The Co-Chairman of the Lagos at 50 Committee, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, on Tuesday gave credence to the appointment of Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, to Co-Chair the Committee, saying his clout of experience will come in handy to ensure a worthwhile celebration in the state.
Gbadamosi who spoke to journalists shortly after a meeting of the committee, said the controversy surrounding his (Soyinka) appointment was unnecessary, adding that Soyinka is not only an authority in the field of arts, but has become a celebrated symbol across the world.
His said: “The excitement about our chairman, I hoped it has died down. Nothing warranted it because Prof Soyinka is an elder particularly in the field of the arts. He has done marvelous things in the field giving the effect to why he is being celebrated in our society and there could not have been a more celebrating occurrence or anything attributed to him than his winning the Nobel Prize for literature.”
A group called Eko Foundation had raised an eyebrow concerning Soyinka’s appointment as co-chair of the Lagos At 50 Committee on the ground that he is not an indigene of Lagos.
But Gbadamosi said: “It does not matter what state in Nigeria that you would attach him to. In terms of performance and excellence, the fact that the Governor of Lagos State felt he merited being made the Chairman of Lagos at 50 Committee is a testimony to the great and the good of the Nigerian society,” he said.
He said it was a great honour to be paired with Soyinka as co-chair of the committee, saying he felt humbled and honoured to be associated with a celebrated literary giant.
On the celebration, Gbadamosi said Lagos deserved to roll out the drums to celebrate its 50 years of existence, saying that the celebration will not only be all encompassing but will accommodate ideas from far and wide.
“Lagos State, in its 50 years of existence has tried to be at the forefront of several events and there are several activities lined up to have a fantastic celebration. There is hardly anybody whether in the arts or music and so on that would have taken off without passing through the waters of Lagos.
“So playing host, irrespective of whether you originated from Lagos capital and entertainment city or not or you lived all your life or not in Lagos, we have this hope of welcoming the exposure you have enjoyed by making sure that Lagos particularly has been a jumping up board for those who have excelled not only in our country, but in our continent”
“We are quite pleased that Ambode has seized the fantastic opportunity for us to highlight what Lagos has been about and what it is going to be about in terms of potentials,” he said.
Gbadamosi also assured that the committee was working hard to come out with a world class celebration that would be to the pride of not just Lagosians and Nigerians, but to the people of the African continent in general.
He said that the celebrations would kick-start on May 27 with series of activities starting with children, especially as the day falls on Children’s Day.
“The programme has been put together in earnest. I may just leak that on May 27 in a matter of days, a particular programme that has to do with children will hit the headline. This is all about how you recognise 50 years of existence. Basically it is being kicked off on May 27 and it will last for a year,” Gbadamosi said.