The name Dino Melaye, or simply called, Dino, gained unparalleled and national attention when the man was in the House of Representatives. It is a name that became associated with brigandage, rascality and unimaginable notoriety. Indeed, mischief could be said to be another word you could never dismiss each time the name is mentioned. Of course, those who were with him in the Ahmed Bello University (ABU), Zaria where he was mainly regarded and treated as a “hired thug” knew the heights the man could go to achieve his objective. But most of his fellow students in the university thought they had seen the worst of the “hired thug” then. It was therefore a great surprise to see their ex-student in the House of Representatives displaying the same pranks for which he was very notorious in the university.
Dino Melaye is currently facing his biggest political battle. Their surprise knew no bounds when they further discovered that there was no letting up in his capacity for mischief. It was not difficult to spot Dino in a crowd, let alone in the House of Representatives. If he was not raising frivolous “point of order,” he was quarrelling with a colleague, or he was engaging in fisticuffs in the legislative chamber. And he had no scruples descending into the arena once things are not going in his way. He was a poster boy without shame! No one gave him a chance to return to the House let alone being elevated to the upper legislative chamber. But, he joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) which gave him ticket to run for the Senate. And he ‘won’ against all odds.
Perhaps, it was the APC bandwagon effect that enabled him to win. Interestingly, Senator Dino Melaye representing Kogi West Senatorial District has not changed his trademark spots. Instead, he has continued to grow in leaps and bounds, making him the “jester in chief” of the upper legislative chamber, with a predilection towards mischief of all sorts. His DNA remains constant as the northern star.
Undoubtedly, President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the leadership of the Senate have found him very useful each time there is a proxy war to be fought. They simply deploy Dino as a hired goon to take on anyone, including senators seeking to undermine principal officers of the upper chamber. Our man could be said to have assumed a larger than life stature. Little did he know his nemesis was lurking in the corner.
Of course, there was no way Dino could have predicted or imagined that he would find his match in Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the governor of Kogi state. Neither could he have thought that anyone, let alone a man he campaigned for and was the master of ceremonies at his inauguration, would end to be his albatross. But, Governor Bello has repeatedly outwitted the Kogi West senator as far as supremacy battle is concerned. In fact, the relatively young chief executive may well preside over the political demise of our dear Dino unless reason prevails and the latter retraces his steps.
It is true that Senator Dino Melaye was one of those who backed Yahaya Bello after the sudden death of Alhaji Abubakar Audu for the governorship ticket of the APC in Kogi state. This support has interestingly made Dino to consider himself a benefactor of the governor. Unfortunately, the governor has rightly refused to submit to the leadership of the senator, giving that the former is actually the leader of APC in Kogi apart from being the Chief Security Officer of the state. This has led to a game of wits between the two. Although the governor has refused to admit his role in the recent travails of the senator, it is obvious that he is the puppeteer behind the attempt to finally rubbish Dino’s political career. And there seems to be no end to the unfolding quagmire confronting our man, Dino. One of the predicaments that Dino has to contend with is the attempt by the people of Kogi West Senatorial District, his constituents, to have him recalled from the National Assembly.
Despite efforts by Dino to stop Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from triggering the recall process, he has not been able to do so. In fact, the Court of Appeal has given the nod to INEC to commence the recall. Then there is the arraignment of Melaye for unlawful possession of arms and alleged kidnapping based on a ‘confession’ by suspects claimed to be members of his gang.
As political as the charges seem, it is difficult to see how the man can entirely be absolved for the said crimes especially with the unresolved case of the murder of one Mr. Victor Obafaiye, a principal witness for the Action Congress in the Kogi State Election Tribunal who was said to be in possession of documents that might have shown that Melaye tampered with election results but was murdered before he could appear in court to testify, according to a report monitored on Sahara Reporters. By and large, it is obvious that Governor Bello has a bag of wits with which he has effectively curtailed Senator Dino Melaye’s machinations, especially as it concerns Kogi state.
Despite outright denials and sometimes mute response from the governor, it is clear that he is ahead of the plot to finally retire the loquacious senator, unless party elders intervene early. Undoubtedly, Dino has finally met his match. No one knows who will triumph in the end.
But for now, the governor has the head start. It is almost impossible to see how the senator could turn the tables around. The cookie is on a roller coaster for Dino and no one seems interested to help.
*Shaibu is an Abuja-based public communication consultant