By: ROTIMI ASHER
[dropcap]A[/dropcap] 31-year-old professional photographer, named Ugochukwu Onuiri, last Friday, clinched number one ticket to represent Nigeria at this year’s Ford Ranger Odyssey Contest holding in South Africa later in the year. Other winners, who will also be in South Africa, include Fawole Moyo and John Amadi.
The three competitors were declared winner at completion of the event’s annual selection contest held for the second time at Coscharis 4×4 Test Facility located off Lekki-Epe Expressway, Awoyaya, Lagos. The contest attracted a total of 12 registered participants from different parts of the country. And criteria for winning include intellectual capability as well as maneuverability of Ford Ranger.
In his address delivered at the occasion, Coscharis Motors’ Group managing Director, Mr. Josiah Samuel, said this year’s event was second to be held in Nigeria.
According to him, although Ford Ranger Odyssey Contest had been held in South Africa since 2012, for the first time, Nigeria was allotted a ticket last year, which was also contested for and won by Chinonso Okezuo, who could not travel to Namibia for the event’s Africa finale, due to Ebola crisis.
“Building on the huge success of the 2014 in-market Ranger Odyssey,”, Mr. Samuel explained, Nigeria was this year allotted four slots, one of which he said had been reserved for the last year’s winner .
Mr. Samuel, who said Odyssey was neither a race nor rally, described the event as an extremely tough and adventurous expedition.
“It, however, includes elements of competition, where participants could test their 4×4 driving and mechanical skills, endurance, courage, stamina, perseverance and resilience against the worst that nature could offer”, he explained further, adding “Odyssey is a brand that will appeal to the authentic, adventurous, outgoing, free-spirited, as well as the hard-working, the professional and the bold individual. The main emphasis of Odyssey will focus more toward testing human endurance and adaptability combined with the fierce ruggedness that comes with the Ford Ranger brand.”
Also speaking at the occasion, Mr. Abiona Babarinde, Coscharis Motors’ General Manager Marketing & Corporate Services, described the event as what Coscharis had been waiting for”.
“This annual event”, Babarinde asserted, “represents a positive change in the nation’s auto industry”.
Meanwhile the three winners will later in the year join last year’s winner to represent Nigeria at Boot camp in South Africa, from where only two will scale through to the Ranger Odyssey finale in Namibia.