The recent embarrassing incident in the Red Chamber of the National Assembly between (Distinguished?) Senators Dino Melaye and Remi Tinubu has raised some dust from different quarters. While some Nigerians have not only asked Melaye to apologise to Tinubu, they have also threatened him with all kinds of actions should he not tender the apology within certain periods of time depending on who or what group is issuing the ultimatum.
In the same vein, some Nigerians have also blamed the whole saga on Remi Tinubu for being consistently uncouth and unwomanly in her activities in the senate. Whichever divide one belongs in the imbroglio, it is obvious that this is not just a fight, it is a fight of first instance in the many more and bigger ones to come.
This is a fight that signals how deeply divided the Senate has become and how the ruling All Progressives Congress, having shown copious deficiencies as managers of the nation, have allowed a good scenario of producing the senate president and a majority of the other national assembly leaders to degenerate to an irredeemably bad situation.
The fight between Melaye and Tinubu is only a tip of how within one year, the ruling party has not only lost whatever goodwill it gained through unrealistic campaign promises before the elections, it has got to a situation where the party can no longer manage itself and has obdurately headed irreversibly for the precipice.
With her unsavoury attitudes in the senate that have become legendary, Senator Remi Tinubu who claims to be a deaconess in one of the leading churches in Nigeria has proved to be the exact opposite of what is expected of a godly woman.
In an interview she granted Vanguard newspaper and published on March 2, 2015, Remi, in response to one of the questions asked her, had said with panache “I am not a pastor, I am just a deaconess but I am a graduate of Bible College”.
It is therefore most unfortunate that while the Tinubus had expended great resources to build and nurture the APC, Remi, despite her Bible knowledge, does not seem to have come across the biblical passage that says “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish (woman) pulls it down with her (own) hands” (Proverbs 14:1). This is not about feminism, it is about etiquette, womanly gait and senatorial poise. In all these, Remi has faltered severely and failed severally.
On one occasion, this same lady had left her own seat and mischievously sat on the seat of the Deputy Senate President in the senate chamber. On another occasion, she had ridiculed herself by defying the ethics imposed on her as senator of the federal republic by refusing to shake the hands of the senate president on the day of her inauguration into the eighth senate. Of all the senators, she was the only one who carried her bitterness to such an abysmal level.
Her image of near-physical combat with another senator is all over the social media where she was caught belligerently showing the “waka” sign with her five fingers to a fellow senator. But for the intervention of other senators, she probably would have gone the “Oshodi” way of removing her head gear and tying it round her waist in readiness for what would have been an unsolicited entertaining fisticuff whose only reward is shame, ridicule and embarrassment.
Where she is not in a physical combat with fellow senators, she is in a verbal fracas as if she regularly gets some pat on the back from home for being so manifestly bellicose! So, her latest victim was an equally “omo ita” senator in the person of Dino Melaye who has since returned from Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi in Lagos where he had gone to show himself to “Ahab” like Elijah of old. As if to further ridicule the prophets of Baal, Dino Melaye had earlier declared that Tinubu is not god!
Unfortunately for Remi Tinubu, Melaye has since confessed that he does not have the anointing to keep quiet when provoked especially in the manner Remi did. In other words, that Senator Ike Ekweremadu kept his cool while Senator Tinubu sat on his chair the other day; that the senate president, Senator Bukola Saraki acted as if nothing happened the day Remi embarrassed him before live TV, does not mean that Dino would act same way. After all, we all have our elastic limits which differ from one person to another.
The man who kept quiet when his official seat was usurped and the man whose hands were left hanging embarrassingly, yet, kept quiet, might land a slap if called a thug or a dog, we never can tell. So, those who are quick to blame Dino without reprimanding Remi as well because she is female should not forget that being a woman is not a licence for persistent recalcitrance and public nuisance. She should learn to emulate other great women of influence and affluence like the late Dora Akunyili, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Florence Ita-Giwa, Folorunsho Alakija, Arunma Oteh, Omobola Johnson, Onyeka Onwenu, Nkoyo Toyo just to mention but a few.
This is why it is laughable when some emergency woman rights groups have also suddenly emerged and woken up from slumber claiming to be protesting against Dino’s response to Remi on this particular occasion. Are these groups condoning the abuses and fighting Remi sparks in the senate? They all need to do a rethink or else they would be sending the wrong message to our children, boys and girls alike, that such acts of pugnacity are not only acceptable but also commendable whether in the senate or in the larger society.
One wonders where these women groups were when Ese Oruru and others were kidnapped and forced into criminal unions in the name of marriage. Where were these groups when women’s livelihood were being destroyed in Lagos through the illegal demolition of their shops even when there were subsisting court orders that government should not embark on those demolitions? Where have they been all this while when Fulani herdsmen have been raping women and killing children with reckless abandon in some parts of the country without government intervention? Where were they when Mrs Bridget Agbaheme and Eunice Olawale were gruesomely murdered by Islamic extremists in Kano and Abuja recently? Or is it that the lives of these defenceless and hapless women do not matter like that of their godmother, Remi Tinubu?
This is where the men will also do well to admonish Remi Tinubu’s husband to learn to restrain his wife from almost always going overboard in her public actions and reactions in manners capable of sparking avoidable rows. An African proverb says that if we must blame the hawk for swooping on the chicks, we must first of all blame the mother hen for exposing her chicks.
Let me end this piece with this quote: “This is a lesson to all women whose husbands have political ambition. Go and help yourself, go to school, learn the art of carriage, learn finesse, learn self control, learn diplomacy, learn public speaking, understand your limitations, read voraciously, learn about dignity and integrity, discipline and respect…”. Madam Remi Tinubu, that apt admonition was from one of your acolytes, Joe Igbokwe, in one of his acerbic writings addressing another woman published in Sahara Reporters on July 15, 2013. He did not know that the essay would come back to haunt his godmother in future.
Order, next time, please!
By Jude Ndukwe
[email protected]; Twitter: @StJudeNdukwe