Saraki with Dino Melaye

Babatunde Faniyan

For his verbal Counter-attack on Senator (Mrs) Remi Tinubu, Senator Dino Melaye has been adjudged to have sinned.

Those in agreement, say “Aye” . . .
Those against, say “Nay” . . .

On Appeal before me however, and in my considered opinion, even from the little I know about him, I believe Senator Dino Melaye deserves forgiveness for his “sin”. Why? Because the sinful remarks were “pulled” out of him.

Senator Melaye appears, to me, as a self-made man – totally independent and insensible of “god fathers”. He has come a long, hard way – from Grass to the Gracious height he has attained today. In essence therefore, Senator Melaye is a rugged, No-nonsense achiever and activist. He is a man of forthright action; highly wired to produce, to perform, to do his job, to meet his calling, to impart powerfully on his space. He has little patience for frivolity; would resist groveling before any man-made “gods”, and would not tolerate any underserved, assault from any quarters.
Above all, he would not condone what he sincerely believes is NOT right.

In the other corner, Senator (Mrs) Oluremi Tinubu is an honourable lady; also a distinguished senator. More than that, Oluremi Tinubu flaunts some intimidating credentials – encapsulated in her circumstance and stature as the wife of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who needs no introduction. But one cannot resist making a note that Tinubu is universally acknowledged as Nigeria’s latest “kingmaker”.

The Nigerian media has been awash with scathing condemnations of Senator Melaye’s verbal attack against Senator Tinubu. Some have called for his head.

However, and instructively, we have had also, a handful of write-ups on Senator Oluremi Tinubu which were far from being complimentary. These commentators from the other side of the coin drew reference to the reality that an Oluremi Tinubu action led to the Dino Melaye reaction. They went on to unearth some previous evidences of her penchant for arrogance – rooted, no doubt, in the perceived unassailable power and influence of her husband.

So what does one expect when one arrogant Amazon verbally attacks a proud, gazelle of a man? There must be a corresponding reaction against the action.
And for all those calling for the head of Senator Melaye, “the sinner”, they should pause and ponder. In the setting before us, Senator Tinubu is no less a sinner. We can chastise Melaye more on the sentimental basis that he is a man counter-attacking a woman – a ‘weaker vessel”? And because many expect him to absorb the woman’s insults with due “respect” to her husband and cringe back? We have reports that many senators, including the former senate president, “avoid her like a plague”. Do we expect every one to cringe before her?

We should pause and ponder. Because there are bigger, more ferocious “sinners” than Dino Melaye in our midst, even in the corridors of power who, by acts of commission and/or omission, are physically assaulting the fabrics that hold together the life of our nation and steadily draining out our life-blood. We have power brokers who are condoning/sponsoring criminal gangs under different appellations who are murdering innocent Nigerians virtually on a daily basis, with the country’s leadership looking the other way, seemingly unperturbed.

Those who are now crying: “Crucify Dino Melaye!” did not forget to recall that he was involved in a fracas when he was at the House of Representatives. Right there on the floor of the House, his dress was torn. What they did not bring out is that Melaye was a victim of the assault and that he was actually defending a distinguished representative of the women-folk! It was at the time when many representatives were pushing for the removal of the then Speaker Patricia Ette. Melaye saw through the plot that there was indeed no cogent evidence to support the fraud allegations against her; that the major grouse was from some prominent Northern members who found it odious to bow before a woman. This, to Melaye was injustice (Corruption!) against the duly elected speaker. He therefore stood staunchly to defend her against heavy odds. This is the hallmark of one who is a genuine fighter against Corruption.
And across the board to millions of us who are scathing in our condemnations of Senator Melaye’s verbal counter attack, let us pause and ponder: how many of us have NOT committed the sin of firing a worse verbal attack one time or the other, in anger – even in the face of less provocation?

He who is without such a sin, let him cast the first stone.

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Babatunde Faniyan is a Lagos-based author, publisher and communications consultant.