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French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday night made the audience at Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s Afrika Shrine laugh when he joked that ‘What happens in the shrine remains in the shrine’.
He was asked to relive some of his nostalgia of having been a patron of the Shrine when he worked in Nigeria at the French Embassy in 2004.
Some of the memories of his six months stay in Lagos he relived when he met President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, including remembering attending a concert by Femi Kuti, Fela’s first son,
But he was not ready to go down memory lane on Tuesday night and instead threw the humorous line at the audience.
Macron challenged Nigerian youths to get involved in politics to change the narrative of the nation.
Macron, while describing politics as important, said only Nigerians could change their image before the comity of nations.
The French President gave the challenge at the event tagged “Celebrate African Culture.”
He noted that the future of Africa and the task of making it great rested with Africans, saying that the youths have a crucial role to play.
“Africa needs a new generation of Africans to share the new narrative about Africa all over the world,” he said.
According to him, politics is important because it is a tool to change the society.
Macron described the Afrika Shrine as an iconic place of strength, music, culture and the late Fela as a politician who wanted a change for the society.
“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 also announced the launch of the 2020 African cultures season in France.
He said the event would help create a unique face for African culture in Europe.
Earlier, Gov. Ambode said Macron’s visit was expected to signal the dawn of a new collaboration between France and Lagos State in the quest to make the state the culture and entertainment capital of Africa.
Ambode said the event was also about celebrating African culture which was a positive step for France as it sought to rebuild its relationship with Africa.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event had in attendance personalities including, Dr Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra, Chief Olusegun Osoba, former governor of Ogun, Prof. Wole Soyinka,, Sen. Ben Bruce among others.
NAN reports that the event presented an opportunity for Macron and Ambode to interact with musicians, artists, fashion designers, and filmmakers.