Criticisms have continued to trail the statue of the late premier of old western region, Obafemi Awolowo, unveiled recently by the Lagos State government.
The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, had on Tuesday unveiled the statue, saying Mr. Awolowo’s works would remain the standard by which progressive governance in the country would be measured.
The statue, depicting the image of the late sage sitting on a chair, is situated on Awolowo Road by the Lagos Television junction in Ikeja, Lagos.
“The inauguration of this statue is in recognition of the good legacies that Awolowo is known for,” Mr. Ambode said on Tuesday.
“Papa (Awolowo) lived above his time. If you talk about public discourse right now, 30 years after, people are talking about true federalism and devolution of powers. These are things that he had provided answers to,” he added.
But Mr. Ambode’s noble intention notwithstanding, the concept behind the design of the statue has generated heated debates on social media, with most reactions characterised by hilarious comments.
A Facebook commentator, Itafa Olayemi, for instance, faulted the sitting position of the late sage in the image. He opined that the sitting posture ‘negates’ what the late politician stood for.
“There are so many things that do not add up in the sculpted image,” he wrote on Facebook.
“The first ‘abnormality’ is the sitting posture of the statue. Awo was known to stand up for the masses throughout his lifetime. So symbolically, the seated statue is negating this attribute.
“A statue of Awo without his trademark two-fingers victory sign is like having a picture of Ojukwu without his beards or that of Fela in three-piece suit.
“The greatest undoing of the sculptor (with due respect) is forcing that NYSC boots on the feet of the old man. Awo, was reputed for his sense of fashion even in his modesty. I never saw Papa with such laced shoes on his usual woolen fabrics. His choice was the Bally stilettos which he seemed to have in many colours.”
Aminat Odupitan, another Facebook user, said, “That is Papa’s head and Agbada but that leg with the shoes is for another, the sculptor should provide us with the photograph that he used…”
For OluFemi ErinFolami, the image was poorly carved and embarrassing.
He wrote: “Poorly carved! Embarrassing make-up! There one million and one of Late sage’s (pictures) all over. Why not ask question?” he wrote.
Another commentator, Kyke Davies, said he was so angry when he saw the statue. “The job was poorly done,” he added.
For Joel Fagbohun, Mr. Ambode should pay for the statue from his pocket and, “keep it in his garden if he has no regards for the memory of the great man.”
He wrote: “If he does then he should admit their ignorance of what a good art work is and promptly commission another,” he added.
Mr. Awolowo was the first Premier of the Western Region of Nigeria. He died on May 9, 1987, at the age of 78.
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