Star actress, Funke Akindele rode 10 kilometers on bicycle to commemorate the World Polio Day last Saturday. Funke, who has joined the likes of Bill Gates, Desmond Tutu, Isabella Fontana, Donnie Yen, Jackie Chan and others in creating awareness for polio was appointed by the Rotary International to help in eradicating and creating awareness on the deadly polio responsible for scores of child mortality cases.
The first in a series of events to sensitive the general public, the Rotary International in Nigeria hosted the nation’s first-ever Bike-A-Thon ride on Saturday, October 19. The world Polio day is October 24.
The event, a cycling ride in conjunction with Cycology, a foremost cycling club in Lagos for this year’s campaign aims to draw attention of policy makers and everyone to the scourge of Polio took off at the Catholic Church of Divine Mercy, Admiralty Way, Lekki, Lagos. The campaign will also strive to raise funds to contribute to the $500million required for the eradication of polio in Nigeria, especially in the North.
Spotting her professional cycling jersey on her tights, Funke was set to mount her bike as she adjustedthe seat and the gears. Comfortably, she slipped her legs into the pedals, balanced to create the moment, pedaled forward and slowly glided off the road, standing up and gradually she gathered her speed alongside other riders amidst cheers. She waded through the windy Admiralty Way and burst into the Lekki concession road. She went slower to climb the new suspended bridge, down to Osbourne Road in Ikoyi, Lagos. Coming back, she spanned her gears slowly and with the wind at her back, she descended the bridge steadily and rode to the take- off point where she was applauded, hugged and
The confidence and skill she exhibited on the bike is not unconnected with her romance with bicycle as a five- year- old girl. The last time she rode on a bicycle was four years ago, though she was on the bike in a scene from her forthcoming movie, “Waso,” shot last year. Speaking after her exhaustive ride, she said: “It’s a worthy cause. I’m happy that I’m involved in a global cause like this. No doubt, Polio has become a dreaded disease, a scourge that has maimed and cut many useful lives short. I’m happy it is getting global attention of frontline celebrities and leaders at a point that we are ‘THIS CLOSE’ to the eradication and it tells all that we must all be involved. This is not for money, it is a noble cause and we must put everything we have to get rid of it, especially here in Nigeria.”
The event recorded a variety of activities including cycling stunts, colourful displays and other physical demonstrations by Rotary Club members, members of Cycology and registered participants. Nigeria remains one of the three most polio-endemic countries globally, alongside Afghanistan and Pakistan.
According to Dr. Tunji Funsho, Chairman, Nigeria National Polio Plus Committee, “Rotary has committed itself to join forces with other partners to champion the efforts to eradicate polio in Nigeria.