By Adeniyi Femi
It is often said that the hallmark of maturity in any leader is the ability to take responsibility for whatever wrong that is perceived by the people.
This much was gracefully demonstrated by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in his handling of the EndSARS protests fall-out within Lagos State.
The governor practically stayed awake all through the night of Tuesday, October 20, 2020, moving from one hospital to another in the Lekki axis of Lagos to ensure that all injured protesters were given prompt and required medical attention.
This effort was in addition to the initial assurance by Governor Sanwo-Olu that Lagos State Government would foot the medical bills of all the injured protesters.
The governor had gone ahead to address the state two days after the Lekki Toll Gate episode to mourn those that lost their lives during the EndSARS protests and also followed same with a public apology.
“We mourn the lives we have lost across the state and to the families that we could have better protected, I sincerely apologise”.
While the EndSARS protests were still raging in Lagos, Governor Sanwo-Olu had set up a N200 Million Fund for Lagos State residents that had fallen victims of police brutality.
The governor actually made the disclosure of compensation for the victims on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, while addressing some angry protesters at Alausa in Ikeja.
“We want to find justice and provide compensation for victims to the best of our abilities. We encourage the youth to provide two representatives to join the judicial panel”.
On same Tuesday, October 13, 2020, Babajide Sanwo – Olu also reemphasized on his official twitter handle that Lagos State Government would ensure adequate compensation for residents of the state that had fallen victims of police brutality.
“We are also immediately setting up a trust fund to compensate the families of police brutality in Lagos state even though no amount of money can reduce their plain. The trust fund will be supervised by a team appointed transparently by members of the public”.
Even in the face of unprecedented destruction of public properties that may cost Lagos State Government almost one trillion naira to fix and rebuild; Governor Sanwo-Olu has continued to give preference to the economic wellbeing of Lagosians whose businesses were negatively affected due to the EndSARS protests.
The Lagos State Government had promptly set out to take the inventory of businesses that were affected across the state with a firm assurance that the government would support the owners of stores that were looted when the EndSARS protests unfortunately got hijacked by hoodlums.
In a rare demonstration of his kind heart, the Sanwo -Olu led government had directed the immediate release of 253 persons that were arrested by the police for various offences during the EndSARS protests within the Center of Excellence.
Although their release as announced by the office of Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo, was premised on non-disclosure of a prima facie case against the offenders by the police force.
In spite of the highly depressing numbers of public and private infrastructure that were either destroyed or burnt due to the EndSARS protests, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has never yielded to despair on account of the magnitude of destroyed public properties.
Rather, the forward looking governor has continue to exude confidence and assuring vigour that Lagos State would be rebuilt and the Center of Excellence would recover from her monumental loss; sooner than expected.
Meanwhile, the uncommon leadership ability of Governor Sanwo-Olu to weather the storm of EndSARS protests in Lagos State have been well commended by the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF).
Although the team that visited Lagos State also commiserated with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the people of Lagos State over the mayhem that was precipitated by the EndSARS protests.
Worthy of note was the comment of the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Senator Atiku Bagudu who amply commended Governor Babajide Sanwo -Olu for his demonstration of leadership during the EndSARS protests.
“He has remained committed till date. The panel, Judicial Panel of Enquiry he set up is making progress and they are independent. The truth is coming out gradually; it is evolving.
“We come to encourage our colleague and his team and to further show solidarity with people of Lagos that we are all in it together”.
Delegation of the Progressives Governors Forum to Lagos State were comprised of the Chairman, Senator Atiku Bagudu; Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni; Chairman, Northern Governors’ Forum and Plateau Governor, Simon Lalong and Jigawa State Governor, Mohammed Badaru.
Particularly commendable is the demonstrable leadership qualities with which Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his team have restored peace and normalcy to Lagos State.
The governor has also done excellently well by ensuring that the Yoruba and Hausa community in Lagos State became committed to an agreement of peaceful coexistence. He had also replicated the same peace agreement between the Yoruba and Igbo in Lagos on the other hand.
Beyond every trace of doubt, the leadership ingenuity of Governor Babajide Sanwo -Olu has clearly helped to jump start the economy of Lagos; even as the state is readily getting positioned for an envisioned fast recovery from the humongous economic losses it suffered during the EndSARS protests.