The Lagos State government has reacted to criticism and diverse interpretations trailing the recently unveiled statue of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, saying it is a piece of artwork expressing the artist’s impression of the late sage and not a photograph.
The Special Adviser to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Adebimpe Akinsola, in a statement on Friday, said rather than concentrating more on the artistic depiction, people should consider the state government’s desire to inspire the unborn generations about his legacies.
She noted that immortalising heroes was a way of spurring present and future generation of Nigerians to effectively connect with the past with a view to committing them to the vision and ideals of the nation’s founding fathers.
“The reality is that Chief Awolowo was a colossus who cannot be stereotyped. Stereotyping such a highly intriguing personality only exposes the lack of depth of the totality of what the late sage represents,’’ she said.
She noted that Awolowo had become an institution, whose legacies should not be allowed to die, thus, it should be daily celebrated to serve as inspiration to the unborn generation. She said the current administration had a policy to immortalise and accord reference to personalities, heroes and heroines who had contributed to the development of the state and the country in general.
The statement noted that the family of the late sage had applauded the statue and already commended the state government for the honour done to the family.
The statement quoted Mr. Segun Awolowo, a grandson of the late sage, as saying, “I love the statue and I think Hamza (the sculptor) did justice to his memory.
“As for the large boot, I believe the symbolism is that his shoes are still too big to fill after all this while,’’ he said.
Also, the Director, African Study Centre, Rhodes and Professor of Race Relations, African Studies Centre, Oxford University, Wale Adebanwi, said, “As an Awo scholar, particularly one who has written about the politics of Awo statues, I find the statue unveiled by the governor and his statement during the unveiling very significant.”
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