For the umpteenth time, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday, defended his outing during the #EndSARS crisis that engulfed Nigeria in 2020, particularly the shooting at the Lekki Tollgate by soldiers, which reportedly claimed the lives of many youths.
The Governor of Lagos, who was a guest of The Morning Show, a breakfast programme on Arise Television, told his host that there was no way he could have ordered the shooting, or had a hand in it, when he was not in command of the soldiers, who stormed the venue and allegedly carried out the shooting.
Against the backdrop of the backlash he has been getting over the matter, which has literally pitted him against a groundswell of Nigerian youths, especially in Lagos, who are holding him responsible, the governor said he had no control because the state government did not have authority over the police and the military.
Hear him: “Young people do not do roleplay and sit back to reflect on what happened. It was not a flash event. It built up for three weeks. I do not have control. I do not control the military or the police,” the governor said
“On the question of who ordered the [Lekki shooting], who ordered the police not to listen to me when I went to Magodo the other day? Who ordered the military out for our election last Saturday? It is not in my remit or space.
“All of the people — and I am saying this for the first time on national TV — that claimed that they were either injured or affected in one form or the other, I, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, have reached out to them and supported, given them jobs and empowerment and things for them to start right.
“And that is why you do not see anybody come out during this campaign period to say ‘I was an #EndSars victim and I lost something,’ because I have taken it up and I feel that is something for me as a father and a leader to do for them, and clear this air around it.”
It was also a day the governor, took a stand on the threat being issued by some people claiming to be members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), forbidding Igbo residents from Lagos from voting any other persons than the party in the coming elections, saying such a move was quite condemnable.
Describing it as a mere flash and a dot in the Lagos spirit, he stated that the state remained the Centre of Excellence, where every Nigerian and foreigners were welcome to live, create wealth and contribute to its overall growth as a mega-city.
His words: “Lagos is a Centre of Excellence. Indeed we’re excellent. There are things that we need to do in order to be globally competitive, one of which is making sure that Lagos continues to create opportunities for everyone in the country. For us, a Lagos that is a Centre of Excellence, must continue to speak to that excellence in every sense of it.
“It must be a place where people come in, do business, do well and they can create wealth for themselves and their families. That is our primary driver. Any other thing that comes out will be a distraction for us. It is condemnable and I totally condemn it. It is unacceptable, it is not something that any forward-looking government will want to condone.
“The first thing is that we’re human beings and the next is that we’re Nigerians, which is a put-together that is not you or I that created it. The moment we can put that into inclusion, then next question is that if your wife is in hospital and at a point of being delivered, would she say she would need a Yoruba doctor or an Igbo doctor or you go to a hospital, would you say that you want a Yoruba bread or Igbo bread or you go to a butcher and say you need the meat cut by an Hausa man that you’re going to eat.
“For as long as those things don’t divide us, for as long as those are not the parameters with which we judge ourselves, these other lines that politics have brought, it is just supposed to be a little dot and we move away very quickly. You know, we should not even ventilate it, we should not give it anything to hold a space in us. Those are the things which define the excellence we have and that is what we promote.”