When Macron Visited Afrika Shrine
Nigeria News takes a look at the visit of the French President, Emmanuel Macron to Afrika Shrine
It’s been many years since I visited the New Afrika Shrine. As I walk into the favoured destination of visiting French President Macron this evening, I had to doff my hat for the duo of Femi and Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti for the excellent ambience.
For Lagos State, this is a divine endorsement of the vision of Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, the governor.
Luck comes to the prepared. An ad copy goes. In less than a month, the Angel of Luck visits Akinwunmi Ambode, the consolidator of Tinubu’s visionary project of a modern megacity.
First, the June 12 canonization of late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola that enlarged the canvass of Ambode’s quest to sculpturally register the enormity of the martyr’s sacrifice with a phenomenal landmark on the city’s landscape.
And now, Fela’s symbolic, visibly metaphoric sculpture, commissioned by Ambode to celebrate the culture icon at the Allen roundabout, magically pulls a stunt of international amazement.
Tuesday night, President Macron made his way into the Africa Shrine and visited the arts section decorating the corridor that leàds to the reception.
The French took interest in Afrobeat, Fela’s genre, because of its creativity and revolutionary message. As if reading my mind, my progressive mentor, Femi Falana whispers in my ear, “The French treated Fela like a king. Whenever he played in France, he was hosted at the Champs Elysées”.
Macron pursues this icon to his roots, visiting to pay homage at the African Shrine, the habitat of the Strange One. (Abami Eda) and partake of the rites, the libations of liberation.
Somewhere here, Fela, in his spiritual density, must be looking and laughing at this “oyibo” man called Macron and Akin Ambode, the governor.
That was how it went on Tuesday night. When asked to relive his experience during his six-month stay in Nigeria in 2004 at the French Embassy and how he usually crawled out in the night to the shrine, the French president said, “What happens in the shrine remains in the shrine”.
Macron enjoyed his time with Femi Kuti, the son of Fela who has also grown to become a legend. To him, Kuti’s kinds of music are highly embraced in France and Europe. The president said that Fela, Femi and Seun Kuti are more famous in Europe than Nigeria, their place of birth.
African Shrine is a centre of African culture cum good music and politics. And if Africa must succeed, Africans must wake up and help themselves, Macron noted.
He challenged Nigerian youths to involve in politics, saying that they have big roles to play in taking the country out of the economic woes.
Macron became French President at 39. He believes Nigerian youths can aspire to become leaders even at a young age. To him, the youths must be ready to challenge the status-quo and make the best out the present situation.
He would be the first president to have visited the African Shrine. As he put it, “I’m happy here. I’m not new to African Shrine. It is not only a centre for good music, it is also the centre for African culture and politics.”