The Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization has decided to crown former President Olusegun Obasanjo as the Ruby King of Festac and the Patron of African Culture, due to his contributions to the successful celebration of Festac 77 in 1977.
The former President will be crowned by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja ll in May, in Abuja.
The Director-General, CBAAC, Dr Ferdinand Anikwe, said on Tuesday in Lagos that it was part of activities to commemorate four decades after the event was hosted by Nigeria.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was Nigeria’s military head of state when the country hosted the festival in 1977.
His crowning would form parts of the activities to celebrate Festac 77@40 that would start on April 1.
“Obasanjo appears as the greatest, in terms of the promotion of African culture in the whole of Africa and the black world, by the singular effort he demonstrated by organising and hosting Festac 77.”
“There has not been any other event that can be compared with it; so, any form of positive accolade will not be too much for him.”
“In a rare understanding of what the event would contribute toward showcasing Black and African cultural heritage then, Obasanjo quickly made wise consultations, recognised the international festival committee and other communities.”
“He put square pegs in square holes, made funds available and eventually a festival that could be described as the largest assemblage of Black and African people worldwide was held from Jan.15, 1977 to Feb.12, 1977. The event was not only momentarily successful; it could also be described as a watershed in the Pan- Africans’ struggle. It is to Obasanjo’s eternal credit that Festac 77 covered the entire gamut of Black and African cultural heritage.’’
Anikwe urged other Africans to emulate Obasanjo by doing things worthy of emulation, celebration, symbolism, recognisable and crowning, to earn the admiration of Africans.
Activities to mark Festac 77@ 40 would hold in over 10 states including the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) where the Mascot would be unveiled on April 1.