NEWS RELEASE-Presidential Candidate in 2007 elections, Prof Pat Utomi, Ekiti AC gubernatorial candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, his Lagos DPA counterpart, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, and past Lagos Health Commissioner, Dr. Leke Pitan have raised alarm regarding a statement made earlier this week in the US Senate which classified Nigeria as a failed state.
Utomi who at the closing of the meeting offered a summary of the team's discussions said, "The Shadow Team of The Rainbow Coalition of Political Parties has held its first meeting in the new year and considered a numbered of challenges facing the country in several areas."
"The Team was particularly alarmed at the state of the economy which seems to have gone into tailspin and was even more worried that policy makers and leaders in different areas of government do not seem to have woken up to the extent of the challenges facing us."
"We find that this reality has been compounded by a statement made this week in the US Senate by Senator Russ Feingold, Chairman of the US Senate Subcommittee on Africa, which classified Nigeria as a failed state with hardly any forceful response from Nigeria's side in terms of what we should be doing to avert the consequences of such."
"The Team made the point that institutional failure, conflict of interests, and failure to being proactive was largely responsible for the economic crisis that has caused many ordinary Nigerians to completely lose all their savings in the Stock Markets, and members expressed concern that we may in fact experience bank failure during the course of this year if something proactive is not done."
"The team also discussed issues of healthcare and noted the fact that a lot of Nigerians of prominence seem to be dying in foreign hospitals and a great deal of our resources being poured into air ambulances bailing Nigerians out at a cost above 30,000 euros per person every night with some days having as many as ten persons are flown abroad."
"Even as we can show clearly that one or two of those air ambulances can build world-class hospitals, more problematic is the near abandonment of primary healthcare. If there is any national emergency in Nigeria, it is the abandonment of our healthcare and this is why our life expectancy is dropping."
Among other issues the team deliberated extensively is the challenges of agriculture, rural development, power supply, education, security of life and property, infrastructure, and the electoral process reform which "is critical if the people are to be able hold those they elect accountable all towards ensuring that the government truly works for the people."
The group hence indicated that by May, it would publish a comprehensive state of the nation report, bringing up each sector of the economy on a what is, why is it that way, and what should it be basis.
Other members of the team who were also not present with apologies include; Dr. Usman Bugaje, Amagbe Kentebe, Mallam Suleman Yahaya, Chidi Odim, and others said to be on the Team's assignments.
Kila Odunayo – 08023196602/08075658048
Press/Media Aide – Pat Utomi