Sanwo-Olu on #EndSARS: I Have No Control Over Military

•Woos Lagos youths for second term 

•Lai Mohammed ignores Abdulrasaq, endorses governor

Segun James, Emma Okonji and Nosa Alekhuogie

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, explained his role in the October 20, 2020 #EndSARS protest in Lagos and the efforts he made to ensure peace and stability of the people of Lagos during the protest, believed to have claimed some lives and consumed several property.

The governor, who spoke on ARISE NEWS Channels, said he was pained as a leader and father to see youths brought down by bullets, but explained that he had no control of the military and police in Lagos, even though he was the chief security officer of the state.

Noting that the situation at that time, intensified the call for state police that could be controlled by governors, Sanwo-Olu said if re-elected, he would continue to work closely with the youths and empower them to achieve their dreams.

In a related development, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the leadership of the O’toge Movement, yesterday, urged indigenes of Kwara State resident in Lagos to vote for Sanwo-Olu on Saturday, but ignored the Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq.

However, further explaining his role in the #EndSARS protest in Lagos and the lessons learnt, Sanwo-Olu said: “I was the first governor to meet with protesters in the nationwide #EndSARS protest. I was the first governor to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari, to present pictures and evidence of the aftermath of the protest, to enable the federal government intervene and put an end to the nationwide protest.

“I was the first governor to set up endowment fund for affected victims. I was the first governor to set up a panel of investigation into the remote causes of the protest. That night that the protesters were shot with bullets, I went out to hospitals in Lagos at about 12 midnight, visiting injured victims of the Lagos protest and by 8am the following morning. I reported what I saw during my visit.

“Who ordered the shooting of the protesters, who ordered the CPS of police not to listen to me in Magodo, Lagos when I went for on-the-spot inspection of the situation of Magodo Estate residents? In the February 25 election, there were more military presence than police presence and who ordered them?

“So ordering of the military is not in my space to do so,” Sanwo-Olu said, adding that as a father and leader, he would be the least person that would disenfranchise the youths, stressing also that he was able to reach out to all affected victims of the #EndSARS protest and gave all of them jobs and empowered them to begin life again. 

Asked if he was not bothered that APC lost Lagos State to Labour Party in the February 25 presidential election, and whether such loss would not affect the chances of APC in the coming March 11 governorship election, Sanwo-Olu said the loss of the APC stronghold to other parties was even beyond Lagos State, cutting across Kano and Katsina States, adding also that Historians and political analysts, needed to further study the situation.

His words: “For us as a party, we need to look inwardly to examine critically, what exactly went wrong at the polls. We cannot force people to vote against their choices of candidates. As a party, we have our own internal wrangling that may have affected us a party during the election.

“In my view, these are some of the things that affected us as a party during the election. Lagos has less than 20 per cent of voter turn out, compared to the number of registered voters in the state, and these are the things we will look into as a party going forward,” Sanwo-Olu said.      

Speaking on the plans he has for the young people of Lagos State, he noted that he was very intentional about getting people out of the poverty and unemployment market, stressing that Lagos remained the only state that has been able to provide an enabling environment for technology to thrive, having become the tech startups in Africa.

He further boasted that this was possible because of the regulatory environment in the state and the completion of the 3,000 kilometers fiber docks connectivity, designed to reducing the cost of internet penetration and cost of data.

On security and why he didn’t attend a scheduled debate, the governor said he saw on social media, branded vehicles with guns and cutlasses in a neighborhood in broad day light, adding that the development was totally unacceptable.

Sanwo-Olu, however, urged Nigerians to come out to exercise their civic duties, saying it is a national assignment and not based on any party.

Meanwhile, Mohammed’s endorsement of Sanwo-Olu came just as  the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Deputy governorship candidate for Lagos State, Olori Animashaun Morenike Abeni, has formally declared her support for Sanwo-olu’s re-election.

Mohammed, a former Chief of Staff in Lagos State, said the administration has fostered inclusion and protect their socio-economic and political interests, adding that that the poll would be a payback time.

Mohammed said Kwarans in Lagos have an obligation to support Sanwo-Olu and the President-elect,  u Bola Ahmed Tinubu, saying many Kwarans have thrived in the state, describing Lagos as a very accommodating and tolerant component unit of the federation

At the event held at Molade Oloya-Thomas Hall, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, tagged “Kwarans in Lagos endorse Sanwo-Olu”, Mohammed, who recalled that the association between Lagos and Kwara dated back to centuries ago, said the state has accommodated many indigenes of the state who have excelled in business, politics, entertainment, among other sectors.

Speaking in Yoruba, he said, “Kwarans have been very successful in Lagos and they have used the fortunes made in Lagos to develop their communities in Kwara. Through the fortunes made in Lagos, many good things have been done in their respective communities in Kwara.

“This would not have been possible without the peace and harmony we enjoyed in Lagos. Lagos and Kwara are like Siamese Twins. Our destinies are tied together. Without peace and harmony in Lagos, there cannot be peace and harmony in Kwara.”

Lagos Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, who represented Sanwo-Olu, highlighted the achievements of the government and how it has treated Lagos residents with equity, irrespective of ethnic and religious backgrounds, sayiung a vote for the Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat ticket is a vote for experience and continuity, assuring them that the governor would accomplish more for the state, if re-elected.

Curiously, the SDP deputy governorship candidate Animashaun, said the decision to support Sanwo-Olu was reached following ”sequence to our thorough analysis of all the governorship candidates including our own, their antecedents, pedigree, experience, manifestos and broad acceptance across the state

“From the fore-going, there is no doubt that Governor Jide Sanwo-Olu and Dr. Quadri Hamzat combination stands head and shoulder above the rest. We cannot sacrifice the various land-mark achievements of the present administration scattered all over the state on the altar of bitter politicking.”

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