SPEECH TO THE PEOPLE OF LAGOS STATE ON THE LEKKI TOLLGATE INCIDENT – DELIVERED ON TUESDAY 30 NOVEMBER, 2021.
My dear good people of Lagos State,
It is with great sense of responsibility that I address you today on the reactions that have trailed the release of the #EndSARS Judicial Panel of Inquiry Report submitted to me two weeks ago, and how it has played out in public discourse since then.
I believe — and have always been vocal about this — that we owe it to you, the people of Lagos, to constantly speak and engage with you. In easy times, in difficult circumstances, we will never shy away from making our case to you, while also ensuring that we listen to you.
I will start by saying that we, as an administration, are determined that the next steps that will be taken in this process of coming to terms with the events of October 2020, must bring closure to a painful episode in the history of our State, with the release of the White Paper later today.
This, in my view, is a moment that beckons us to define who and what we are as a people.
To be a Centre of Excellence, we must be a Centre of Truth. To be a smart city, we first must be a just one. To be a prosperous state, we must establish ourselves as a peaceful entity. And to achieve the Greater Lagos of our dreams we must learn to live in harmony, even amidst inevitable disagreement.
In times like these, with anger and animosity too quick and fast at hand, it is easy to hide behind our own prejudices, treating them as deeper truths instead of the superficial lies they are.
It is far too easy to take sides and choose emotion over fact, even when the truth is to be found in shades of nuance. It is easy to choose darkness over light; to take perverse delight in playing unhelpful games of cynicism and suspicion; to cling to beliefs that do not carry the weight of verifiable evidence.
To become a champion of prejudice is to own a fleeting and false victory. It is a victory of rancor over reason, of vengeance over justice, of anger over compassion.
Today, I stand before you to declare that I reject this path; and I invite you all to do same.
The choice confronting us today is between restoring greater harmony or doing greater harm. I choose harmony over harm. As your Governor, it is my task to explain why all Lagosians should join me on this path that promises a more beneficial future.
Fellow Lagosians, let me at this point bring to the fore some very important context that we must never lose sight of. You will recall that the Judicial Panel of Inquiry was originally inaugurated to investigate allegations of police brutality committed by the disbanded SARS in Lagos state.