By Bennett Oghifo
“Whatever you do this season, please do not drink and drive. When you go out in a group to have fun, designate someone to drive and that person should not drink. If you are going out alone, arrange for taxi to take you home after you have had some drink. I urge everyone to drink responsibly and also act as ambassadors of responsible drinking during this season and beyond”, were the admonishing words of Peter Ndegwa, the Guiness MD in Nigeria.
This was at ongoing campaign on responsible drinking being spearheaded by the duo of Guinness Nigeria Plc and the Federal Roads Safety Corps, FRSC.
Speaking at the flag-off of this year’s ember months responsible drinking campaign which took place at the Ketu Motor Park in Lagos, Ndegwa disclosed that the partnership between Guinness Nigeria and FRSC, which has lasted over a decade, had blossomed into an impactful platform, making it possible for both parties to jointly deliver ember months campaigns that annually reach millions of Nigerians.
“Through our ember months’ campaigns, we aim to play a part in helping consumers make the right choices. The message we deliver to consumers through our annual campaigns is consistent with our values at Guinness Nigeria. Consumers are at the heart of everything we do as an organisation and are the basis for our success. We are therefore genuinely concerned when we see consumers put themselves at risk through practices like drink driving. The timing of this campaign takes into cognisance the high frequency of vehicular movement during ember months, particularly during the Christmas season. Historically, the occurrence of road accidents also increases during ember months. This campaign therefore aims to help prevent alcohol-related accidents this season,” Ndegwa said.
Ndegwa also commended the FRSC for their critical role they play in helping to reduce accidents on the nation’s highways. “I would like to specially thank the FRSC for their partnership through the years and for the good work they do every day to ensure the safety of road users in Nigeria. As a company, we are proud of the impact we will be able to make through our partnership with the FRSC and other stakeholders this season. I’m positive that our collective actions will help promote the culture of responsible drinking and ensure the safety of Nigerians traveling to various destinations,” he enthused.
On his part, Corps Commander, Lagos Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission, Mr. Hyginus Omeje commended Guinness Nigeria Plc for sustaining this giant stride for the past nine years, while taking into cognizance the fact that road safety is a shared responsibility.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s campaign, “Crash the crash: Speed kills”, Omeje noted that driving under the influence was an underlying factor in some of the Road Traffic Crashes recorded.
Furthermore, he explained that the donation of breathalysers by Guinness Nigeria last year to the safety corps had helped them carry out extensive test on drivers along various motor parks and major corridors within the State through random breathalysing of motorists and sobriety checkpoint centres.
“As we officially flag off this year’s ember months road safety responsible drinking campaign heralding the start of various activities and interventions towards reducing Road Traffic Crashes to the minimum, I charge each and every one of us to re-direct our mind set toward good road use by obeying all rules and regulations as it affects our daily lives. It is our collective responsibility to eradicate or reduce the ever increasing volume of road crashes on our roads,” he warned.