Actor Desmond Elliot has tendered a public apology to all for his ‘insensitive' comments about the youths during the #ENDSARS protest in October 2020.
The Lagos lawmaker was dragged on social media, particularly on Twitter after being accused of referring to youths as children while pushing for the regulation of social media.
But during his recent appearance on TVC's ‘Your View', Elliot offered clarity on the matter, insisting he wasn't referring to all youths on social media as children but those who were cursing Lagos Speaker tMudashiru Obasa.
He said: “What I can say is, I think forgiveness is divine. I mean, o one owns it all. Something can be your truth and to another person, it might not be. I don't think going back to bring out those sensitive moments would do anything.
“I think at the end of the day, I apologised for, and I'm still apologising to those who must have misconstrued what I said. I said I was taken by emotions but in the end, it still didn't take away from the fact that the hatred is too much. The polity, the hatred is too much. We are all built on love. We can change things by love.
“I'm in politics now, eight years and I still stand on the fact that love conquers all. I mean, I've gone out on the street and people still curse at me. But I'm not afraid, I'm not ashamed. Because they don't understand the stress that you go through and I pick it from their point of view because someone just hoped that you could just help him or her. And at that point, you are stressed with so many things. So at the end of the day, it happened.
“I wasn't referring to everybody as children. It was the people that were on my Mr Speaker's handle, that were talking to Mr Speaker, I was referring to and not everybody. And truly, they were teenagers, when I clicked on those who were cursing at Mr Speaker. And that's exactly what I said. But I'm sorry again. That's what politics teachers you. You must learn. You must! You can never be prideful. You can never buga in politics. Who you be? So, you must humble yourself. If you wan buga, go inside your gym and get weight. Lose weight when you're outside. Lose it!”
On October 29, 2020, Elliot came under fire after a video in which he condemned the use of social media by influencers, celebrities nd the youth resurfaced on the internet.
The lawmaker was accused of pushing for a bill to censor social media speech and also reportedly blamed the shooting of peaceful protestors at the Lekki toll gate on social media influencers and celebrities.
He denied the allegations in a video posted to Instagram where he stated: “This is false. No state House of Assembly has the jurisdiction to even deliberate to pass any bill, It's not possible.
“The only thing I said was that celebrities, influencers, and motivational speakers should cut down on the hate narrative. Everyone is going through so much right now,” he said.
However, the video which held his exact speech subsequently went viral wherein he called on Lagos Speaker to “address certain things” like “the Nigerian youth, social media, social influencers”.
He said: “The Nigerian youth, social media, social influencers, all of these are making the narratives that we are seeing today. Social media, though good, has its negative impacts.”
The lawmaker added: “When I went through the comments, I could not believe it, Mr. Speaker. The curses, the abuses from children. And I ask myself ‘Is this Nigeria? What is going on?' Children cursing?”
Hours after he became a subject of derision on Twitter, the lawmaker in a statement, tendered an unreserved apology to Nigerians, saying his comment was borne out of the magnitude of destruction of properties and looting of businesses that followed the Endsars protest in Lagos.
The statement read: “I have read your honest feedback& suggestions& I sincerely apologize for addressing the youth as “Children” I did not mean to be insensitive with this, it was borne out of the magnitude of destruction & looting of businesses I witnessed when I went on a tour of my constituency
“I saw women crying and my constituent members distraught as a result of the damages inflicted on their source of livelihood. I was moved by this while giving my submission on the floor of the House.
“I allowed my emotions get the better of me and for this I apologize to everyone my earlier statements may have hurt.
“Please, understand that even the best of us make mistakes. This is why, moving forward, I ask that we all try to engage constructively on the issues that affect all of us. I promise to do the same.
“The pain that I feel for my constituents, the calls for assistance that I continue to get, and the need to mitigate against further destruction and violence will continue to drive my engagements and my work.
“I thank you all for expressing your views, and in the future, I promise to be more conscious and aware. Together, we will build a better Nigeria.”