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Sanwo-Olu, Emefiele, Ihekweazu to lead conversation on COVID-19 documentary film

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Unmasked: Leadership, Trust and COVID-19 in Nigeria, the feature documentary film structured around the incident and management of the pandemic in the country will be formally launched on Friday, May 7 at the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island, Lagos by 2pm.

A collaborative work between Daria Media and Zuri24 Media, Unmasked… is produced/directed by Femi Odugbemi, and co-produced/presented by Kadaria Ahmed. It features a stellar cast of resource persons drawn from the medical, political and other relevant sectors of the society, was released in March.

The event of Friday May 7 is, however, not just for the screening of the film, it will feature a conversation around the issues thrown up by the extensive research, which led to the production of the documentary.

The conversation is designed as public-private sector collaboration for the development of a robust and effective public health care system.

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Eminent personalities lined up to participate in the conversation are: Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu; Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi; immediate past chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika; and Chairman / Non-Executive Director of Evercare Hospital Lekki, Lagos, Mr. Tosin Runsewe.

After the Lagos premiere, the screening of the film, and the attendant conversation will also be staged in other major cities of the country, with other set of speakers and discussants.

The international audience from four continents first screened the documentary at the 2021 iREP International Documentary Film Festival to critical acclaim.

In giving the background to the production of the documentary, Odugbemi stated: “The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world on its head and hit the world’s most populous black nation Nigeria with predictable ferocity. And with its soft underbelly of corruption, poor healthcare infrastructure, weak systems and an ever-increasing number of its population below the poverty line, the portent is dire. Could this also be an opportunity for reset?” This is the context in which the conversation will hold on Friday after the documentary would have been screened.

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In the words of the co-producer and presenter of the documentary, “It is the hope of the producers of the documentary that beyond documenting the Nigerian story of COVID-19, Unmasked acts as a catalyst for a conversation on shortcomings in our public health sector that were unmasked by COVID-19.

Unmasked… features among other resource persons: Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Governor of Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele; Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwoolu; and Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, among others.

National Coordinator of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu; Director General of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu; Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi; and Kaduna State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Amina Mohammed-Baloni; World Health Organisation (WHO) Consultant Virologist, Prof. Oyewale Tomori; Medical Director, Mainland Hospital Yaba, Lagos, Dr. Abimbola Bowale; founder, editor-in-chief of Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), Fisayo Soyombo; and others.

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