The representative of Lagos-Central Senatorial District in the Senate, Oluremi Tinubu, has said as a Christian she has forgiven her Kogi-West counterpart, Senator Dino Melaye.
But she added that she would not be intimidated by anybody.
Tinubu said this on Wednesday when a delegation of the Lagos State House of Assembly members from Lagos-Central and members of the All Progressives Congress caucus in the Senate as well as some party leaders paid her a solidarity visit at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, on Wednesday.
The Lagos-Central caucus was led by Senator Muniru Muse, while the National Assembly caucus was led by Senator Gbenga Ashafa.
Tinubu had accused Melaye of assaulting her verbally during an executive session of the Senate last week Tuesday.
Melaye, who denied the allegation, had also made counter-claims that the female lawmaker also assaulted him verbally.
Tinubu said when she started to think about all that transpired in the Senate for some days on Wednesday, she shed tears for the first time on her encounter with Melaye.
She said, “When the Senate President invited me yesterday (Tuesday) and I gave my word. You can see the channel I have taken in the aftermath of the event. I reported to the IGP; I wrote to him also, after I waited for one week. When it happened, it was him I went to. I waited for one week and nothing was done. I also wrote to the party (the APC) chairman.
“I met with the Senate leadership yesterday (Tuesday) after one week; I met with him (Senate President Bukola Saraki) yesterday. And as a Christian, I said I had already forgiven him (Melaye) for the way I was treated. But the point is that what people don’t realise is that I am a very reserved person.
“After I gave my word to him (Saraki) yesterday, I told myself that at 55 I am not a wimp of anybody.
“I witnessed the Sani Abacha regime and I know what I saw and why I am committed to this cause. But now, my hands are tied to say I forgive people. I am a Christian; when I give my word, I must abide by it. But I am not scared to follow this through.
“I am not championing a cause for women. I am only standing in my space and if my space is encroached upon, I have to fight back. Rosa Parks wasn’t an activist; she just decided to sit in her space and not give up her space to anybody in a bus. And that sent a message.
“I want to use this opportunity to thank all Nigerian women who rose up; the women rights groups who are calling, conducting press conferences and doing a lot of things.”
The senator also denied sponsoring women groups to protest on her behalf against Melaye. She stated that she had given her best to her constituency in the past five years and that inspired the protests that had trailed the verbal assault on her.
“I didn’t give anybody anything; I don’t even have N80m in my personal salary account in the Senate. And I don’t think if I have any other savings I want to use it to mobilise women to protest. What about the investments we have put into politics? How much has that done for this country?” Tinubu said.
Earlier on Tuesday, hundreds of women from various groups had besieged the main gate of the National Assembly Complex, asking the leadership of the federal legislature to act on the matter.
The Woman Leader of the APC in South-West, Mrs. Kemi Nelson, stated that the assault on Tinubu was not only on the lawmaker alone but an insult to the women fold.
She argued that the protests were not all about Tinubu but in the general interest of women, more of whom, Nelson said, were now becoming victims of abuses and assault.
She said, “Enough is enough of such assault from Melaye to any woman in the society and the Senate must take a disciplinary action against him. This is impunity and it has to be stopped. We must be accorded out rights.”
Earlier, some members of the Lagos State House of Assembly on Wednesday besieged the National Secretariat of the APC to protest against Melaye.
The protesters including Desmond Elliot were led by the Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Wasiu Sani.
They said they were at the party headquarters to register their displeasure over Melaye’s alleged verbal assault on Mrs. Tinubu.
They also alleged that there appeared to be a conspiracy of silence by the leadership of the Senate over the incident, noting that as loyal party members, they could not fold their hands and watch the party’s cherished values of loyalty and respect for leaders being denigrated.
Sani, who later addressed newsmen after the closed door meeting with the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, said, “We are here to pay solidarity visit to Senator Oluremi Tinubu, that we condemn the act, she should not be intimidated and she should not yield to verbal assault.”
In response to allegations that the protest was sponsored, the lawmaker said, nobody sponsored them as “we are buoyant enough to sponsor ourselves.”
He also commented on allegations that Mrs. Tinubu was fond of causing trouble in the Senate.
The deputy speaker said, “For us, these are mere allegations. They are unproven.” Cc punch