Betta Edu, Cross River commissioner for health, says she acknowledges that some of her posts on Twitter during the #EndSARS protest may have been “indelicate”.
On Monday, a group identified as the Buharists Hang Out (BHO) had asked the screening panel of the All Progressives Congress (APC) caretaker and extraordinary convention planning committee to disqualify Edu from contesting as national woman leader of the party.
The BHO’s petition against Edu came hours after some tweets — including one asking that the Lekki tollgate be “brought down permanently” — said to have been posted by the commissioner during the #EndSARS protests in October 2020, surfaced online.
Although the Cross River commissioner had denied some of the posts, the BHO had insisted that Edu’s position during the #EndSARS campaign was “unpatriotic”.
Reacting in a series of tweets on Tuesday, Edu said she was sympathetic to the #EndSARS movement because she had also been subjected to a “traumatic experience” at the hands of policemen.
She said contrary to insinuations, she did not endorse the use of violence as a way of expressing grievances, but condemned the destruction that took place across the country.
“I am aware of the fact that some of my previous actions as a member of the opposition party, notably my stance during the nationwide ENDSARS protests that gripped the nation in the year 2020, have generated confusion and caused some to question both my loyalty to the APC and my fitness to serve in its leadership structure,” she wrote.
“While I admire the courage and devotion of our party members whose scrutiny of my profile unearthed past comments and positions, I wish to set the records straight and offer a contextual understanding of these isolated comments at issue today by stating clearly and fully the motivations that guided my actions during what was a pivotal moment in the country’s recent history.
“When the ENDSARS protest first broke out in the year 2020 as a civil agitation against the very real problem of police brutality, like most Nigerians, I was sympathetic to the cause, more so because I have equally been subjected to a most traumatic experience by policemen who violated the ethics of their profession and my basic rights as a Nigerian.
“However, contrary to insinuations making the rounds, I did not at any point endorse the use of violence as a way to express these concerns or call the attention of the government. In actual fact, I have evidence of media appearances and interviews that I granted to condemn the sad and most unfortunate degeneration of the movement to widespread violence, arson, and damaging vandalism.
“I do acknowledge that a few of my spur-of-the-moment tweets and impulsive reactions to reports at the climax of the event may have been indelicate and distorted my true position on things. I am human, a mom, and thus given to emotions.”
She appealed to members of the party for their understanding and urged them to work with her to bring progress to the APC.
“However, I want to reassure and appeal to my progressive comrades who are expressing concern not to reduce my intentions and nuanced political views in the past to a couple of badly-worded tweets,” she said.
“I appeal to you all for your understanding in the request to unite around these shared objectives and continue with the all-important integration process and consensus-building that will help grow the party and win more converts.
“My loyalty to the APC and the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is complete and total. I am one of you, and I seek to lead our women because I believe in my ability to rally women’s votes and mobilise their support across the country based on well-developed policies & strategies to facilitate membership of the party, to spur & guide our leadership across all levels on impactful ways to prioritise women-focused issues that will hasten the country’s growth & significantly improve our chances at the polls.”