Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
France President, Emmanuel Macron, has given reasons behind his decision to visit the African Shrine as part of his visit to Nigeria.
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.
He said the visit was a good opportunity to return the African Shrine, a place he described as ‘iconic place for African people and culture.’
He added that apart from a personal pleasure the African Shrine holds for him, he also recognised the importance of African culture.
Macron was responding to a question on why he chose to visit the African Shrine of all places at a joint press conference with President Muhammadu Buhari after their bilateral talks held at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, “First, because I wanted to find a good occasion to come back there. I know the place and I have some memories. I have to confess at a time that there was no president around. I hope I will not spoil the party.
“First, I think that is such an iconic place for a lot of African people and African culture. And I think very often when you speak of the African culture in Europe, those who are successful in Europe and in France, which is different most of the times are not dramatically very famous in Nigeria or in Africa. And there is a bias because you know people are absolutely not the same.
“I mean Fela, Femi, Seun Kuti are obviously very famous in France and Europe. I mean they are big successes but the Shrine is a cultural hub, an iconic hub and it is very important for me first on a personal level, and that is why I want to say with a lot of humility that I recognise the importance of this place. I recognise the place of culture in this current environment.”