Friday, June 27, 2014

Senate Probes Tinubu’s Wife Over Comments on Performance

The Senate on Thursday directed its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate its Vice Chairman of the Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, over her alleged criticisms of the red chamber and its leadership in the media.

The action was sequel to a motion raised by the Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), under Order 43 (Privileges) of the Senate Standing Orders (2011, as amended).

Ndoma-Egba drew the attention of his colleagues to some newspaper publications on the interview granted by Tinubu, where she reportedly condemned “the rot” in the Senate.

The senator, who represents Lagos Central Senatorial District, had allegedly said that the actions of the Senate leadership were always sympathetic to the Peoples Democratic Party-led executive arm of government.

Ndoma-Egba said, “I would have brought this matter on the first day of our resumption but for the respect for the memory of our departed colleague, Senator Dahiru Awaisu Kuta.

“Today, therefore, is my earliest opportunity to raise it, and that is why I raise this matter of privilege.

“There is a story carried in ThisDay of June 5, 2014, attributed to a distinguished colleague of ours, Senator Oluremi Tinubu. The headline is this: ‘Activities in the Senate are depressing’, and I will read with your kind permission.

“Part of the story reads, ‘Senator Oluremi Tinubu, representing Lagos Central Senatorial District took a swipe at the leadership of the Senate, accusing it of poor performance.

“Tinubu, at a media parley, to mark her third anniversary in the Senate, said activities in the upper legislative chamber were depressing because its leadership had failed to address a lot of pressing national issues for partisan reasons.

“She accused the Senate leadership of pandering to the wishes of the executive arm of the government, which is led by the Peoples Democratic Party. I will just stop here.

“There is another story in the Daily Trust of Monday, June 9, 2014, again attributed to Senator Oluremi Tinubu, which is entitled, “Why I may not return to the Senate in 2015” and with your kind permission, I may just read a little of it.”

“Wife of a former Lagos State governor, Oluremi Tinubu, said she may not return to the Senate next year, if the rot in the upper chamber persists…Mrs. Tinubu said she’s depressed with the various activities that go on in the Senate…”

“Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, as I said before, I’m a Senator first and foremost and by the grace of my colleagues, a member of the leadership of the Senate. To the best of my knowledge, Senator Tinubu has never raised any concern with me or with the leadership on the activities of the Senate.”

“So, I object very, very seriously to the comments made by Senator Tinubu and I want to submit that my privilege, as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has been breached by the said Senator.”

“I think it is most unkind, it is most uncharitable for a distinguished Senator, who has the opportunity of raising concerns with her colleagues, not doing so and going straight to the media to play to the gallery.”

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the session, thereafter, referred the matter to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, chaired by Senator Ayo Akinyelure, a Labour Party member representing Ondo Central.

He said the committee has two weeks to submit its report to the Senate for consideration.

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