It was heroic welcome for Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who returned to Lagos State on Sunday, after supervising the electoral victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the just-concluded gubernatorial election in Ondo State.
The aircraft that brought the Governor back to Lagos touched ground at 6:08pm, amid rousing reception by members of the State Executive Council, his political associates and scores of party supporters who thronged the presidential wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport to receive him.
Sanwo-Olu is the chairman of the APC Campaign Council constituted by the party’s national leadership to lead the second term campaign of the Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN.
APC won the governorship contest with 292,830 votes, defeating the closest rival – Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which garnered 195,780 votes.
Speaking to reporters at the airport, Sanwo-Olu said the success of his task in Ondo State was a promise fulfilled to his political party. He pointed out that the APC candidate in the election deserved the victory, having achieved most of his campaign promises in the first term.
He said: “I am personally excited, as chairman of the APC Campaign Council in the Ondo State election, that the candidate who emerged victorious in the election is our candidate. Having visited the State prior to the electioneering, I can confirm that Arakunrin Akeredolu has really worked and he is currently working for the people to deserve this victory.
“People call Akeredolu a talk-and-do Governor, meaning whatever he promises he delivers, whether in terms of infrastructure or general development in Ondo State. Based on his track record in governance, our candidate was an easier product to sell in the election. So, we fought a good fight in the exercise. At the end the day, Ondo people spoke through the ballot and they have spoken well.”
Sanwo-Olu said the outcome of the election reflected the will of the Ondo people, whom he described as the sole winner that emerged from the election. He said APC went into the contest with intention to unite and not to divide the people of the State, saying the party saw the outcome as “no victor, no vanquished”.
The Lagos Governor praised President Muhammadu Buhari for providing the needed leadership and creating an enabling environment for the people to choose their leaders without violence. Despite pockets of skirmishes that tainted the process, Sanwo-Olu described the exercise as “largely free, fair and credible”.
He also commended the national leadership of APC and Governors who supported the effort to return Akeredolu for the second term, saying all members of the campaign council deserved credit for the success.
“The victory in Ondo State is a demonstration that people still believe in the leadership being provided by our party across the country. We accept the outcome of the election with humility. This victory is not be solely attributed to one person, but to the entire members of the APC campaign team, which I was chosen to be leader,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, once again, spoke on the EndSARS campaign, after he tweeted, about a week ago, to condemn human rights abuses by Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operatives which led to the widespread EndSARS campaign.
The Governor particularly praised the good conduct of the youth who participated in the public demonstration in Lagos, describing them as “heroes of freedom”.
Sanwo-Olu said he identified with the EndSARS campaign, as it touched the essence of democratic freedom. He said citizens must never be denied the rights to express their grievances whenever they were not satisfied with the operation of any agency of the Government.
The eventual dissolution of the SARS outfit by Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Governor said, is an indication that the voice of the protesters had been heard by the authorities. He urged the youth to continue to engage the leadership on the reforms required to make the police force work better.
He said: “I commend all our youths that turned out for the protests in Lagos. While I was on the assignment in Ondo, I monitored all the activities of the protesters and they were peaceful in their conduct. This is what we want and how we want our people to conduct themselves. From all over the city, there have been calls for the end of SARS and their voice has been heard very well.
Sanwo-Olu hailed security operatives in Lagos for respecting the rights of the demonstrators to express their grievances, saying he was elated that the issues raised by the protesters had been addressed by the police authorities in the interest of freedom, democracy and justice.