…As Labour demands posthumous national award for him
By Victor Ahiuma-Young & Monsuru Olowoopejo
GOVERNOR Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, yesterday, 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.
Ambode noted that Fela used his music to challenge government and people to explore development through social and economic activities that are rooted in African values.
This came as organised labour called on President Muhammed Buhari to give a posthumous national award to Fela for his patriotism and pan-Africanism as well as his anti-corruption and campaign for good governance through music.
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.
“This Liberation statue is not an image of Fela but a symbol of Fela’s philosophy. This artwork was created as a form of respect and remembrance to this 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,” the Governor said.
Responding on behalf of the family, Fela’s daughter and social commentator, Yeni Kuti, commended Governor Ambode and the artist for coming up with such a monument to recognise and honour their father in a big way, saying it was a good representation of their late patriarch.
Labour demands posthumous national award for Fela
Meanwhile, organised labour, has called on President Muhammedu Buhari to give a posthumous national award to Fela for his patriotism and pan-Africanism as well as his anti-corruption and campaign for good governance through music.
Comrade Issa Aremu, a member of National Executive Council, NEC, of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, stated this at the statue unveiling ceremony.
The event was attended by notable members of late Fela’s family including Yemi Ransome-Kuti (Head of family), Seun Kuti, Kunle Kuti, Yeni Kuti, Motunrayo Kuti, Dotun Olukoye Ransome-Kuti, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana; veteran Nollywood actor, Pa Olu Jacobs and his wife, Joke Silva; Fela’s first manager, Chief Benson Idonije, among others.