This is not the end of Senator Dino Melaye politically, he shall rise again pretty soon. He is like the calabash in water, hardly can it be suppressed. We have seen him rose from obscurity to limelight – from seemingly nowhere to somewhere.
He brought Okun land to national reckoning and sustained it thus far. He seamlessly navigates his way through the world of activism, patronage and politics, capturing the minds of Nigerians.
The story of this man is a gripping tale of divinely written note laced with lyrical anecdote the tragic comedy experiences of a lad who goes on to become a billionaire by sheer grit and determination. In ABU Zaria,
he bulldozed his way into the consciousness of students unionism and remains a deciding reference until he exited the scene into the world of politics.
Characteristics of a goal-getter, he integrated himself into the political structure of General Buba Marwa when the latter was contesting Nigeria’s presidency under the People’s Democratic Party. Marwa lost the ticket but Dino won’t go the way of Marwa as he launched himself politically and thus began his voyage into national politics in 2007 when he won the seat to represent his people in the National Assembly as a member representing Kabba/Ijumu Federal Constituency. From a mere students agitator, Dino had become a federal legislator!
This unprecedented voyage would soon hit the rock when the devil in him manifested as he became the unofficial defender of Patricia Etteh, Speaker of the House of Representatives then. He could take a bullet for her, he could fight anyone for her. By the time Etteh had vacated her position, it was a Dino that was left at the mercy of his colleagues.
To reclaim his legitimacy as a honourable member, he had to employ different surviving mechanism including fighting physically. In one of these infamous outings, Dino was reduced to nakedness as every piece of clothing on him was shredded in rags. And this followed with an 8 months suspension from the House!
Like an Abiku child, Dino returned again in 2015 when he joined forces with the progressives to dislodge the people ‘s Democratic Party. He was the official MC of all the APC presidential campaigns and life in the party was an assured one for the Okun boy survivalist. In Kogi State, he became a strong political decider having won his first senatorial contest- having defeated Senator Smart Adeyemi of the PDP. Together, he galvanized votes for late Prince Abubakar Audu. He was the right-hand man of Audu. Then came Audu’s death and Dino changed. He didn’t only change but changed to a spitting viper, taunting the Igalas as being too greedy with power.
That was when he made his infamous speech, ‘The people voted for Audu, but God made Bello Governor, therefore, anyone who is against Bello is against God’!
Dino, now a senator in the 8th Assembly resurfaced again this time more daring than ever. With the unpopular emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President as against the wishes of his party’s wish, Dino assumed the position of a defender, attacker and striker for Saraki. He was firing from all angles. No one was spared in his protection of Saraki’s territorial dynasty. First to be hit, were the Tinubus, he reduced the Jagaban to almost a scorning reference. So daring and impulsive was Dino that he almost beat up Senator Remi Tinubu- threatening to put her in the family way! Not done, he took a flight to Boundilion – Tinubu’s residence and challenged the political godfather to touch him.
Not done, he took on his governor, Kogi state Alhaji Yahaya Bello, this fight was perhaps Dino’s albatross. This fight together with the others led to the political predicament of Dino. Yahaya Bello, another young man with pulsating energy as Dino went to the gutters as he mercilessly engaged Dino to a standstill. So vicious was the fight that Dino became a fugitive in Kogi state. Several attempts were made to have brought to Lokoja where cases of illegal arms possession, murder were tied to him. It was during this court order to have him face the law in Lokoja that he jumped from a moving vehicle and almost put ‘police in trouble’. Same time he climbed a tall tree running from assassins as he put it.
From every corner, Senator Dino was fighting everyone including the police. So notorious was his fight that he found the president as his last resort. During the 2018 Budget presentation, Dino was alleged to have led the booing gang that booed and humiliated president Muhammadu Buhari. So infuriated was the president that he left without waiting to hear the address of the leadership of the National Assembly. And since then, it was love lost relationship between Saraki, Dogara and the president with Dino playing the undertaker.
Can we also say of his needless jibe on Senator Godswill Akabio during the valedictory ceremony of the 8th senate?
In his usual uncouth jab, he mocked Akpabio for losing his bid to return to the senate and reminded him that only the street would Akpabio find resort having lost in all fronts. Today, Akpabio is a senior minister and one of the new APC leadership in the South-South while Dino is a guest of the street having lost his own senatorial bid. Indeed there is mystery in the affairs of men.
Dino conveys the tragedy of the Nigerian youth, he symbolizes every Nigerian struggle since he does not have any ancestral influence but like a neatly air-filled balloon, he pierced it thus not just letting out air but bursting the beautiful latex balloon.
His full characterization covers the Nigerian reality where personal interest defines existence. Like Ram Mohammed Thomas the child hero in the blockbuster ‘The slumdog millionaire ‘ Dino challenged the Nigerian reality where’ the poor can only dream of a good life and where rule of law are handmaidens of the rich’, Dino forges his destiny through sheer resilience, determination, perseverance, courage and brute force. He became a fascinating reference of inspirations and symbol for the poor masses as they look up to him for inspirations.
This was not to be as he too like those before him jumped ship and chose to identify with the oppressors he once fought. From Dino of the people, it became Dino of the rich.
As it is, the 9th Assembly may sail without Dino Melaye unless of course, the court decides otherwise. Until then, he is going to be a tenant of the street same place he wished Senator Godswill Akpabio. This is what unguided heroism can cause, it makes one vulnerable, exposed and opened to needless harms. The chick survived the fury of the hawks because it lies low from the prey of the hawks. Please save your promising rise by choosing the fight that suits you as the furious rise of a child is usually not lasting especially when the child is against nature.
Take a bet, the Dino Melaye I know, a perilously intelligent, an uncommon fighter defined in sheer doggedness will bounce back again. He has defined an impenetrable template of survival. From an abysmally poor background, the Okun born lad extricated himself from the intimate embrace of poverty. That he is where he is today, is a testimony that where you come from is never a limitation to what you are today. Using empirical measurements, I dare to say that Dino has broken the ceiling of limitations.
He has redefined what struggle for emancipation is. He is a walking reference of grass to grace. when his rebound will happen, only time can tell. Until then, it is the end of an era for this enigma.
Dinolistically musing by Abdullahi O. Haruna Haruspice