By Folasade Adeniran
Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr Steve Ayorinde, on Tuesday hailed French President, Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s Afrika Shrine and Lagos State.
Ayorinde in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), shortly before the arrival of Macron to the Afrika Shrine, Ikeja, expressed optimism that his visit would boost culture and tourism in the state and the country in general.
A foremost actor, Kunle Afolayan, also applauded Macron for the visit. Afolayan , as a member of the Lagos State Arts Council, was given the task to introduce members of Nollywood to the visiting French leader.
Arts enthusiast, Nike Okundaye and musician, Jesse King, said that the visit showed the love of President Macron for culture as well as the importance of the legacy left behind by late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti through his music.
NAN reports that Macron is in Nigeria on an official visit.
In Lagos, aside visiting the Afrika Shrine, the French President and Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode are to attend the African Business forum and opening of French Cultural Centre on Wednesday.
“The whole state is agog. This is not an ordinary thing because the President of one of the most important countries in the world, is not just coming on a state visit to Nigeria but he is also coming on a state visit to Lagos.
“He is sleeping in Lagos and also starting his visit to Lagos on a cultural note, not just to any place but to an iconic venue like the African Shrine.
“This is the validation for what Lagos stands for as the hub of arts and entertainment in Africa.
“This will also keep the legacy of Late Fela Anikulapo Kuti forever and I think the entire world will also take an interest that if the French President can come here, it means that it must be safe.
“For him to have chosen culture as one of the core essence of why he is here, it means that the state will benefit, the economy will grow in terms of the cultural product that we have come to offer the world,” Ayorinde said.
He said that Macron’s visit was also historic because he would also use the opportunity to announce a year- long African Cultural season to be hosted in Paris in 2020.
Ayorinde said that Lagos would be an integral partaker in the major outing come 2020.