Coca-Cola, Special Olympics cry for equal opportunity for all Nigerians

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From left: Community Affairs Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Emeka Mba; Chairperson, Special Olympics Africa Region, Misan Eresanara; Board Member, Special Olympics Nigeria, Engr. Charles Yele Akindayomi; Managing Director, Coca- Cola Nigeria Limited, Adeola Adetunji; Board Chairman, Victor Osibodu; Director, Public Affairs & Communication, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Clem Ugorji; Country Director, Special Olympics Nigeria, Naomi Saliu-Lawal; Board Member, Fumito Agusto with Nigeria's Unified Soccer Team during the Welcome Reception held for the 2015 Special Olympics Nigeria Team which took place at Vigeo Holdings, Ikoyi, Lagos recently.
From left: Community Affairs Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Emeka Mba; Chairperson, Special Olympics Africa Region, Misan Eresanara; Board Member, Special Olympics Nigeria, Engr. Charles Yele Akindayomi; Managing Director, Coca- Cola Nigeria Limited, Adeola Adetunji; Board Chairman, Victor Osibodu; Director, Public Affairs & Communication, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Clem Ugorji; Country Director, Special Olympics Nigeria, Naomi Saliu-Lawal; Board Member, Fumito Agusto with Nigeria's Unified Soccer Team during the Welcome Reception held for the 2015 Special Olympics Nigeria Team which took place at Vigeo Holdings, Ikoyi, Lagos recently.

Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited and Special Olympics Nigeria have restated their mutual commitment to work with all stakeholders to advance an inclusive society that promotes equal opportunities for every Nigerian, regardless of any form of disability, to reach for their dreams.

Both organizations stated this in Lagos recently during a welcome reception for the Nigerian Contingent to the Special Olympics 2015 World Summer Games, which held between Saturday, July 25 and Monday, August 3, 2015 in Los Angeles, United States of America.

Speaking at the event, the Managing Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Adeola Adetunji stated that Coca-Cola?s longstanding sponsorship of the Special Olympics at the global level and here in Nigeria is in line with the company?s mission to inspire optimism and make a difference in the communities.

According to Adetunji, as a founding partner of the Special Olympics since 1968, Coca-Cola is pleased that the movement continues to empower and inspire thousands of persons living with intellectual disabilities to believe in their abilities and to reach for their dreams.

He said, ?As we celebrate these gallant athletes, let us remember that, they are heroes today only because they had the opportunity provided by Special Olympics. Let us also remember that for each one of these heroes, there are more than a thousand others whose talents and potentials may never be realized and celebrated, just because they have no opportunity. But we, as individuals, as companies, as a society and as a country, must not allow this to be the case.?

Commending two of Coca-Cola?s employees, George Osadalor and Emmanuel Ekomabasi, who were volunteer members of the Special Olympics Nigeria Unified Soccer Team that won the football gold medal at the games, Adetunji said, ?Our excitement at this particular victory is enriched by the fact that, these two Coca-Cola Ambassadors were a great inspiration to the victorious soccer team.?

Chairman, Special Olympics Nigeria Board of Directors, Victor Gbolade Osibodu also expressed his gratitude to Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, stating that the company?s adoption of the Unified Soccer games since 2013 and the general support for the Special Olympics Nigeria since it was inaugurated in 2005 have helped to improve the athletes? performance.

On their part, parents and siblings of some of the special athletes shared stories of the transformational impact of the training and support provided by Special Olympics Nigeria in the lives of their intellectually disabilities family members.

Mrs Esther Jegede, mother of Samuel Jegede who won two medals at the games said, ?I am moved beyond words, I cannot thank enough all those who made this possible. Today I am a proud parent of a child who was said would amount to nothing. I am grateful to the Special Olympics Nigeria and Coca-Cola for turning my sorrow to joy.?

The 42 Nigerian contingents to the Special Olympics World Games participated in seven sporting activities, including Table Tennis, Athletics, Badminton, Aquatics, Basketball, Cycling, and Unified Soccer, grabbing a whopping 71 medals made up of 36 Gold, 26 Silver and 9 Bronze medals.

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