A swell moment awaits the
French President, Emmanuel Macron, in Lagos, Nigeria, this week, after a brief
visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja. He is expected to touch down in
Abuja at about 2.30 pm on July 3, 2018, and move straight to the Presidential
villa. President Macron will depart to Lagos at 5pm. That evening, he will be
treated to Afrobeat music at the very popular Shrine in Ikeja, hosted by Trace
Tv. The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, will use the occasion to
promote Tourism in Lagos. Lagos is regarded as the New York of Africa.
specially created by the legendary Fela Anikulapo, originally known as Fela
Ransome-Kuti, a radical artiste who fought against injustice and executive
recklessness through his addictive brand of music. His sons, Femi and Seun have
been able to sustain the popularity of the genre and President Macron will
certain have fun at the African Shrine.
President Macron’s itinerary is
packed on July 4, 2018, as he starts the day opening the magnificent Alliance
Francais building at 9am. The
new-look Alliance Francaise Lagos facility is a beautiful sight to behold. The
Alliance Francaise which is located in Ikoyi, Lagos is the biggest and best
such facility that blends today’s innovative and classy design with the
traditions of the past, according to impeccable
upgraded Chateau-style Alliance Francaise means more Nigerians can learn about
French culture and language in Lagos, the commercial capital. This is a welcome
development which is bound to promote greater interaction between Nigeria and
France and expand business opportunities, cultural exchange and employment.
The Alliance Francaise Fondation is the
premier cultural organisation in the world, founded on 21 July 1883, it now has
800 local associations in about 133 countries.
It is supported by grants from the French
Government and the generosity of patrons, including its founding fathers who
are notable Frenchmen like the scientist, Louis Pasteur, the publisher, Armand
Colin and writers, Jules Verne and Ernest Renan.
The renovated building, which is a villa now
has new additions which have transformed it almost completely. There
are spectacular alterations done to the amphitheatre and the internal
auditorium to give it a touch of timeless elegance.
Fela Anikulapo Kuti
The Lagos accommodation has been improved,
increased and enhanced, and sure to provide guests with an unforgettable
experience. And there is superb space for the library and administrative
offices. Quite simply, the modernisation that has gone into the building is
simply breath-taking and only befitting of an organisation with the size and
stature of Alliance Francaise Foundation.
President Macron is expected to
address the Tony Elumelu young entrepreneurs event at Eko Hotels & Suites
at 11am. The event would be followed by a networking reception at the
invitation of the Chairman of Chagoury Group, Mr Ronald Chagoury.
Playing co-host to President Macron as he
visits Nigeria will be the French Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency Denys
Gauer. Ambassador Gauer is a seasoned International diplomat who has served in
various capacities both domestically and internationally on behalf of the
French Foreign Ministry.
He is an adept and able diplomat whose views
are well respected and cherished. He has done a lot for Franco-Nigerian
relations since arriving Nigeria as the French Ambassador which has led to
increased business and cultural relationships between French and Nigerian
citizens. Indeed, it is this sort of interaction that has facilitated the
spectacular facelift that Alliance Francaise Lagos now enjoys.
Since being elected, President Macron has
stamped his unique authority and style not just on French life, but also on the
European Union, international politics, business, anti-terrorism, climate
change, culture, religion and the general well-being of humanity. His stance on
various issues including nuclear proliferation, terrorism and the unity of
Europe has won him many admirers and increased the stature of France in the
comity of Nations.
President Macron’s visit is therefore coming
at a more opportune time. Nigeria is preparing for its own
democratic litmus test , and it is a homecoming of sorts because of his short
stint in Nigeria where he lived and made friends.
It is also symbolic that his visit
coincides with the beautiful renovation and refurbishment of the new Alliance
Francaise building in Lagos. This is because of President Macron’s avowed
belief that cultural interaction can only benefit the improvement of
progressive relations between countries.
The story of President Macron is bound
to inspire the youths of Africa. It is a fairy-tale. He was born on 21
December 1977 in the French village of Amiens. He had his primary education in
the village and went on to complete his final year of High School in
Paris. He obtained a degree in Philosophy from the University of Paris-Ouest
Nanterres La Defense. Afterwards he expressed the beginning of a literary bent
which was to impact positively on his political career by being an editorial
assistant to a French Philosopher writing his memoirs and also becoming a
member of the editorial board of the literary magazine ESPIRIT. Subsequently,
he then went on to obtain a Master’s of Public Affairs from the Paris
Institute of Political Studies, Sciences
Po. Thereafter, he trained and graduated from
the École Nationale d’Administration (ENA) in
2004 and during the course of that training worked at the French Embassy in
Upon his graduation from ENA, he worked as a
senior civil servant at the Inspectorate General of Finances. He resigned from the Civil Service in 2008
to become an investment banker at Rothschild
& Cie Banque.
President Macron was responsible for putting together several business deals at
Rothschilds. He continued his affiliation and dalliance with the Press by
becoming friends with a member of the supervisory board of Le Monde. Thereafter
he assisted with the recapitalisation of Le Monde and was promoted to Partner
level at the bank in 2010. Also in 2010, he was appointed managing director of
the Bank and put in charge of Nestle’s acquisition of a subsidiary of Pfizer.
He became an instant millionaire as a result of the huge success of this Nestle
transaction. The money and contacts he made as an investment banker and friend
of the press were to stand him in good stead during his successful 2017
His political career is the stuff of dreams
for aspiring young politicians. He joined the Socialist Party of France when he
was 24, but was an effective member only after 2006. In 2007, he attempted to
run for office in the National Assembly on the platform of the Socialist Party,
but his application was declined. He joined the staff of President Francois
Hollande in 2010, but declined to be Chief of Staff to Prime Minister, Francois
Fillon, that year. In 2012, he was made a Deputy Secretary-General on President
Macron resigned from the government in June
2014 to continue his personal aspirations and was employed as Research Fellow
at the University of Berlin with the help of his rich businessman friend. Alain
Minc. In this period he declined to be a candidate for municipal elections in
his hometown of Amiens. Providence was soon to smile on him as he was appointed
Minister of Economy and Finance in the government of Prime Minister, Manuel
Valls. He was the youngest Minister of the Economy since 1962. As a Minister he
pushed through several significant business reforms including his signature law
package known as Macron 1.
Macron left the Socialist Party in August 2015
and launched his own party, En Marche, in his hometown in April 2016. It was
soon clear that he was a popular candidate who engaged and resonated with all
sectors of the French populace. He resigned from the government in
August 2016 to launch his campaign to be President in the 2017 Presidential election. In November 2016, Macron declared that he
would run as the candidate of En Marche! Macron was heavily supported by the media and business. He
won 24% of the votes in the first round of the Presidential elections on 23
April 2017 and, as this was the most votes, went into a run-off election with
Marine Le Pen of the National Front. He won this second round of Presidential
elections on 7 May 2017 by a landslide victory of more than 66%, thus becoming
the youngest ever French President. In June 2017, En Marche and its political partner,
the Democratic Movement won a comfortable majority in the National Assembly, winning 350 seats out of 577. Indeed, En Marche itself won an
outright majority of 308 seats.