The Lagos At 50 commemorations are entering their peak and climax stages. Innovative projects and activities, such as the Educate Lagos platform, My Lagos Story billboards and documentaries, as well as carnivals and movie screenings, have created a feel of a significant milestone celebration, and all these have been well received.
But the monument at Ojodu Berger – a monstrously large right foot – recently unveiled by the Lagos State Government, has left quite a few persons befuddled.
Newly built Foot statue at Ojodu Berger as part of the urban regeneration to beautify & promote cultural heritage of Lagos State pic.twitter.com/fE1uOy3rbe
— The Lagos State Govt (@followlasg) May 21, 2017
According to the statement posted on facebook on the significance of the statue, the Youth are expected to take inspiration from it to ” put their best foot forward and to know that every journey to success starts with a step”
It is difficult to decide which of the negatives of this ‘art’ strikes as the most negative; that there are so many persons whose best foot is the left one, or that those who are physically challenged and so cannot literally put a foot forward.
The question is not about spending money erecting a monument – the Fela effigy, also recently unveiled, will not have many complainants (especially now that Beyonce is reintroducing him to us) – but why not ensure it is something tangibly historically and socially relevant?
A statue, for instance, of the four-year old Folashade Lawson, Adeniji Adele’s daughter, handing flowers to Queen Elizabeth II in 1956 would have made more sense, as a symbolic moment both for Lagos as a city, for our children as the future of the Mega City, and Nigeria as a whole. If it had to be a foot, then surely that of Sam Okwaraji should have been the design, teaching patriotism and motivation to serve the nation even till death. Rather than merely putting one foot forward, let future generations assume that Nigeria could be worth dying for.
It is all too similar to the ugly things put up by Governor Rochas Okorocha around Owerri. Nobody really knows what the Freedom Square represents or whether the fist at Akachi road is supposed to convince Imo people that they will soon start punching above their weight.
Lagos will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its creation on 27th May, 2017. Along with 11 other states, the former capital city of Nigeria was created as a state by General Yakubu Gowon, three days before the commencement of the Nigeria Civil War on 30th May, 1967. (No, we’ll not go into those details here)
Feature Image: Lagos State Govt.