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Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday unveiled the Liberation Statue in honour of late Afrobeat legend and freedom fighter, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, at Allen Roundabout in Ikeja, Lagos. The Liberation Statue is in memory of the late Afrobeat pioneer and human rights activist, Fela Anikulapo Kuti to mark his posthumous 79th birthday and 20th anniversary of his passage.
The statue has said by his excellency Governor Ambode “is not an image of Fela, but a symbol of Fela’s philosophy.” The statue was formally unveiled by the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday alongside Fela’s children namely; Oluwayeni, Oluseun and Kunle Anikulapo-Kuti among other family members.
Also at the unveiling of the Liberation statue are human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana; Senator Solomon Olamilekan-Adeola; APC South West Women Leader, Mrs. Kemi Nelson, former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Femi Pedro and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. James Faleke, among others.
After he unveiled the statue amid accolades, the governor paid a visit to the Kalakuta Museum at Gbemisola Street, Ikeja where Olufela Olufemi Anikulapo-Kuti, the eldest son of the late Afrobeat pioneer presented him souvenirs.
The Liberation Statue, which symbolically depicts the image of the late Afrobeat legend without head, was created by Abolore Sobayo, an artist with keen political consciousness and erected at the Allen roundabout, Ikeja standing in an opposite direction to the statue of late Premier of old Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
In an emotion-laden speech, Ambode paid tribute to the late legend, specifically pointing the attention of the guests to the manner Fela made the world sit up and take notice of the energy of African art and music.
Even though he died two decades ago, Ambode said it had become imperative “to remember and honour Fela who challenged us as individuals and as a people to free our minds of all inhibitions and actualise our true potential. Fela, 20 years after his death, is still alive as a movement of social consciousness and justice against oppression in our society.”
He noted that Fela was an enigmatic artiste, who used the platform of his art “to agitate for social and human rights by challenging the government and people to explore development through social and economic activities that are rooted in African values.”
He therefore, explained that the government and people of Lagos State chose to celebrate the late legend with the unveiling of the Liberation Statue on October 15 to mark his 79th birthday.
He noted that it “has been 20 years since he passed on, but the memories he left us will remain evergreen. This monument should be the first of many to celebrate the icon who gave us Afro beat. “Today, he is still alive in his music and in the music of Femi, Seun and other artistes who have followed his style of music. This monument we have unveiled today should be the first of many to celebrate the icon who gave us afro beat,” the governor explained.
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