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Controversy trails Lagos success story campaign

The late Dr. Adadevoh

• Disappointed Lagosian ‘photoshops’ Adadevoh’s photo into banner

There have been grunts, whimper and discontent among many Lagosians since the Lagos at 50 success story banners began to adorn the landscape with some known and obscure faces under the rider, ‘Lagos is my success story.’

As expected, it became a subject of debate at public forums when notable names were missed out such as Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Chief M.K.O. Abiola, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Olorogun Michael Ibru, and Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, among many others.

But it took a disappointed Lagosian, Deji Ayowole, who ‘photoshopped’ the late Dr. Stella Adadevoh’s photo into a Lagos at 50 banner, for the public opprobrium to be given a vent.

Adadevoh wrote her name in immortality in 2014 when she raised the red flag on spotting the first index case of the dreaded Ebola virus in her patient, Patrick Sawyer. She, in the line of duty, paid the ultimate price for her sacrifice, but saved an entire nation in her patriotic bid to curb the spread of the disease that was killing people in their hundreds in other West African countries.

Upon confirmation of the diagnosis, Adadevoh and her team ensured the accurate tracing of all 20 of Sawyer’s contacts, who had possibly contracted the disease. Four persons eventually lost their lives to the haemorrhagic virus.

This all-important feat was achieved in Lagos, precisely at First Consultants Medical Centre, Obalende. To document this for posterity, a blockbuster movie, 93 Days, featuring a blend of Hollywood and Nollywood legends, was produced to remind Nigerians of the woman who took the bullet for all.

This was why a dispirited Ayowole put his graphic skills into use and photoshopped Adadevoh into one of the signature banners. He wrote: “If the Lagos State government won’t do it for her, I will. She is the reason why Lagos can celebrate 50 years in good health. She deserves to be acknowledged for her heroic endeavours. Lagos would have been swamped with the Ebola disease and it could have been uncontrollable, but thanks to her, it was contained. God bless you. May your soul rest in peace. This was photoshopped, wish it were real.”

The Lagos at 50 celebrations commenced on May 27, 2016, a year-long festival studded by a slew of artistic performances, modern cinematic release screenings and lecture series. The final weeks of the programme is billed to showcase theatre displays and a big bash planned for the finale on May 27, coinciding with Children’s Day.

Since the state government announced plans for an elaborate celebration, it had been an exercise dogged by several controversies. First was the dust raised by the appointment of Prof. Wole Soyinka as chairman of the Lagos at 50 Planning Committee, a choice some indigenes of Lagos protested against.

The latest outburst trailing the poster series have set tongues wagging over the seeming criteria used in choosing the nominees? When reached for comments, a member of the planning committee told The Guardian that the billboards are the direct responsibilities of the Lagos executive council and not that of the committee headed by Soyinka.

“I am told it was personally directed from the Governor’s Office. So, the appropriate person to address your queries would be the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The first is supervising publicity for the project, while the other is supervising the various programmes. Prof. Soyinka’s office as co-chair is only in charge of planning. Execution is largely with the Lagos Exco.”

The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, however said the outdoor campaign is not the actual celebrations, “but only designed to serve as a build-up and inspire other residents with messages of admiration, success and inspiration on personalities, who have one way or the other contributed to the success of the state.”



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