Brazil president, Ooni of Ife discuss Africa-Brazil relations
…… Ooni inaugrates Isese Day, Inducts Lula Da Silva as Oduduwa descendant
As part of his unending quest to harness and promote Yoruba culture beyond the shores of Africa through religion, cultural values and Heritage tourism exchange, Arole Oduduwa, Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Ooni Adeyeye Babatunde Enitan Ogunwusi, is currently on a five-day working visit to Brazil in continuation of his global tour for African People’s Peace and Progress Agenda.
The Ooni and Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, discussed how Africa can benefit from Brazil’s Human and capital resources and ways to strengthen cultural and trade ties.
He also advocated for direct link and access to Brazil from Nigeria, which will promote trade and commerce and also cultural exchange between the two countries.
He has also unveiled some initiatives for the reunification of the over 100 million Afro-Brazilians via his program tagged ‘Back To Home’, visiting states of Sao Paulo, Rio De Janeiro, Salvador Bahia and Brasilia.
On the Invitation of the President and the Brazilian National Assembly Parliament; the two arms of government teamed up to welcome Ooni and his royal entourage, reiterated their continuous commitment, recognition and support for Yoruba culture and National Orisa Day backed by the Brazilian constitutional law signed by the President which gives freedom of religion to Brazilian and Terreiro People and the open practice of Isese by Brazilians.
The Parliament’s Deputy Speaker, Hon. Deputado Vicentinho Requerente, who led other lawmakers to receive the foremost African monarch in the parliament, described the Ooni as a caring father whom the Afro-Brazilian community holds in very high esteem. The lawmaker who expressed his heartfelt joy in Portuguese, said, “Your presence here today has added to the dignity of people of
African origin in Brazil and this day will remain a history-making day for life.”
During his speech, Ooni of Ife, called for the unity of African descendants across the world, urging the legislative arm of the Brazilian government to support President Lula with necessary pro-Afro-Brazilian legislation.
“We cannot afford to be divided again. We are one, irrespective of colour and race. President Lula is our pride, he remains determined to do well for Africa, and you must support him with legislation helpful to his mission for Africa. That’s all I beg of you if truly we are one big family. What we need now is to unite for the growth of all persons regardless of religious and cultural differences.
“Look at the good-looking Afro-Brazilians in this chamber who have stormed here to honour me. They all look like my first cousins back home in Nigeria and in other African countries, we are one people and the earlier we recognise the strength in our unity the better for us all.
“I am sitting on an ancient throne of over hundreds of centuries, a sacred throne of the Kingdom where most of you all migrated from. Beyond here in Brazil, I am delighted to inform you that you all have a home in my Kingdom and there are free lands for you to come and build your homes across Africa.
“I vow never to forget you, you are a major part of us in my Kingdom of Ile-Ife and we hope to receive you home soon as possible, in fact, I have deliberately mapped out free land for you all to come and live, invest and reside.”
He further highlighted the need for a robust relationship between Nigeria and Brazil to promote diplomatic relations which will include the exchange of commodities and ideas; bringing foreign direct investment into play.
“I am elated that this is becoming a reality, a day where National Orisa Day will be publicly recognised by the Brazilian parliament and Yoruba heritage will also gain global recognition. It shows the commitment of the President in granting freedom of religious association and also the preservation of cultural heritage that existed centuries ago. Oduduwa is notable for peace, this step will quench the tussle against racial discrimination, it will also unite the whole of Brazil through religious integration and enhance racial equality and equity,” he said.
After the parliamentary session, the Arole Oduduwa was hosted at the Nigeria House in Brazil by the Nigerian Ambassador to the country, Amb. Ahmad Muhammed Makarfi who led over 25 African Diplomats to receive the Spiritual Leader of the Yoruba people and the Oduduwa race worldwide.
At the private meeting held in Brasilia, Brazil’s Federal Capital Territory, Ooni decorated President Lula and His wife Rosangela Lula Da Silva as ‘Omo Oduduwa’.
In his response, Lula da Silva thanked Ooni for his love for him and his wife who he referred to as “Ooni’s daughter”. He lauded the king for his mission towards reunification of not just the Afro-Brazilians but also Africans worldwide which he believes promotes global peace.
President Lula told Ooni Ogunwusi that the efforts of the 100 million Afro-Brazilians towards nation-building in Brazil cannot be over-emphasised, adding that his government is committed to strengthening the ties between Brazil and Africa which is the home continent of his people.
“My wife is here, She calls you ‘My father’ Your love for us and for our country is indeed well appreciated and I promise you of my continued love for Africa. I have visited 44 countries in Africa and opened 19 embassies. Brazil of my administration has a historic pact with Africa. My wife and I are extremely fulfilled as your presence here today assures that this ISESE DAY has come to stay,” President Lula added.