My Dear Compatriots,
Let me start this message by placing on record my admiration and appreciation to the patriotic youths who demonstrated exceptional commitment and comportment during the peaceful #EndSARS protests all over Nigeria and specifically in Lagos State.
The right to peaceful assembly and freedom of association is enshrined in Section 40 of our Constitution and non-violent protest is cherished and protected by democratic societies all over the world. Clearly the #EndSARS protesters remained peaceful and responsible throughout their protests.
From the very beginning, I strongly supported the agitation of our youths against police brutality and for policing reforms as can be seen from my statements in both conventional and social media. On October 9, I called on the Inspector-General of Police to pursue comprehensive reforms to make the dissolution of SARS effective. On October 12, I urged the federal government to collaborate with the states, civil society organisations and other critical stakeholders to initiate far-reaching reforms of the Nigerian Police that will translate into a truly citizen-centred and community-oriented policing system.
As others have noted, including local & international institutions and well meaning Nigerians, including my humble self, heard your voices loud and clear. I believe the move towards police reforms and more broadly of increased youth participation in governance as well as accountability of government to the citizens is now irreversible.
Sadly, we are all aware that forces other than the peaceful #EndSARS protesters turned a potential moment of hope, inspiration and transformation into a tragedy-first with seemingly orchestrated sporadic attacks on peaceful protesters across the country and state, and then the tragic events at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20. It is not yet fully clear the precise events of that evening or the source of orders, if any, received by the security agencies at the location. I support state and federal investigations to establish the sequence of events and establish culpability and accountability for all actions, as well as justice for all victims and their families, with the active participation of civil society.
In the aftermath, we experienced another tragedy as Lagos witnessed an unprecedented orgy of violence including looting of stores and supermarkets; severe damage to government and private property including several businesses; and the desecration of our culture and traditions by persons who invaded the palaces of the Oba of Lagos, HRM Oba Rilwan Akiolu and the Onitedo of Iwerekun, HRH Oba T. A Elemoro.
I commiserate with the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the good people of Lagos on this unfortunate incident and pray that such will never again be seen in Lagos.
Dear Compatriots, we must be vigilant and careful to ensure evil forces do not destroy our Lagos, or divide us and pitch us against each other. We must disappoint those who viciously attacked our common patrimony and desecrated our heritage. We must also address the problems of poverty, unemployment and disconnect with our teeming youths and masses; and overall we must join hands to build the future of a new Lagos with opportunity and prosperity for all. And we must deepen the participation of our youths in the political process with our passionate and energetic youth becoming not just leaders of tomorrow, but also of today!
On my part, if I am elected your senator for Lagos East, I will leverage my experience of over three decades as an economist, chartered accountant and banking executive who has worked in exemplary institutions such as Deliotte, GTBank and First Bank and who has led the transformation of the former troubled Skye Bank into a strong, digitally enabled and strategically positioned Polaris Bank, to do all within my power to improve the lot of our youths and masses; engage with our youths at multiple levels and provide structured and sustainable empowerment for women and youths through an endowment including capacity building, skills acquisition, microfinance; and incorporate the “5 for 5” agenda of the #EndSARS protesters in my legislative priorities. I stand by my unwavering commitment to provide quality representation, lead with character and values, and act with integrity and commitment in all my actions.
Let us join hands to build a better future not just for our youths, but for all citizens of Lagos East, Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole.