Kogi senator refuses to apologise to her
Women’s groups protest for and against Melaye, Tinubu
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja, Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja and Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti
Senator representing Lagos Central senatorial district, Oluremi Tinubu, has written to the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) threatened to rape and assault her.
In the petition addressed to the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Tinubu who said the action of Melaye against her during an executive session on July 12 was an affront to the Senate, the government of APC as well as the party itself, added that Melaye used a vulgar language to address her as she appealed to the party to accordingly sanction him.
Tinubu who said but for fellow senators who shielded her from Melaye, he would have physically assaulted her during the session, adding that Melaye flared up against her at the meeting for merely cautioning him over the threat he issued against his fellow colleagues.
She further said what made Melaye’s action unfashionable was that both of them belong to the same party, hence the need to invoke necessary sanctions against the Kogi senator.
The letter read in part: “During the 12 July executive session, I was duly recognised to speak by the Senate President after Melaye had spoken and berated some senators over their perceived roles in the judicial case involving the Senate leadership.
“Although, I remained silent and attempted no interjection during his statement, Melaye tried to abridge my rights as a senator by hectoring at me and interrupting my contribution. At one point, I cautioned him about the use of his language and the threats made, reminding him that other senators were there by equal right as he and represented their constituents.
“In a burst of apparent rage, Senator Melaye charged at me in what can only be seen as effort to physically attack me. The attack was only prevented by some respectful Senators who moved to impede his path or otherwise block him from approaching closer to me. I thank those Senators for their personal courage and sense of decorum. Melaye hurled foul and vulgar language at me, what he said should never be heard in any public institution let alone the floor of the Senate.
Denigrating me as a woman. Melaye threatened to beat me on the floor of the senate simply because I dared to express an opinion different from his.
“I am both a ranking Senator and a woman. But Melaye took neither into consideration as he issued threats of rape and assault, while boasting that he would face no consequence even if he fulfilled these criminal threats.
Compounding the damage inflicted by Melaye is the fact that we are both of the APC. Thus, I am compelled to report this incident. It also gives me great concern that the Senate leadership has heretofore been silent on this matter as if condoning the errant behavior of the Senator.
“Through this letter, I officially inform the party about the improper behaviour of MeIaye and ask the party to investigate this matter in order to restore the public image and moral standing of the party and of APC members in the Senate.
“In this manner, we show that we reject the misconduct that has wronged our nation and its people for so long. Only if we act against such excesses will the people truly believe we are committed to the reforms we have promised them. We must start by ensuring that our own members know how to behave according the decorum befitting their elected positions.”
In another letter, Tinubu petitioned Saraki, saying the assault meted to her by Melaye on July 12 constituted a gross misconduct.
According to her, formally writing the Senate president over the alleged assault had become compelling “in order to seek proper recourse that will protect me against criminal assault on the floor of the senate (or elsewhere) that l and other lawmakers may exercise our rights.”
She also said the petition had become imperative if a repeat of the alleged misconduct must be averted, noting that a week after the action, the leadership of the Senate had been silent over the matter.
He also said Melaye used sexist and hate language to address her, insisting that he must be appropriately disciplined if she must escape his attacks.
“I write that such misconduct as that exhibited by Melaye shall never be repeated against me or any other senator so that reputation and the vital functions of the senate as a respectful deliberative body shall not be undermined.
“l note that a week has passed since the indecorous eruption by Melaye. However, the Senate leadership has been silent and has not reacted to the threatening misconduct of Melaye.
“So that this serious transgression of legislative behaviour is not allowed to pass, I formally submit for the record that l object to the reckless misconduct of Melaye during the July 12 executive session. What he did was completely unjustifiable and contrary to the established customs and norms that govern the behavior of members of this body.
“For merely voicing my opinion on the floor of the Senate, which is the fundamental right and duty of every Senator, I was verbally abused and threatened by Melaye.
“He did not stop there, he used blatantly sexist and misogynistic language offensive to every woman in Nigeria and offensive to every person who truly believes that gender discrimination has no place in the Nigeria we are trying to build for ourselves and all future generations.
“ln summation, unless Melaye is appropriately disciplined, he remains a danger to me and to the Senate at large. He has promised twice within one week to attack me,” the letter read in part.
Meanwhile, before the Senate went into a closed-door session with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele,yesterday, it held its own executive session where senators deliberated on the altercation between Melaye and Tinubu.
THISDAY learnt that Melaye refused to apologise to the wife of the former Lagos State governor, instead chose to apologise to the entire Senate for the embarrassment the exchange of words might have caused it.
It was learnt that some Senators advised Saraki to provide a platform for reconciliation between the two Senators.
Meawhile, Kogi State women yesterday demanded an apology from Senator Remi Tinubu over her altercation with Senator Dino Melaye, saying in African culture it is not woman-like to insult a man, not even in the public.
Addressing journalists at the press centre in Lokoja, the spokesperson of the women, Honourable Mrs. Fumilayo Olumodeji, said as women in this country, they are disappointed that Tinubu who was expected to speak for the women in the red chamber when various inhuman treatments have been meted on Nigerian women to raise her voice in their defence, rather went so far as to display her “arrogance” and “pride,” to have insulted a “man” and a distinguished senator colleague.
“This Tinubu embarrassed her Senate President and the Deputy Senate President on different occasions but nobody was sensitive enough to caution her.
“The same woman almost slapped Senator Rafiu Ibrahim from Kwara State, nobody demanded any apology or response from her or the entire senator, why now?
“The same woman deliberately sat on the Deputy Senate President’s seat to unnecessarily cause an uproar, and nobody demanded an apology from her.
“A woman was killed in Kano recently and she could not raise her voice in the red chamber in the defence of womanhood and just last week a woman preacher was killed and she did not react despite the fact that it was in the news all over the world,” Olumodeji stated.
According to her, it was a shame on womanhood when they saw women on Monday morning, protesting on behalf of Remi Tinubu, with well printed placards, evidencing that they were sponsored.
“The various people and groups that have gone to Bourdilion to apologise, we want to ask, on whose behalf? Definitely not Kogi State, not Kogi West and not our distinguished Senator Dino Melaye, our pride,” she said.
She called on the national leader of APC, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, to steer clear of the crisis and tame his wife to know how to comport herself with dignity in the public as a wife and mother.
“We therefore demand that Mrs. Tinubu should as a woman, mother and wife be cautious enough to apologise to Melaye and take a cue from the likes of late Margaret Thatcher, late Dora Akunyili, Hillary Clinton and other noble women around the world, and the whole world would celebrate her,” she stated.
However, the APC Women Leader in Ekiti State, Mrs. Dupe Bakare, has condemned Melaye over verbal attack on Tinubu at a recent executive session of the Senate.
She described Melaye’s conduct as reprehensible, lacking in decorum associated with the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly.
In a statement issued in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, Bakare criticised the senator in what she described as a show of shame, stressing that “Melaye’s motor park act” had given the senator away as a man lacking respect for family value and “unrepentant terror” to filial integrity in the world where women offered support for a strong family as a foundation for the health of the larger society.
“Senator Melaye has proven to be a man not cultured to be in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Whoever gains the acceptability of the people to reach such exalted position is expected not only to be decent and civilized, but also exhibit a high moral value that will distinguish and make him a shining example to the younger generations.
“We view his indecent outburst and attack against the wife of our national leader as injustice against women folks. We will do everything within the purview of the law to resist and reject any form of molestation against women no matter where the threat is coming from.
“It is a pity that Melaye has not grown out of his infantile rascality at ABU, one would expect that he should be decent enough to accord respect and honour to not only a fellow colleague, but also a wife and a mother par excellence,” Bakare said.
Melaye, representing Kogi West, had last week engaged in a brawl with Mrs. Tinubu during a closed door session of the Senate.