Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday eulogized the virtues of late Afrobeat legend and freedom fighter, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti describing him as an enigmatic artiste who used the platform of his art to agitate for social and human rights by challenging government and people to explore development through social and economic activities that are rooted in African values.
Speaking while unveiling the Liberation Statue in honour of Fela erected at Allen Roundabout in Ikeja as part of activities marking his 79th posthumous birthday and the 20th anniversary of his demise, Governor Ambode said aside from challenging people to free their minds of all inhibitions and actualise their true potentials, the late music icon also voluntarily turned his back on a life of comfort and privilege, and took up his saxophone as a weapon to fight for the liberation of the people from neo-colonialism and bad governance.
While insisting that the spirit of Fela was still alive as a movement of social consciousness and justice against oppression, the Governor said the late legend made the world sit up and take notice of the energy of African art and music, adding that he will forever be accorded his position in the global hall of fame of artistes. The phenomenon that the world knows as “Fela” was deeply rooted in the evolution of Lagos State. The story of music, art, entertainment and tourism in Lagos and Nigeria cannot be told without an eloquent mention of the “Abami eda”
The “Liberation” statue is not an image of Fela but a symbol of Fela’s philosophy. The artwork was created as a form of respect and remembrance to the legend; what he stood for and fought for with his music; his mythology; struggle for freedom; fight for human dignity; social consciousness; courage and Pan-Africanism.