie Hero Awards 2008.

In 2009, Detimbir Chia rescued five passengers out of 18 passengers on board an ill-fated military aircraft in 2006. Owing to his display of bravery, Indomie awarded him the first prize in 2009 Indomie Hero Awards.

Wembly Uchenna saved the life of 4 year-old Ada, who was trapped in a mud without considering the danger of such actions. His selfless act won him the second spot in the Heroes Awards 2009. Chukwudi Ibobo produced prototypes of toy vehicles such as sports cars, trucks, helicopters, caterpillars, robots of different sizes from scrap metal and wasted items. His talent was recognised by Indomie.

Physically challenged (armless) and written off by many, 14 year-old Umar Mariam, who lives in Kofar Naisa was honoured in 2010. A native of Sokoto State won the first prize trophy and N1million worth of scholarship for her exceptional courage in the face of disability. She is a native of Sokoto State and attends Arabic School. She lives with both her parents.

Mariam was 3 years old when she noticed that she was without hands. She inquired from her parents and they made her understand that was how she was born. Nature has however compensated her. She is able to manipulate her legs to do things. She started using her two legs to do whatever labour she has to do since she knew she does not have hands to do it. She believes that God has reasons for making her armless so she tries her best to engage herself in learning how to use her two legs for what hands could do.

She did many household chores such as ironing of clothes, receiving calls, cooking, bathing, writing, eating and drinking. Mariam could do anything other children could do with her legs.

12 year-old Treasure Obasi came second and was honoured with scholarship worth N750,000 for her innate abilities and talents. At her age, she is already setting the pace in TV broadcasting. Her name is Treasure Obasi. Her talent made her a gem and prominent face on ‘Young Inventors’, a programme she presents on the network service of NTA. At the auditioning for the programme, she emerged best among other competitors who were university undergraduates. Treasure has presented 20 episodes of the programme so far to the satisfaction of the teaming viewers and NTA programme directorate.

Born on the 13th of February 2004 to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Abasi, Treasure is the first daughter of two children. Her younger brother Sharon was born two years after. At age eight she won the British Airways Essay Competition where she competed with secondary school students. She also won the best reader award for her school as a news caster. Her coherence, articulation, flow of thought and delivery at just 12 years made Treasure truthful to her name and a treasure to behold.

Sixteen year-old Sarah Oladele won the third prize award and N500,000 worth scholarship for displaying an unusual spirit of compassion, love, maturity, intelligence and courage at the scene of an accident. It was a fatal accident in 2008, on a lonely road known as High School Road. Sarah Oladele was going to school at 6.00 am in the morning. She was only 15 years old and just completed her secondary education.

Sarah was going to school that early morning because her teacher asked them to come early to class. As she was trekking to school, she saw a motorcyclist ahead knock down a man to the side of the road and sped off. She stood by the bleeding victim, beckoning and trying to stop cars as they drove by but with no success. So Sarah decided to move to the centre of the road to stop vehicles sacrificing herself to save the victim who was already losing so much blood.

Finally a car stopped and the victim was rushed to hospital. From the hospital, she went straight to the police headquarters, Akure and reported the case at the police station producing the registration number of the motor bike to the police officers on duty. When the cyclist took off the first thing Sarah did was to memorize the number. Two days later, the hit and run rider through the information given by Sarah was apprehended.

The cyclist was escorted to the hospital and made to pay the hospital bills of the victim. Sarah later came to check on the victim and discovered his name was Master Noah, in SS 2 and attended Winners College, Akure.

2011, 14 year-old Njoku Chigbo from Abakaliki in Ebonyi State, South East Nigeria won the coveted first prize of N1 million for outstanding bravery and heroic act .He rescued a drowning woman and repeatedly dived into the Ebonyi River to rescue her properties as well, including a motorcycle.

The second prize winner, Ajila Wehbe from Lagos was rewarded with the sum of N750,000 for safely delivering her 16 years old pregnant sister without adult supervision or previous medical experience while Sule Mallam Hamza from Nassarawa won the third prize of N500,000 for saving the life of a little boy from drowning in a river.

In 2012, the awardees were Olufunmilayo Bello, who was adjudged the first prize winner by the panel of judges for her selfless act of heroism after saving a deformed and abandoned baby, whom she named Zacheaus. She later prevailed on the proprietor of her orphanage to take in the poor boy for proper care.

George Sadoh from Warri, Delta State came second for his brave and courageous act of saving a man who was being robbed by scaring away his attackers with ‘knockouts’ and later taking the victim to the hospital.

Princess Esan was awarded third position for first saving the life of her brother when fire gutted their home at great risk to herself.

Toruemi, who resides in Port Harcourt rescued a drowning boy and was recognised in 2013 while Kenubu from Kano helped find a missing baby and Adekunle, a Minna-based 8-year-old, got robbers arrested through his ingenuity.

Aniema Udokang, 15 years old from Cross River in 2014, helped save an accident victim on IBB way in Calabar.

Semiya Modashiru, 14 years old, helped save the lives of a baby by apprehending and confronting a kidnapper at a bus garage in Ogijo and 10 year-old Bassey Itam helped a boy bitten by a snake.

Nafarya, who resides in Kano, in 2015, through her observation, a major disaster was averted that could have led to the death of hundreds, while Innocent from Abuja ran into a burning house to save his one year-old sister from sustaining a third degree burn leading to his disability and Abuja-based Najah got robbers arrested through her courage and ingenuity.

This year’s Indomie Independence Day Awards 2016 took a turn for the better with the categorisation of the award into 3 places. Three more lucky winners who emerged at the event each went home with N1,000,000 scholarship for social, physical and intellectual bravery categories, in addition to donations from kind hearted individuals and corporate organisations.

Fourteen-year-old Salisu Ibrahim is a visually impaired pupil of Special Education Centre, Bauchi. He has been blind from birth. He is a cobbler. Another winner of the categories was a nascent inventor, Babatimileyin Daomi. He is 15 years old but has creatively invented a vacuum cleaner, a phone bank, a portable fan, self-watered flour vase and a functional radio.

The third winner is a 15 year-old Favour Unwene. She hails from Ikono, in Akwa Ibom State to clinch her scholarship award worth N1,000,000 in the social bravery category for saving a life.

These are the real heroes who do it to save a life and not for the cameras. They live the drama in the stage called life, teaching everyone even adults there is no greater love than putting other first. This noble heroes are the Indomie Independent Award winners for the past nine years.