Nostalgic Macron visits Fela Kuti's Lagos jazz temple

France's president visits Nigerian music legend's nightclub | Top News

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Lagos on Tuesday evening to the Shrine, Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti's music venue, to celebrate Nigerian and African culture.

On Wednesday, the president is set to inaugurate the new Alliance Francaise, a cultural centre, and is scheduled to meet young Nigerian entrepreneurs.

But Macron was quick to highlight that "the heart of this visit is to broaden the partnership between France and Nigeria on cultural, economic and sports subjects", which according to him give "perspectives and opportunities to youth" so that they do not join the jihadist movements.

The French President, who was trained as a senior civil servant at the French Embassy in Lagos in 2004, seven years after Fela died, described the Shrine as a cultural and iconic hub. As a result, Macron said "the mobilisation of African states is fundamental".

Macron's visit will mark a milestone, as he becomes the first President to ever visit the shrine.

Macron who recalled his days in Nigeria about 15 years ago, noted that it was an emotional come-back, especially as he never imagined he would return to Abuja one day as President of France. Kuti was arrested countless times, and he spent time in prison the last time Buhari was in power, as a military ruler who took over in a 1983 coup.

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At a news conference, Macron called the venue "a cultural hub and an iconic hub" and said his visit allows him "to say with a lot of humility that I recognize the importance of this culture, I recognize the place of this culture".

"So, I will say to the youths, politics is important, be involved", he said.

Macron's visit also highlighted economic issues, with a $475 million agreement signed for France to fund projects in three Nigerian states including Lagos, the commercial capital. "He would have been happy to know that the president of France paid his respects".

Kuti wrote on Instagram that Macron "is loved, loves the New Africa Shrine".

There were also Art Exhibition, Fashion Show, display of Nollywood scenes, presentation of a painting of Fela to Macron by Ambode as well as pencil frame artwork of Macron done by 11-old old Kareem Olamilekan drawn within two hours.

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