A politician and educationist, Mrs Arinola Oloko, who had an altercation with Senator Oluremi Tinubu, has narrated what transpired between them.
Oloko is the woman captured in a viral video objecting to being called a ‘thug’ by Tinubu at the venue of the public hearing on constitution review in Lagos last Wednesday.
Speaking in an interview on Arise Television programme, ‘The Morning Show,’ on Friday, Oloko said she does not want the issue to overshadow the major issues confronting the country.
She said: “Invitations were sent to people to participate in the public hearing (for constitution review) which I attended with two other representatives from Bethel Nigeria – a non-partisan group interested in a better Nigeria. We had prepared our presentation and had been on the queue for a long time that day. People had been going in because they had their cards already given to them ahead of the programme, only for us to get to the door and be told that the hall was full and they already had 250 people seated and that was the capacity. It was a programme that was supposed to cover participants from Oyo, Ogun and Lagos States with the latter having a population of almost 20 million people.
“Besides, you were supposed to hold the meeting at TBS (Tafawa Balewa Square) only for it to be changed to Mariott Hotel at the last minute. I suggested to the crew outside on getting a screen so that we could participate and at least be a part of the process. We didn’t even mind if we were not seated, and that was it.
“Senator Oluremi Tinubu is my senator and I respect her as my senator. I have tremendous respect for authority. We were at the venue, standing in a queue, only for us to get to a point and they said registration had closed. They did not say from the beginning that they had a certain number that they were restricting the hearing to. If so, they should have made us register online, so that we would have known that on getting to the centre we wouldn’t bother trying to enter. Also, we saw (other) people coming in; senators were coming in, governors, local government chairmen, government officials and a few other people who came to present papers (were coming in) but it didn’t look like a proper representation of the people.
“Everybody says the constitution is faulty. They (government)said we cannot get a new constitution; but we can get a review. Now, to present our contributions, we can’t. I was expecting a proper hearing for the Senate constitutional review. I was genuinely interested in the hearing. I was talking with those at the entrance, asking them to be fair and allow us to enter. I don’t know what happened but the Senator came out and started saying, ‘Call that woman! Come here!’
“By default, I responded and went to her (Mrs Tinubu). I told her my name and told her I am in her constituency and that she is my senator and that we had been in the queue like forever.
“I tried to recount everything that had transpired to her. In my mind, I thought she would say, ‘Oh, this is wrong and all of that.’ But she said, ‘Shut up! Shut up! Call the security to take this thug away.’
“At that point, I told her, ‘Ma, I am not a thug; I don’t look like a thug. I am not being violent and I don’t look a criminal. That’s the qualification of a thug and I refuse to be addressed as one. I am a Lagosian in your constituency and I have a right.’ That was all that happened.
“The video speaks for itself. Do they really want us to be a part of the review? If you do not want us to be involved, don’t pretend as if you do. It took me weeks to get people to follow me there. They had said it was a scam, so that it won’t be said that people were called and they didn’t attend.”
Oloko, who holds a Master’s degree in Public Health, had earlier posted on her Twitter handle: “The venue of the public hearing of such importance to the future and determination of the people of Nigeria was changed from a venue with a capacity to accommodate 50,000 people to a venue to accommodate 300 people at the last minute.
“It’s been two years since they have been in power and I think people do not understand the process. We have to understand what we are into before we can have a yardstick to follow. They are not even letting us into things they are doing. We cannot question them. So, really, we do not know what to measure them with in governance.
“I think we need to look back and see why things have not worked. We want the government to empower the girl-child and improve the quality of education. With all the violence going on, I feel if we want to change the narrative, we have to be a part of it. I will run for office again.
“Why are we always waiting for the government? Half of Nigerians do not know what it entails to be in politics here. I am using this opportunity to call on more Nigerians to be a part of the process, which is just it.”
Oloko, who contested for Lagos State House of Assembly seat in Eti-Osa Constituency 2 during the 2019 election under the Social Democratic Party, said Tinubu has not apologised to her, adding that her family acknowledged the fact that she was not rude and was only being assertive.
She urged Nightmares to change their mindset and try to differentiate between people that wants to serve genuinely and those that wants the status quotes to remain.