By Olanrewaju Akojede
Arsenal FC of England Legend, Thierry Henry, on Monday at the Guinness/Federal Roads Safetry Corps (FRSC) Ember Month campaign advised motorists to stay alive by not engaging in drink and drive attitude.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the former Gunners goal poacher and the club’s all-time leading scorer with 228 goals was the special guest of honour at the “Ember Months Campaign’’.
While playing with Arsenal, “Igwe as he was fondly called by his Nigerian fans won two league titles (2002 and 2004) and three FA Cups.
On individual awards he was crowned Professional Football Association (PFA) Player of the Year twice.
He also captained Arsenal for two seasons, including the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final. He later joined Barcelona and thereafter retired from professional football at New York Red Bulls.
Henry is in Nigeria as part of the Guinness Promotional Tour with part of the event the “Ember Months Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign with the Federal Road Safety Corps and Commercial Drivers Union.
The closing ceremony of the “Ember Months campaign was held at the Ojota New Garage which hosted all the stakeholders in the transportation sector in Nigeria.
However, to the surprise of many at the Ojota Park, Henry made a sudden appearance which resulted in wild jubilation with many trying to catch a glimpse of the football icon.
Henry dressed in jeans and white tops, however, acknowledged cheers from the crowd before proceeding to his seat after which he gave a short speech.
Apparently, to demonstrate his undying love for his boyhood club, Henry asked at the park for the Arsenal fans to give a shout out to the club which many responded loudly.
“Arsenal fans in the house let me hear your shout he asked. I want to see Arsenal win the league again,’’ he said.
Henry’s Nigerian adopted name “Igwe’’, was however shouted intermittently during his speech which made him to pause severally to acknowledge the cheers from the crowd.
Henry said he was happy to be in Nigeria adding that he has had the real experience of what he had been told about the country.
“From what I have heard about the country, I am impressed with the support for football. I am very happy to be in Nigeria.
“I have had the opportunity to play with Nigerian legends such as Nwankwo Kanu and Victor Ikpeba; they all told me that Nigeria is a beautiful country.
“They also told me that the people here love football and I did witness that you guys really love football, I have seen that.
“It is from the bottom of my heart that I am saying this, and remember to be safe, drive safe and don’t abuse alcohol,’’ he advised.
The Managing Director, Guinness Nig. Plc. Mr Peter Ndegwa, said that the company would do everything possible to ensure that the roads were safe, adding that the company was against alcohol abuse.
“We want to improve on our partnerships, so, the campaign against drink-driving will not be only an ember month campaign again; it will be an all year round campaign.
“We know the importance of responsible drinking, hence, we want to guard against road crashes that may be linked to drink-driving,’’ he said.
NAN reports that other dignitaries at the event include, FRSC Boss, Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, FRSC Sector Commander, Lagos Operation, Mr Hyginus Omeje, Road Transport Union Leaders and other stakeholders.