French President, Emmanuel Macron, on Tuesday met with his Nigerian counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja before taking off his jacket and tie in Lagos to celebrate African culture at Afrika Shrine – the music venue of the Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti.
He told reporters travelling with him: “I like Nigeria a lot. It’s an appealing country. I’ve got a lot of memories… that haven’t left me.”
In Lagos, at an event tagged ‘Celebration of African Culture’ which recorded a large convergence of entertainers, culture enthusiasts, and politicians, Macron, accompanied by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, said he chose to visit the Afrika Shrine because he has good memories of the place from 2004 when he worked in the state.
He described the Shrine as “a cultural hub” that is “very important for me first on a personal level”.
The French President said politics is important and urged the Nigerian youth to get involved. He said African youth have a huge role to play in the future of the continent.
“I am very happy to be here. Let me remind you that this place — shrine is a music place as well as politics which is needed to change the society. So, I will say to the youths, politics is important, be involved,” he said.
Macron advised the young generation of Africans to “not think their future is outside Africa, saying “they have to build Africa”.
He went on to say, “What we want to launch this evening is the African Cultural Season 2020. It will be for Africans by Africans. You will have artists, painters, fashion designers.
“It will be organised by Africans to show France and Europe what is here and it will be financed by African leaders.”
The French president said Africa needs a new narrative and that “we need to have African people speaking about Africa”.
According to him, “What we need is young people to make this narrative. Africa needs a new generation of artists, journalists, civil society, to speak about Africa everywhere.
“I have a huge debt to Femi, Fela, Seun and the Kuti family. The family provides, not just this place, but for its time, its commitment, and especially the different battles of Fela, a very strong message, a message that it is possible, even now to decide your own future. Never forget.”
Yemi Alade and Femi Kuti delivered energetic musical performances on the night while a short skit directed by Kunle Afolayan featured several Nollywood stars including Jide Kosoko, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Joke Silva, Dakore Akande, Rita Dominic, Ramsey Nouah, among others.