The Senate yesterday accused Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central) of gross misconduct and breach of privileges over the reports credited to her in some national dailies where she accused leaders of the Senate of providing uninspiring leadership and always pandering to the whims and caprices of the executive.
Consequently, the parliament ordered the senator who was absent from yesterday’s plenary to appear before the Senate Committee on Ethics to explain the reason she made the perceived “reckless” comment and why disciplinary action should not be taken against her. The committee has two weeks to conclude the assignment and report back to the Senate.
Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, who raised the matter under Order 15 and 16 of Senate Standing Rules, read quotes attributed to Tinubu in the newspapers and accused her of contempt and breach of privileges. The senator was said to have made the remark in Lagos while giving account of her stewardship.
In one of the publications, the senator who is the wife of a former governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu, was quoted to have said that given the poor and sentimental leadership being provided in the Senate, she would not return to the parliament in 2015 unless the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) secures majority status which she said could earn the party the opportunity to attain the leadership of the Senate. Tinubu was also said to have remarked that she was “depressed with various activities that go on in the Senate daily,” adding: “Senate is not a place I really want to go back to except APC becomes the majority. But if it is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government, I don’t think it is the environment I will like to be again. I have had my fill.”
However, Ndoma-Egba while decrying Tinubu’s comment which he believed was deliberately meant to malign the image of both the leadership of the Senate as well as the entire parliament, accused her of playing to the gallery by going to the press to disparage the institution to which she belongs.
He described the action as misplaced since she had the opportunity and privilege to raise any issue she was dissatisfied with in the chamber.
Ndoma-Egba, who was visibly angry over the development, emphasised that his privilege had been breached by the action.
He said: “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 and 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.
“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. 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.”