“Think before you speak” is a piece of advice that the Senator representing Kogi West in the National Assembly, Mr. Dino Melaye, should find useful if he is not unteachable. He demonstrated remarkable unthoughtfulness when he spoke on the floor of the Senate on March 2. Or should the counsel be “Speak after thinking”?
On the positive side, Melaye spoke in favour of made-in-Nigeria products and argued that Nigerians should patronise things made in Nigeria. Then he got carried away and perhaps stopped thinking for a while as he reportedly made a reference to Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole and his Cape Verdean wife, Iara.
Melaye was quoted as saying: “We will also move in order to encourage made-in-Nigeria products and begin to talk about made-in-Nigeria women. Apologies to my uncle, the Governor of Edo State, we must, as a people, stop paying dowries in dollars and pounds. It is time for my colleagues here to become born-again.”
To be fair, the question must be asked whether Melaye meant that Nigerian women could be regarded as made-in-Nigeria products. His choice of words was certainly insensitive, to put it mildly. Likening women to products not only belittled women but also insulted women. There is such a thing as the objectification of women, which is what Melaye did by his unthinking utterance.
Melaye’s mention of Oshiomhole and his wife reflected the mind of a mischief-maker. What has Oshiomhole’s marriage got to do with the promotion of made-in-Nigeria products?
More importantly, Melaye displayed narrow-mindedness unbecoming of a Senator in a world that is regarded as a global village. Perhaps only a vacuous mind would try to make an issue of a mixed marriage involving a Nigerian man and a Cape Verdean woman or, by extension, any intermarriage involving a Nigerian and a foreigner.
The point is that Melaye could have made his point without turning himself into an object of ridicule by mouthing irrelevancies. When a Senator opens his mouth in the Senate chamber, he should watch his mouth. Melaye should learn to keep his mouth shut if he can’t think before speaking.