After the president announced the decison in a press statement on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, Senator Melaye argued during plenary in the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly that Abiola cannot be awarded the honour because he’s dead, and therefore no longer a Nigerian.
“A dead man is not a citizen of Nigeria and can’t receive the award,” he said.
In response to Melaye, Tundun, a lawyer, said her father gave his life for the lawmaker to enjoy the dividends of democracy that allows him to say whatever he wants.
Describing his comments as ‘laughable’ during an interview on Channels Television on Sunday, June 10, 2018, she said the lawmaker should make arguments that are sensible.
She said, “I thought it was a laughable statement, but I’m really happy that Dino Melaye can stand in the senate and make laughable statements. People like my father gave their lives for Dino Melaye to stand in the Senate and talk such rubbish, quite frankly.
“If we were still under the military, would he be able to do that? This is the beauty of democracy. Any honour that can be given should be given, and he is a Nigerian. It holds no water, Dino Melaye’s argument.
“He has every right to make an argument, this is the role of the opposition in a robust democracy and he’s doing that, but, for goodness’ sakes, let the argument be logical and sensible.
“Is he going to propose that somebody like Awolowo who’s also a GCFR holder should be stripped of his title because he’s died? I mean, it’s ridiculous!”
Abiola’s daughter says Melaye is petty
Tundun further described Senator Melaye as petty with his ‘ridiculous’ position on the honour conferred on her father.
“Moral indignation is also a part of human nature but that’s not what I’m hearing from Mr Melaye; he’s just being petty in the guise of moral indignation,” she said.
To support his position, Melaye had argued that the honour bestowed on Abiola was not in accordance with the provisions of the National Honours Act; hence, against the law.
He said to make Abiola, who he praised, deserving of the honour, the government should amend the National Honours Act.