By Eric Elezuo Photos: Segun Lawal and Funmilayo Adeyemi
The grand finale of the yearly Felabration, 2017 edition with the theme, The Prophesy, rounded off early Monday morning at the African Shrine, home of the late Afro beat king, Fela Anikulapko Kuti, in whose honour the carnival was held.
The carnival-like event which kicked off late Sunday night entertained performances from Nigerian and international artistes, setting fire on both the stage and the dance floor.
Kick starting the ceremonies marking the end of the one week long events was a special music concert for the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, hosted by the initiator of the Felabration series and son of the man known as the ebami edda, Femi Kuti.
Ambode, who attended the concert with a retinue of entourage, dressed in white t-shirts, could not hide his joy at such magnanimous remembrance, and went a step further by dancing to the rhythm of one of Fela’s favourite songs, Water no get enemy.
“The celebration of Fela today is like a reactivation of the values of the Yoruba people, showing that we have an identity, and we must not allow those values to die. And the state government is ready to rekindle that value, and that is the message. From this moment onward, we will spend more time on art, on culture, and our heritage. That is what we are for, that is what we are doing,” Governor Ambode said.
The Governor’s departure set the stage for high octane performances by both established and upcoming artistes with Wycee taking the first shot after rookies took their time to attempt to please the capacity filled hall and environs.
Soyinka Makes a Surprise Appearance at Felabration
One of the highpoints of the 2017 Felabration was the surprise appearance of the Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka. Soyinka’s introduction and subsequent appearance took everyone by storm as he was the last person most people expected at the event. Clad in his regular flying shirt inside a sleeveless jacket, Soyinka identified with the Fela spirit and thanked everyone who participated in the organization of the celebration as well as those that turned up. His speech was brief and was heralded by applause from the crowd of listeners.
Legend Extra Stout Gives Out Gifts in a Raffle Draw
Before the performances kicked off proper, one of the major sponsors of the event, Legend Extra Stout, manufactured by the Nigerian Breweries organized a raffle draw. Participants only have to buy two bottles of stout, get one free and also get a raffle ticket.
Anchored by ace comedian, De Don, the draws gave out two flat screen televisions, three refrigerators and two generating sets to lucky winners.
Wycee, who reportedly arrived the event venue from London, did not show any sign of jetlag as he took the crowd from one cloud to another, erupting a frenzy that could only be experienced by visitors to the shrine.
From then onwards, it was classy, sleazy and high profile performances from Sugar Boy, Burna Boy, Orisha Femi, and Femi Kuti.
A multi-talented group from Nairobi, Kenya, was also on hand to thrill the crowd, showing their mastery of most Nigerian songs, especially songs by TuFace Idibia, whom they paid special tribute to.
These A-list performers held the heralding crowd spellbound as they scream and danced amidst tight positions to the reverberating sounds from their idols.
However, the show stopper of the evening, Wizkid stole the show. The announcement of wizkid’s entry shook the roof and walls of the shrine to its very foundation, his eventual appearance literally crashed the roof, and his first words set fire to the environment. The shouts of wizkid, wizkid, from every corner, especially from the female folks, rent the air, came louder than the sounds coming from the great loud speakers that surround the shrine.
Dressed in what could pass for a track suit with a green beret, the one they call Star Boy, did not disappoint as he dished out hits after hits to the very enjoyment of the over 100, 000 people that filled both the hall and adjoining streets.
Wizkid’s departure was spontaneous, prompting the crowd to erupt in a frenzy, calling for more, which haply came through Tekno, Adewale Ayuba and more.
The show which sped to the wee hours of Monday, and anchored by ace comedian Omobaba and veteran broadcaster, Olisa Adibua, lived up to its billing, and had prolific sponsors like Legend Extra Stout, 7Up, Best and a host of others.
Felabration is held yearly to celebrate and honour the king of Afro-beat, Fela Anikulakpo Kuti, a pan Africanist, who died in August 1997.