By Bayo Oyewale
Like a proverbial prodigal son, the Senator representing Kogi West at the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, Dino Melaye was the chairman of the inauguration committee of Yahaya Bello and New All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State in January 2016.
Melaye was said to be part of some critical decisions during the formative period of the present administration, however the union was said to have become sour when juicy positions and who becomes what were to be shared.
The hitherto union would soon turn to a frosty relationship between the governor and Senator Melaye as there were accusations and counter accusations with Bello firing the first salvo alleging that Melaye want his share of the state resources.
In a press statement issued by the Director General Media and Strategy, Kinsley Fanwo, Bello said Melaye was making noise because he wanted the governor to start sharing the state monthly allocations at the detriment of developmental projects for the benefit of the good people of Kogi State.
The feud soon degenerated to media war where press conferences were called either to debunk or make allegations as both orthodox and media were awash with all kinds of stories.
This also elicited a lot of accusations and counter accusation, reactions and allegations both at home and Abuja. This development turned the state to a theatre of political imbroglio.
However the current travails of Melaye started shortly after a popular online newspaper, alleged that he did not graduate from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and no sooner than later, the attention of the Senate was drawn to the allegation.
Melaye like rock of Gilbratar, stood tall at the floor of the hallowed Chamber to step aside for the probe as the Senate set up committee to look into the issue. He was subsequently cleared by the Vice Chancellor of the institution who confirmed that the Senator graduated from ABU, Zaria and was awarded Bachelor of Arts in Geography.
As if this was not enough, the Senator came home for Easter holiday and was allegedly attacked but escaped being killed after his country home in Ayetoro, Ijumu local government area of the state was invaded by unidentified gunmen.
Melaye whose building was riddled with bullets while two vehicles were destroyed which include one security van and auto house vehicle, explained further that his assailants invaded his home around 12 midnight and started shooting sporadically into his building. He stressed that the shooting lasted more than one hour with two of his vehicles (security and caravan) destroyed. Melaye however pointed accusing finger at the Chairman of Ijumu Local Government, Hon Taofiq Isa, alleging that the attack was carried out due to his constant criticism of the state government.
“I got a rousing welcome from Kabba to my home town on Friday and I know it angered the power that be in the state which mobilised for this assassination attempt on my life.
“At about midnight we started hearing gunshot. They fired more than 200 rounds of bullets into the house. This attempt to kill me will not stop me from speaking the truth.
“If I speak the truth I will die, if I lie I will die. Me, I’ve decided to speak the truth and die. I’m not afraid of death. I only respect men I don’t fear them.
“This attempt is being championed by the chairman of my local government. He had said it many times that he will do everything to stop me from coming home. Beside, those assailants when leaving were chanting ‘We will know if its Taofiq that owns the land or you.
“I am championing an administrative course. I will continue to speak and be voice to the voiceless. I’m not deterred, I remain resolute to make Kogi better nothing will stop me from coming home.”
Melaye alleged that he suspected some collaboration with Police division of Aiyetoro Gbede whom he said did not come to his house until three hours after the hoodlums had left despite being a stone thrown from his house.
“The DPO did not come to my house until three hours later. Even the area commands in Kabba was not notified until I called the Commissioner of Police. I suspect a satanic collaboration between Taofiq and the police in Aiyetoro because the duo had a meeting two days ago.
“Only God will protect us in this country but definitely not the police”.
However, the Ijumu Chairman, Taofiq Isa who doubled as the ALGON boss, denied being involved in the assassination attempt, saying he had been busy attending to his sick wife. He therefore urged Melaye to prove his allegation.
“I’ve never been a violent man. My running battle with Dino if any is because I have asked him to stop vilifying the state governor, Yahaya Bello. “Let him (Dino) prove it. I lost my uncle a week ago, I’m still attending to my sick wife and busy supervising the APC re-registration programmes. I’m a democrat and law abiding. I challenge Dino to prove his case.
Isah berated Melaye for stage managing the attack in order to cause unnecessary tension in the council and also called on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and the presidency to investigate the Senator who allegedly in December 2016 moved items meant for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to his Ayetoro-Gbede home.
“I am using this medium to call on the EFCC and the Presidency to investigate how items meant for IDPs in the north eastern parts of the country got to the hand of a Senator who ordinarily suppose to contribute to ameliorate the suffering of the people.
“The items according to information were packed in his house at Ayetoro-Gbede. EFCC should also investigate and unravel staff of NEMA who might aid and abate Dino in that shoddy deals,” he said.
The Chairman added that he only heard that Senator Dino arrived Ayetoro with policemen shooting gun sporadically to scare people, but wondered why he would turn around to claim that he was attacked.
He said as Chief security officer/of the council his responsibility is to always protect lives and property of the people in the area, noting that if Dino cannot improve on the living standard of the people of Ijumu, he should allow them to have peace instead of causing unnecessary distraction.
The ALGON Chairman alleged that Senator Dino had never empowered anybody in Okun land.
Isah however pointed out that his quest on daily basis was how best he can attend to his people at the local government, noting that people were abandoned by previous administrations thereby plunging them into precarious living conditions.
According to him “If you go to some villages within our local government area, there is high dearth of basic social amenities, Governor Bello’s administration has made it compulsory for all the councils administrators to go down to the hinterland and touch people’s lives positively through the new direction agenda of the government and that is exactly what I am doing in my council area.
The discerning political observers in confluence state however have seen the present trajectory as chain of reactions for every action which there must be corresponding reaction. The arrest of the council boss and subsequently dragging him before a High Court in Lokoja was attributed to the recall move against the Senator in Kogi West.
In another round of crisis, a group, the Coalition of Concerned Lawyers under the aegis of Kogi Integrity Group (KIG) has issued a 7-day ultimatum to Melaye to defend and clear himself on the allegation of corruption in the recent video tape released by a popular online Television.
The group also called on the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osibajo to direct all the relevant agencies to thoroughly investigate the recent video clip released by Sahara TV indicting Senator Melaye and Justice Ikpeme who was the Chairman of Kogi State National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal over bribery and corruption.
Addressing newsmen in Lokoja, the President of the group, Barr Zacheaus Dare Micheal stated that the video tape released recently on popular online news media has gone viral on social media network, indicating that there was a conversation between Melaye and Justice Akon Ikpeme on the allegation of bribery that perverted justice which gave him a stolen mandate.
“As a concerned group that believes in justice, we are giving Dino Melaye a 7-day ultimatum to come and quickly defend and clear himself of allegation of corruption in the tape that was released by Sahara Reporters”, the President said.
The group lamented that the distinguished Senator Melaye had once in a statement described the former President Jonathan’s government as that of the greedy and described the present administration as government of criminals for the criminals which must be voted out in 2019 while there is allegation of bribery against him.
“The same man who publicly at press conference described our governor a criminal and using derogatory and defamatory statement to qualify a state governor. We are now saying such a man is facing allegation of bribery and corruption should be left un-interrogated?”
The group restated that corrupting judiciary is the worst form of corruption that anyone can ever think of, saying it is unacceptable, “we want Melaye to show reasons he was elected.”