Senator Oluremi Tinubu, the senator representing Lagos central at the national assembly, has spoken to the Press for the first time since her rift with Senator Dino Melaye.
Speaking in an interview with The Nation, Tinubu said she never wanted to speak to the Press about the row because it happened behind closed doors.
Tinubu said she was “overwhelmed” by the extent of support she received from Nigerian women following the controversial episode with her colleague, Dino Melaye, during an executive session of the senate.
She said: “I want to really appreciate Nigerian women for rising up to the occasion. When you say women, I am part of them. I am a woman to start with. And this is a terrain that is quite familiar to me. I have worked with them in many capacities even when my husband was the governor of Lagos State. These women reacted because they understood that such a blatant and unfair attack against one woman is an attack upon all.
“It is quite overwhelming for me, the way I have seen them rise up. Over the years, I have met with a lot of women groups either through a lot of social functions. What they did in the past couple of days, it is something I cannot really explain to you. It is something I had thought, do I really deserve this? I didn’t know how it happened. I was overwhelmed, I thank Nigerian women. I was overwhelmed, I was humbled by their solidarity, and I was touched. I want to use this opportunity to say from the bottom of my heart, I am very grateful.
“I decided not to even talk to the press on the issue. I believe whatever is said in the executive session is not supposed to be divulged to the public. So, I tried not to go to Lagos over the weekend; I avoided every social event and I stayed back. But when I got the reactions, I was overwhelmed. I didn’t know how it was leaked to the public.
“I tried to avoid a lot of public confrontations on the floor of the Senate. Except things are very crucial, very dear, that is when I rise to speak. I thought this intimidation has been going on for a long time and I just thought it was the time to speak out, for which it is good, because it was a closed session; no press was there.
“Like I told the Senate President that I only got up to speak because he said they would suspend people. Why will anybody bring up issue of suspension?
“Even in the 7th Senate, I have been known to speak my mind and also criticise the Senate if they were not doing what they were supposed to do for the people. I have done that over the years. And looking at the people who constitute the Committee on Ethics and Privileges, I felt this is not going to favour anyone. So, I just rose up and said: ‘Why are you threatening?’ That was how it went on and on.”