Senate Orders Tinubu Probe Over Disparaging Comments On Leadership

Oluremi-Tinubu1The Senate, on Thursday, directed its Ethics Committee to probe the Senator representing Lagos Central, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, for allegedly making comments that bring the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to disrepute.

This followed the motion moved by Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), who cited to two newspaper publications to substantiate his allegation.

Senator Ndoma-Egba said there was the need for the Senate to investigate the former Lagos first lady, who is the Vice Chairman of the Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity, over disparaging comments against the red chamber and its leadership.

The Senate Leader moved a motion citing Order 43 (Privileges) of the Senate Standing Orders (2011, as amended) and informed the chamber that some newspaper interviews granted by Senator Tinubu reportedly bemoaned “the rot” in the Senate.

Also, in another newspaper interview, Senator Ndoma noted that Senator Tinubu had accused the leadership of the Senate of pandering to the Peoples Democratic Party-led (PDP) executive arm of government.

The Senate Leader said: “I would have brought this matter on the first day of our resumption, but for 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’s a story carried in Thisday of June 5, 2014, attributed to a distinguished colleague of ours, Senator Oluremi Tinubu and the headline is this: ‘Activities in the Senate are depressing’ and I will read, with your kind permission, a portion of the story”.

He read the report thus: “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 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 government which is led by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’, I will just stop here”, he said.

“There’s another story in the Daily Trust of Monday, June 9, 2014, again attributed to Senator Oluremi Tinubu: ‘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 the 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 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”, Ndoma-Egba said.

Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the sitting, immediately referred the matter to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions headed by Senator Ayo Akinyelure.

He said: “This matter is referred to the committee so that they can have Senator Tinubu present her own side of the story and if possible, invite the newspapers which published the stories”, adding that the Committee has two weeks to submit its report to the Senate for consideration.

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