Lagos unveiled a statue in honour of Nigeria’s music legend and Afrobeat pioneer Fela Anikulapo Kuti on what would have been his 79th birthday. The liberation statue made of fibre glass was created by artist Abolore Sobayo, who used the material to design a golden headless and hand-less effigy of the legend with its arms raised to the sky.

The statue was unveiled by State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode at the popular Allen Roundabout in Ikeja as he eulogized the virtues of the late Afrobeat legend and freedom fighter, describing him as an enigmatic artiste who used the platform of his art to agitate for social and human rights.

The statue is part of the activities that marked the 20th anniversary of Fela’s demise. “This artwork was created as a form of respect and remembrance to this legend; what he stood for and fought for with his music; his mythology; struggle for freedom; fight for human dignity; social consciousness; courage and Pan-Africanism,” the governor said.

“Today we celebrate a man who voluntarily turned his back on a life of comfort and privilege, and took up his saxophone as a weapon to fight for the liberation of our people from neo-colonialism and bad governance,”Ambode added.

Read: Speaking truth to power, Fela Kuti’s enduring legacy: A lesson in governance

Fela’s daughter Yeni Kuti expressed gratitude to the governor and the artist for respecting the wishes of her father who hated statues by designing a headless and hand-less effigy and that overall it was a good representation of their late patriarch .

“The artist has said it is a spirit and when Fela was alive, he hated statues and so I think this effigy is a good representation of what Fela would have wanted because he did not like statues and that is why at the Museum you will notice that there is no statue of Fela,” she said.

Read: A musical celebration of Fela Kuti the Nigerian multi-instrumentalist and prolific political maverick

The event was attended by notable members of Fela’s family including Yemi Ransome-Kuti (Head of family), Seun Kuti, Kunle Kuti, Yeni Kuti, Motunrayo Kuti, Dotun Olukoye Ransome-Kuti, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana; veteran Nollywood actor, Pa Olu Jacobs and his wife, Joke Silva; Fela’s first manager, Chief Benson Idonije, among others.

The ceremony ended at the New Afrika Shrine where the popular annual Felabration festival concluded.