The paramount ruler of the Yoruba kingdom, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Babatunde Enitan Ogunwusi, has praised the management of Santos FC of Brazil for what they did 53 years ago, during the civil war in Nigeria when they played a ceasefire match at the Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin that stopped the ongoing civil war for a period of 48 hours.
Oba Ogunwusi, who is the 51st Ooni of Ife and paramount Yoruba Monarch expressed his appreciation while receiving a 14-man delegation of Santos FC in his Palace in Ile-Ife, Osun State yesterday, saying what Santos FC did in 1969 was great.
“Santos FC is a great club”, “You practically used football to hold an ongoing war in Nigeria in 1969. That is something that is very significant”.
“You have shown that with football we can preach peace, and your club did not just preach that, but you played it and took the risk of coming down to Nigeria to play football so that an ongoing war can be halted”.
On the issue of racism, Oba Ogunwusi told the Brazilian delegates and all present in his Palace that we are all one, and colour should at no point be a ground for discrimination.
“We are all one, one blood flows in our body, whether black or white, the Almighty one has made us one and it is good that you have gathered courage to come visit us here in Nigeria and see for yourselves”.
The Paramount Yoruba ruler, who was full of life, also composed a song titled ‘Santos Parou A Guerra’ meaning “Santos stopped the war”, which he sang with life and was joined by everyone present at his Palace.
He also thanked them for the gift of jersey number 10 which was given to him and told them that in no time he would visit them in Brazil soon.
Oba Ogunwusi sent his regards to football legend Pele, telling them to send his goodwill message to him when they returned to Brazil.
“Extend my greetings to Pele also. He played in that match in 1969, but I know that age is not on his side now, at 82, to travel down to Nigeria”. “Otherwise he would have joined you on this second visit to Nigeria when there was no war”.
In appreciation, the Oba also presented a significant gift to Santos FC. The gift, which came in a large plaque form, was made of the highest quality of precious ornaments and stones which the Ile-Ife Kingdom could boast of.
Santos FC of Brazil delegates who had earlier toured the Palace’s museum and were privileged to have seen those precious stones and ornaments would be glad to take such a gift back to Brazil.