By Henry Umoru, Charles Kumolu & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA— Former governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, yesterday, described Dino Melaye as a disgrace to the Senate.
His reaction came against the backdrop of last Tuesday’s shouting match between his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, and Melaye during the closed-door session of the Senate.
Melaye, who represents Kogi West senatorial district in the Senate, had reportedly threatened to beat up the APC leader’s wife during the altercation between them, boasting allegedly that nothing would happen if he did so.
But Tinubu in a statement by his spokesman, Sunday Dare, yesterday, warned Melaye that something would happen, if he dared it.
“Dino Melaye sank to the lowest ever on Tuesday. From this point, it is downhill for him. A disgrace to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“If Dino thinks nothing will happen if he dares to beat up another senator, then he must be living in a fool’s paradise. Things will happen,” Tinubu’s spokesman wrote on Twitter.
Efforts, last night, to reach Melaye for his reaction failed as calls to his mobile number were not returned; he also failed to respond to text messages sent to his phone.
Lagos senators warn Melaye
However, senators representing Lagos State in the Senate, yesterday, warned Senator Melaye to desist from harassing and intimidating Senator Oluremi Tinubu or face their wrath.
The senators, who described Melaye as lilly-livered, vowed to testify in court on the side of truth, as part of the resolution of any conflict in the Upper Chambers.
Recall that Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, are currently standing trial over forgery of Senate Standing Rules.
The Lagos senators, Olugbenga Ashafa (APC, Lagos East), and Solomon Olamilekan Adeola (APC, Lagos West), said in a statement:
“We, the two senators representing Lagos East and Lagos West, having reviewed the recent happenings in the hallowed Chamber of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, particularly at the executive session of July 12, 2016, which dwelt on the running of the Senate and now in the public domain without any denial from the affected parties, feel compelled to state as follows:
“We deplore in very strong terms the use of abusive, threatening, uncouth, vulgar and un-parliamentary language by any senator against any other senator, particularly our female colleagues.
“As distinguished members of the Red Chamber, we are strongly in favour of resolving any conflict that has arisen in the course of our representation and national duty through dialogue and due process and we will not be part of any solution obtained through any form of coercion, threat, intimidation and ungentlemanly conduct of the distinguished office of a senator.
“We dissociate ourselves from the comments and behaviour of Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) at the executive session of July 12, 2016, as we represent people known for finer character and nobler culture of social interaction.
“We equally state that we will be part of efforts to instill and enshrine decorum and gentlemanly conduct associated with the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“While condemning the use of any vulgar and un-senatorial language in all ramifications, we particularly take offence at the use of such abusive and denigrating words against the person of distinguished Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos Central) as such words greatly demeaned the female gender and the hallowed chamber of the Senate.
“Finally, pursuant to the threat of physical abuse against Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos Central) by Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West), we state that we are not lily-livered and cannot be intimidated or deterred from our primary assignment of representing the good people of Lagos State and carrying out our national duties of law-making, even if it entails testifying in court on the side of the truth as part of the resolution of any conflict in the upper chamber.”
Lagos APC asks Melaye to apologise to Tinubu
Reacting to the development, Lagos State chapter of APC also, yesterday, condemned Melaye’s action, and called on the Kogi senator to apologise to Senator Oluremi Tinubu and her husband, Bola Tinubu.
The party in a statement signed by Publicity Secretary, Joe Igbokwe, said:
“Our attention has been drawn to a reckless and unguided statement credited to one Senator Dino Melaye from Kogi State, who said he will beat up our own distinguished Senator Oluremi Tinubu, representing Lagos Central and that nothing will happen.
“We take it that this is a slip of tongue but if it is, indeed, true that this statement came from the heart of Dino Melaye, we need a psychiatric doctor to examine the state of his mind.
“Senator Dino Melaye has been in the news in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the wrong reasons. His actions and deeds in recent times have contributed in no uncertain terms to various setbacks we have witnessed in the 8th Senate since its inception on June 9 2015.
“The hallowed chamber of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a prestigious place for the serious-minded, cerebral men and women of honour and integrity, those who can hold their heads when others are losing theirs, experienced but humble men and women.
“It is not for lunatics, rascals, street urchins, ethically-challenged bigots or integrity-challenged charlatans.
“It seems to us in Lagos APC that Senator Dino Melaye has reached a point of diminishing returns. The unstable and funny man from Kogi State has reached a point where there is no other place to go but to go down irretrievably.
“He can only go down with his likes and not with our own Senator Oluremi Tinubu, the highly revered, honoured and distinguished wife of our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“Lagos APC wants Dino Melaye to move quickly to apologize to Senator Oluremi Tinubu and her beloved husband, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and have the statement credited to him withdrawn without any further delay.”
Okun Parapo disowns Melaye
Also reacting to the issue, a socio-cultural group of the Yoruba speaking areas of Kogi State, Okun Parapo, berated Melaye over claims of threatening to beat up Senator Tinubu, saying Melaye had not been a good representative of the people of Kogi West senatorial district.
The group, in a statement by Mr. Adekunle Adeite, lamented that the senator was making mockery of Okunland that boasts of eminent Nigerians as John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Prof Eyitayo Lambo, the late Chief Sunday Awoniyi, Gen David Jemibewon, Mr. Bayo Ojo, Darey Art Alade and Nike Davies-Okundaye, among others.
The statement read: “Okunland in Kogi State, Nigeria can boast of many prominent and illustrious sons. Notable among them are: John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Shola Ameobi (soccer player), Eyitayo Lambo, David Jemibewon, Darey Art Alade, Bayo Ojo, and Nike Davies-Okundaye. How this great land end up with a senator like Dino still beats me.”