The rift between Senator Oluremi Tinubu representing Lagos Central senatorial district and Senator Dino Melaye representing Kogi West senatorial district is far from being over.
Senator Tinubu on Tuesday formally lodged complaints against Melaye before the Senate and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In her letter addressed to the Senate President Bukola Saraki, Tinubu urged the Senate to discipline Melaye.
“I write to lodge a formal complaint concerning the improper behaviour of Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi State) that transgresses all norms of legislative etiquette and decorum. The gross misconduct took place during the Executive Session of the Senate on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 over which you presided as Senate President.
“The totality of the misconduct amounted to an assault against my person, as a Senator, as female and a law-abiding citizen of Nigeria. I take the cautionary step of submitting this letter in order to seek proper recourse that will protect me against criminal assault on the floor of the Senate (or elsewhere) that I and other lawmakers may exercise our rights as Senators to represent our Constituencies in the manner and with the decorum befitting this hallowed Chamber.
“I write that such misconduct as that exhibited by Senator Melaye shall never be repeated against me or any other Senator and so that reputation and the vital functions of the Senate as a respectful deliberative body shall not be undermined.
“I note that a week has passed since the indecorous eruption by Senator Melaye. However, the Senate leadership has been silent and has not reacted to the threatening misconduct of Senate Melaye.
“So that this serious transgression of the legislative behaviour is not allowed to pass, I formally submit for the record that I object to the reckless misconduct of Senator 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 Senator Dino 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.
“In summation, unless Senator 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.
“In an attempt to preserve the dignity of the Senate, I have refrained from saying anything in public outside of the Executive Chamber about this incident; However, Senator Dino has become unmoored and has since paraded his misconduct in public as if to threaten a Female Senator is a badge of pride. It is a sad day for Nigeria if such misconduct is to be condoned and smiled upon.
“Consequently, I submit this letter to formally record my objections to Senator Melaye’s untoward misconduct and to ask the Senate Leadership to recognise the gravity of the situation and take appropriate action,” she wrote.
In her letter addressed to the APC leadership, Tinubu called for investigation into the incident.
“I submit to the chairman of the APC this formal complaint regarding the improper and harmful product of Senator Dino Melaye of Kogi State towards me which occurred at the executive session of the Senate on July 12th 2016 what took place at the session was nothing short of a threat of physical assault and abuse Against Me by Senator Melaye. As such, it was an affront to the Senate, this government and to our party.
“For a party member to so antagonise and Hector another APC member in this fashion places to party in disrepute and undermines the unity needed to accomplish the sober task of reforming Nigeria for the better.
“Much of what took place has been widely reported in the media. However, I would like to place on record for the party this formal complaint and hope that the party will act to appropriately sanction Senator Melaye for his malign Behavior. In this way, the party will affirm its policy of zero tolerance for gender discrimination and to restore its reputation as a vehicle of positive change and not an arm of regression and intolerance towards women.
“During the 12th of June executive session, I was only recognised to speak by the Senate President after senator Dino Melaye had spoken and berated some Senate colleagues over their perceived roles in the judicial case involving the Senate leadership.
“Although, ring means silent and attempted no interjection during his statement, Senator Malaya try 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 threats made, reminding him that other senators were there by equal rights as he and represented their constituents.
“In a burst of apparent rage, Senator Malay 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. Senator 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. Senator Melaye threaten 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 Senator Melaye took neither into consideration as the issue threats of rape and assault, while boasting that he would face no consequence even if he fulfill these criminal threats.
“Compounding the damage inflicted by Senator Dino 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 Senate leadership has heretofore been silent on this matter as if condoning the behavior of the senator.
“Rufus letter, I officially inform the party about the improper behaviour of Senator Melaye and ask the party to investigate this matter in order to restore the public and image and moral standing of the party and of the APC members in the senate. In public in age and moral standing of the party and of APC members in the senate. In this matter, we show that we reject the misconduct that has wrong 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 to know how to behave, according decorum befitting their elected positions.”