Mr. Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, I would like to begin by congratulating you on the successful completion of four years of exceptional leadership and service to the good people of Lagos State. These past years have undeniably come with inevitable challenges. Nonetheless, I commend you for the good work you have done as well as the phenomenal innovations you have championed even in the face of adversity.
My name is Halima Layeni. I am a resident of Lagos State. I have spent most of my life in this great state, and I have been a beneficiary of many of its brilliant innovations. I have also had the privilege of being mentored under the leadership of many great leaders that Lagos State has produced.
I have had the rare opportunity of meeting you once at the Marriot Hotel, Ikeja, and I watched closely as you related with ordinary people with so much kindness, compassion, and respect. I could tell from a distance how much of a good man you are, a man with equally good intentions.
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I admit that some of the decisions you have made in the past regarding certain pressing issues in the state should have been handled differently. Nevertheless, I would like to kindly appeal to you to lend me your listening ears, sir.
I strongly believe that leaders should only be elected based on the content of their character, competence, and their level of integrity. I equally believe that leaders should be elected based on merit and not emotions as emotions are subject to change.
Over the past few days, we have watched tribal wars erupt among Lagosians. I have also witnessed firsthand how some people have faced harassment, violence, and threats for standing up for their choice of candidate and how some employers have continued to threaten their employees for not supporting their candidate.
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I would like to hereby make a passionate plea to you, Your Excellency, Sir. As we prepare for the forthcoming election, I submit that you hold a press conference to address the current situation of the state for the reasons stated below:
- You, sir, are the governor of all Lagosians (Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba, as well as other tribes represented by occupancy), not just Yoruba residents alone. You have the sole responsibility of uniting us all as our leader.
- A reconciliatory speech from you as governor of Lagos State has the ultimate power to douse the ongoing tribal onslaught in the state, both online and offline.
- Violence will never solve anything. Tribal wars will only disintegrate us further, and the carnage left in its wake will be too sad a sight. Your Excellency, please call the good people of the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) community to order as we prepare for the gubernatorial and state assembly elections, and also encourage them to promote peace and unity among the people.
I call them good because I have seen some of them show love and compassion to passengers. I have seen some of them carefully help the elderly, and pregnant women down from moving buses when the driver would not stop. I have seen some of them rescue women from violence and harassment by their male counterparts. Love is who we are, hate is learned.
- Sir, please, you owe your people a violence-free election, and we are counting on you to ensure that that happens. This is one act that will change the entire trajectory of elections in Lagos State, and by extension, Nigeria.
- Finally, sir, I would also like to kindly ask that you equally promote a culture of love, compassion, and unity at our various workplaces, schools, institutions, and religious establishments, regardless of our differences in the choice of candidates, because at the end of the day, what unites us will always be far greater than what divides us.
Thank you, Mr. Governor, for your kind attention. As we all look forward to a peaceful election, please be assured of my kind regards and best wishes.
Halima Layeni is the founder and executive director for Life After Abuse Foundation
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