Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, in the Nigerian Senate. Senator Melaye has been in the news frequently in recent times for his political disagreements with both the Kogi state and federal government, and his indictment by the police.
We as indigenes claim joint ownership of Kogi state and none of us can claim to be more Kogi than the other. In fairness, this is what the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello stands for and why it has consistently tried to democratize access to all the opportunities, assets and resources of Kogi state to all Kogites. Beyond that is the basic rule of law which guarantees equality before the law and freedom from bias to all Nigerian citizens. This is why I am pained any time a Kogite, especially a youth; makes believe that privileges should be a buffer against the consequences of one's own actions. It is navel-gazing. Unfortunately, every time the system has handed a politically exposed person his just desserts, they are those among us who will take up the matter as a case of victimization. The running battle between Senator Dino Melaye and the police has not been different kettle of fish.
In the last couple of months, Dino Melaye, the senator representing Kogi West has come face to face with the radioactive fallout from his own toxic actions. This is nothing strange, one would say. People are forever paying for their wrongdoings. Unfortunately, in Dino’s case, people are blaming the Nigerian police, President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Yahaya Bello, anyone and everyone but himself for the long overdue perfectly proper legal payback coming to him. The funny thing is that majority of those selling this story of ‘Victimized Dino’ narrative are very much aware of his litany of offences, any of which would send a less connected individual to years of prison without protest from any quarter. Those who are genuinely ignorant can also find out details of any of the matters involving the senator in just five minutes of research on the internet. Dino Melaye has certainly not had a colourful career since he became a federal legislator in Nigeria, moreso since his stint in Senate of the 8th Assembly. He has careened from one shameful episode to another without loss of enthusiasm. His constituency is so mortified his people do expressly arm-open to recalling him. He tramples over laws and norms with equal abandon and exudes the careless confidence of one who believes he can get away with anything. He does anyway, with fraudulent people backing him always. No matter what he does, he is reinforced by a support base which has proven incapable of interrogating his behavior. Whether for gain or expediency, and no matter how outrageous his conduct, this group will always fawn over him, exonerate him, then find another suitable figure to blame for him. Despite all the contrary evidence, they will persist in pushing the victim narrative for him. It is safe then to conclude that such persons have a view of current affairs in Nigeria generally, and Kogi state particularly, which is jaundiced by political resentment and difficult to displace, even by facts. No wonder the man, emboldened by this captive cheer-leading squad, fancies himself a modern day cross between Harry Houdini and Simon ‘The Saint’ Templar, and misbehaves accordingly. For those who are not afraid of the truth or its detractors, Senator Dino Melaye is nothing short of a bull in a china shop to Nigeria's democracy. Notwithstanding his occasional impassioned speeches on the floor ostensibly espousing matters of interest to the masses, the man is a confirmed demagogue whose fluid loyalties always coalesce on the side of vested interests every time push comes to shove. A full exploration into the ruinous political career of the senator, particularly on the federal stage, would have to go way back beyond a decade and require nothing less than a full biography. Nobody has that kind of time to waste, least of all this writer. However, an exploratory foray can be accommodated, if only to highlight the more disastrous episodes of consistent deviance and the attendant hypocrisy which runs through Dino’s legislative career like a crack through the length of a poorly set out building. For a politician who has his name on a US Government report on the politically motivated assassination of Victor Obafaiye, Dino Melaye does carry on like there is no tomorrow. See paragraph 23 at (https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100498.htm.) And why not? The former PDP government was only too happy to sweep the matter under the carpet. He was their errand boy in the House of Representatives, and subsequently proved very useful in burying ginormous amounts of sleaze. As a federal lawmaker, he was a prominent player in the #EttehGate crisis which rocked the House of Representatives over the former speaker's alleged official corruption involving hundreds of millions of naira. Melaye threw himself with gusto into the ensuing brawls which claimed the life of another lawmaker, Dr. Aminu Safana, in 2007. Melaye remains remarkably unacquainted with remorse over that incident, even today. Despite the presence of high school students on excursion to the House, he fought with such glee that when it finally ended, a picture of him with his clothes torn to shreds flashing an ecstatic goofy grin became the iconic invariable any time the media needs a stock image for a story on irresponsible politics, politicians or both. By her own accounts, Melaye relentlessly battered his wife of 10 years and finally drove her from their matrimonial home at gunpoint. Ditto the live-in lover he replaced her with. That one fled for dear life and sanity within the year. With such a track record of sadistic violence against women, Melaye does have a lot of nerve sitting in a Senate which legislates, among other things, on the rights of women. It is no wonder that Senator Oluremi Tinubu wasted no time in seeking police protection when he threatened her with ra*e and assault on the floor of the 8th Senate. A shocking corollary of Melaye's verbal attacks on Senator Tinubu was that her husband, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, dared him to lay a finger on his wife. Other foot-soldiers of the national leader of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) took it a step further and banned Dino from setting foot in the south =west upon pains of unnamed consequences. Foolhardy man-child that he is, he did anyway. He took a flight to Lagos, carefully chose a time when the Tinubus’