It is indeed an honour and a great pleasure for me to be invited as Chairman at the Realnews Magazine 8th Anniversary Lecture today in Lagos. The array of prominent, international figures who have spoken at the past series of your eponymous lectures is a testimony to how well Realnews Magazine is discharging its mandate and contributing its quota towards “building a fair and just society where fundamental human rights are respected and citizens have the freedom to pursue their interests anywhere in the world without hindrance”.
A year ago, the Covid-19 pandemic started in China and soon spread to Europe and America. Predictions were dire for the developed world as we watched the wildfire spread of this disease and its unmitigated, rising morbidity and mortality figures. Even before it was declared a pandemic, the most optimistic outlook for Africa was apocalyptic. Our people rose as one and, in a concerted effort the like of which we have not witnessed in 60 years, we turned the grim outlook into one of unbelievable optimism, now the object of several studies from other climes. We must harness this resilience and adapt it in confronting other challenges facing our subregion.
The title of today’s lecture is apt. The event will surely live up to expectation as we shall hear it all from our Guest Speaker, Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation who is also the indefatigable Chairman, Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 in Nigeria, appointed by President Mohammadu Buhari to coordinate the diverse Nigerian response to the pandemic.
A three-man panel of discussants is also in attendance to share their individual and institutional experiences with us today. They have been chosen because of their roles in the fight against Covid-19.
Mallam Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC played a key role in mobilising funds from the private sector and, along with many other prominent players, contributed immense resources towards the gallant efforts against the scourge. Dr Alero Roberts, a Community Physician with the College of Medicine University of Lagos and Dr Michael Ihemaguba, an Obstetrician/Family Physician from New York are also on the panel. We hope to learn greatly from these three eminent personalities as they share their experiences on the management of Covid-19 with us.
I greatly commend the Management of Realnews Magazine on yet another impactful, annual outing. As we modestly beat our chests, commending the nation for modest successes in confronting this ongoing pandemic, let us hasten to remind our people that the battle is not yet over.
– Nov. 19, 2020 @ 11:25 GMT |