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Five things Senator Dino Melaye needs to do - Nigeria News - Talk Africana

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Five things Senator Dino Melaye needs to do by AndrewO: 10:1 am On 7 Jul 2016
Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi
Dear Senator Dino Melaye,
I hope all is well with you. I trust you had a
safe trip back to Abuja after your ‘Show of
Strength’ walk on Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi,
Lagos. It seems your walk was not
properly advertised in advance, otherwise
you would have been very warmly received
by Lagos boys. I am sure no harm would
have come to you, it is only your pockets
that would have suffered.
I am writing in connection with the very
exciting week you have had, specifically on
the floor of the Senate where you got into
a serious altercation with a female
colleague of yours, Senator Remi Tinubu.
In light of this development, I will like to
offer you some unsolicited advice, which I
hope you will accept in good faith. I will
like to suggest the following:
You have to apologise to all Nigerian
women
According to media reports, the exchange
between you and Senator Tinubu was a
very heated one. It is claimed that you
threatened to beat her, “f…k” her up and
“impregnate” her. Oh dear! Considering the
fact that it is not possible to impregnate a
woman without intercourse (unless it is
through IVF, but we know you were not
thinking of that method) it means that you
were actually threatening Tinubu with rape
on the floor of the Senate. This is not only
totally unacceptable, it is criminal. Two
days later, you emerged with your own
side of the story. You claimed she called
you a “dog”. I know Tinubu is no slouch
when it comes to verbal warfare, but she
did not threaten you with castration. You
could have called her names in response,
and you would have been even. You did
call her “Bonga fish” but apparently that
was not enough, you had to go further, to
show her that you are “the man”. Let us
set aside “she said”, “he said” for a
moment. Let us look at what you said.
According to you, even if you were so
inclined, you could not impregnate Mrs
Tinubu because she had reached
menopause! So now, menopause is a
crime? An affliction? How is the
gynaecological status of your colleague
any of your business?
There have been calls for you to apologise
to Senator Tinubu. I believe you need to do
that. However, she is not the only person
you need to apologise to. You have to
apologise to all Nigerian women for such a
vicious and obscene attack on a female
colleague. By bringing threats of sexual
assault and mockery of her menopausal
status into play, you have offended millions
of wives, mothers and daughters. The
husbands, fathers and sons who are
reticent about the women in their lives
playing a role in politics will find
themselves vindicated through these
action of yours. What transpired on the
floor of the Senate last week was not just
a bad day at the office for the elected
senators, it was a terrible thing for
Nigerians, especially women. Dino, we will
be expecting that unreserved apology.
You need to rebrand yourself.
Every political space should be broad
enough to accommodate the brazen, the
eccentric and the colourful. Politicians
with your skills set who can do and say
things others cannot, are necessary when
unconventional strategies are required. I
am not saying you are crying more than
the bereaved, but if you take a look at your
political leader, Dr Bukola Saraki, the
Senate President, not even his many
political foes would describe him as a thug
or brute. It is therefore understandable
that you feel the need to play the foil to
your polished boss.
When people think of the name, Dino
Melaye, in Nigerian politics today, the
name is synonymous with negative
controversy, brawling, sex scandals,
reckless statements, allegations of
domestic violence, distasteful flamboyance
– an all-round bad boy image. You have all
kinds of nicknames, ranging from “Shakiti
Bobo, to Rofo Rofo Senator to Dino the
Dinosaur.” Dino, are you sure you want
these characterisations of you to become
set in stone? Is this the brand you are
comfortable with? We have many branding
experts in Nigeria. I strongly suggest that
you invest in them, perhaps, they can help
project you as an articulate, charismatic
leader and social justice advocate who
speaks truth to power but is mindful of his
age, status, words and audience. That is
the brand that will take you to the next
level. The brand you are stuck with now is
one that brings diminishing returns.
You should re-position yourself as a
positive male role model
Senator Dino, I am sure you will agree with
me that our youths in Nigeria need positive
role models. It is important for young
people to be able to look up to both men
and women for guidance, but it is even
more powerful when young people can see
themselves in role models of the same
gender. We need our young men to have
manners, and be polite, responsible
citizens. We do not want to see our sons
fighting over paternity scandals with their
Baby Mamas, accused of beating their
wives, or threatening their colleagues with
sexual violence. The next time you feel like
whacking one of your colleagues, please,
remember that young people may model
themselves after you.
Show us your own ‘local product’.
Remember when you took Governor Adams
Oshiomhole of Edo State to task for using
scarce foreign exchange to marry and
import a “foreign product”? We know you
have had a couple of misadventures when
it comes to matters of the heart. I wish
you better luck in that department. You are
entitled to privacy, however, you take an
unseemly interest in the spouses of others.
If they are not “foreign”, they are too
“Bonga fish” for your liking or horror of
horrors – menopausal! Senator, please
show us your own local, curvy, far from
menopausal product. And be sure to let us
know when she hits menopause so that we
can all help you inform her that she is no
longer useful. At least, we know that
Governor Oshiomhole did not waste his
dollars on his own “import”!
You may not need the blessings of your
elders, but you should avoid their curses
Regardless of where we stand on the
ideological spectrum or the company we
keep politically, our starting point is our
humanity, and the imperatives that it
comes with. We may not always see eye to
eye with our elders. It is alright to disagree
on matters of principle or strategy. It is
not alright to dehumanise each other. Even
if you cannot find it within yourself to
respect Tinubu as a colleague, you can at
least think about the fact that her
husband, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is an elder
statesman, a formidable leader well-
respected within and beyond the country.
We are brought up to respect our elders,
and even when they upset us, we learn to
rein in our tongues and tempers. We were
also taught that one of the most coveted
things in life is the blessing and prayers of
elders. This means one of the worst things
is the curses of an elder. The most
garrulous soldier is not the bravest man in
the garrison. A word is enough for the
wise.
So, my Dear Brother, Dino, I hope you will
do what is necessary and focus on your
primary task of being a lawmaker in the
Senate. Battles are commonplace in the
political arena, and all kinds of weapons
are deployed. The dignity of women should
not be one of such weapons. I wish you all
the best.
PS: Senator, we Nigerian women will
forgive everything if you can deploy your
unique skills in our defence when the
Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill is re-
presented at the Senate. We need to see
you in action – anyone who opposes the
bill should incur your wrath. Spare no one!
If you can do that, we will wipe the slate
clean and your rebranding would be well on
the way.

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