Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode said on Saturday evening that Lagos is gradually emerging as the true capital of arts and entertainment in Africa, just as his administration is working hard to equally transform the State to the tourism hub of the Continent.
The Governor who spoke at the Lagos International Jazz Concert held at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja to commemorate the 2016 International Jazz Day which attracted dignitaries as well as local and international jazz artistes, said the event was part of efforts to join the rest of the world, particularly the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to celebrate the day.
He said a similar evening of jazz was hosted by President Barak Obama at the White House on Friday at Washington DC was this year’s jazz capital of the world, adding that the concert was therefore his administration’s effort to show that Lagos is in tune with the world.
He said April 30 has since 2011 been designated as the International Jazz Day and that Lagos being the Centre of Excellence was using the platform to promote arts and entertainment.
He said, “This musical show is a continuation of our promise to Lagosians that we will use tourism, hospitality, entertainment and the arts as well as sports to create jobs and opportunities for our people and to position Lagos State as a destination with rich entertainment content.
“We also want to use today’s event to identify with every musician here today, from far and near and to use their God-given talents and creativity to announce to the world that Lagos is the true capital of arts and entertainment in Africa and that Lagos is in tune with the rest of the world.”
The Governor said the Light Up Lagos Project and huge investment in its security machinery which has brought down crime rate by 65 per cent is part of efforts by his administration to create a 24-hour economy and the template of a city that does not sleep and with government that does not slumber either.
He said the Lagos Jazz Concert took its cue from the success of One Lagos Fiesta, held on the eve of New Year’s Day, noting that there were at least four different jazz concerts across Lagos on Friday evening with artistes from all over the world, including several Grammy award-winners who performed.
“I’m happy to inform you that all of them are here tonight, united through music in the centre of excellence which best represents the concept of unity in diversity and borderless brotherhood. It is perhaps the first time that we’d be witnessing this type of bonding and creative energy on a single stage in Nigeria. I believe this show of brotherliness and synergy is in sync with the values being promoted by UNESCO through the International Jazz Day,” he said.
Governor Ambode expressed optimism that next year’s concert which will herald the Lagos @ 50 celebrations, coming up May 27, 2017, would have successfully placed the State as a destination of choice and one deserving of the Jazz Capital City appellation.
Among dignitaries who graced the concert include former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu I, Chief Olusegun Osoba, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Senator Ganiyu Solomon, Chief Femi Adeniyi Williams, Rtd Justice of Supreme Court, George Oguntade, among others.
Artistes who lit the stage with scintillating jazz performances included former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, award winning Afrobeat musician, Lagbaja, veteran jazz diva, Yinka Davies, Jimi Solanke, Dare Art Alade, two time Grammy award winner, Lekan Babalola, Grammy award winner, Kirk Whalum and other local and foreign jazz artistes.