Desmond Elliot: how I helped 15 arrested EndSARS protesters regain freedom
Veteran actor cum politician, Desmond Elliot says he helped 15 Nigerians arrested during the EndSARS protest regain freedom.
In a chat with TVC, touched on the negative perception of him among the youth.
The lawmaker representing Surulere at the Lagos state house of assembly had been heavily criticised in 2020 after he declared that he is a product of political godfatherism, a reality many Nigerians frequently frown at.
After the shooting of protesters at Lekki toll gate in 2020, a video of Elliot reacting at the state assembly surfaced.
Rather than back young protesters, Elliot had referred to the EndSARS activists as “children.”
“In the next five years, there will be no Nigeria if we don’t start now. The youth is not only those who do the peaceful protest. Those who have looted and destroyed lives, they are youths as well,” the politician added.
“Pregnant women went into malls, picked things, and went away. When shall we change this narrative? I put it to all the celebrities out there and all the motivational speakers. This is the only country we have.”
During the latest interview, Elliot said he was among the first to champion the cause of the youth when the EndSARS protest first started.
“When EndSARS started, I was one of the first people in the statehouse of assembly to stand up and say the government should listen to the people. A few days later, a lot of people were arrested at Area C police command,” Elliot said.
“I was actually at plenary. By the time I came out, I saw my phone flooded with messages. ‘Where is Desmond’. I drove all the way to Area C. I didn’t leave Area C and Panti until 2 am to free almost 15 people.
“How is it possible that, in two days, somebody just changes. It’s not possible. Come on, Nigerians. Let’s think about it for a moment. Almost everything I’ve done in my constituency has to be a youth promotion programme.
“The only thing is to keep pushing, keep talking to people who want to listen, and keep telling them PVCs are important so you must make that change. At the end of the day, saying the truth is what’s important.”
In his argument, Elliot stated that the EndSARS protests shouldn’t have been allowed to last as long as it did.
“The EndSARS protest was needed. I mean, there’s hardly any administration where we never had a protest. Ask me if its longevity was necessary and that’s where we’ll sit and consider that we could have regrouped.”
“We could have waited, restrategized, and then do another protest the next year. I’m not here to criticise whether it was good or not good. At the end of the day, the youth realised that they had power. Now, don’t lose that power.”
The politician defended his stance on political godfatherism, saying he needed people of influence to get into office.
“It doesn’t matter what anyone says. Just be truthful. For me, being truthful is that this is what worked for me. Did I need someone to get into politics? No. But did I need someone to get into my position? Yes,” Elliot said.
“And so it is when you go to any other organisation. It’s not just Nigerian politics. In American politics, you can’t be a republican positioned anywhere without going through Trump or getting mentored by someone in the party.
“You need someone to grow. What you can’t blame the youth for is the fact that, from past dispensations, we’ve had people always not trusting the government. Then we have young people coming out and wanting to make changes.”