Kogi House of Commotion

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By Ayodele Adio.

The very vocal, flamboyant and highly controversial senator, Dino Melaye, representing Kogi west senatorial district has found himself swimming against the tide, and could jolly well be drowning. Senator Dino Melaye is not one to easily back off from a fight; he has built an entire political career adopting a ‘bull dog’ approach of barking and charging at everything, with very little cerebral input in legislative affairs. He has an uncanny ability to gauge public perception on national issues and intelligently pitching his tent with the mob. Dino thrives on populism and the gullibility of poorly educated masses, who demand very little from elected public officials. He rode on a bicycle, in one of his many antics, to protest the increase in the pump price of premium motor spirit in 2012, claiming he could no longer afford to fuel his many luxurious vehicles; of course, no one ever questioned how, in the first place, he could afford such vehicles. Senator Melaye is a show man, big on activities, small on productivity; an egocentric self-serving megalomaniac masquerading as the people’s activist.

It does seem though, that this time, the proverbial chicken has come home to roost. Only a few days ago, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officially wrote Senator Dino to notify him that his constituents had triggered section 69 of the 1999 Constitution and hence the activation of the recall process. Senator Dino has since then found his lost salvation, raising prayer points and sharing biblical verses, hoping that the good lord would deliver him from the hands of the Philistines. Like every typical Nigerian politician, he has outsourced his responsibility to God while shopping for the devil to blame for his failings. Dino believes strongly that he is being witch hunted by the Kogi State governor because he critiqued the non-payment of the salaries of public officials for 15 months, and as such the governor is sponsoring his recall from the Senate. If Senator Dino is right about the chief sponsor of the recall process, then it becomes pertinent to dispassionately analyse the scenario.

However, before a quick analysis of the unfolding scenario, “The Kogi house of commotion”, let me congratulate the people of Kogi West for activating what was soon becoming a forgotten page in the Nigerian constitution. It is a clear reminder that the powers exercised in the red chambers belongs ultimately to the Nigerian people and can be taken away when they feel unsatisfied with the way it is wielded. I strongly urge constituencies all over the country to take a cue from this incidence to demand full accountability and adequate representation from their legislators, short of which constituents must find the courage and commitment to activate the recall process.

Now back to the travails of Senator Dino. Nigerians seem excited about the development and can’t wait to see the Senator recalled, understandably so, as this will record a huge win for democracy and bring down senators from their high horses; yet we must be careful about setting a dangerous precedence. I have never been a fan of Senator Dino and have always queried the manner in which he trivialises legislative affairs in the red chamber, but that Dino will be recalled for condemning the profligacies of the governor and his inability to pay salaries for over a year should make us all put on our thinking caps. Let’s call a spade what it is. Mobilising over a hundred thousand petition is no small feat and will require loads of resources, and if we must believe Dino’s claim that the governor is behind this, then we must ask a critical question: How does a governor who cannot afford to pay salaries mobilise enough resources to fund the recall process? If Senator Dino is recalled from the Senate, does that mean that salaries in Kogi State will now be paid? Does it then mean that when governors are not happy with senators from their state, they can then sponsor a recall process to remove such a person and replace hi or her with someone loyal to them?

If Senator Dino Melaye is recalled, this will not be a win for the people but for the governor of Kogi state who has continued to run the state to the ground. We must never allow such a precedence in our country that could turn governors into emperors, and more importantly we should refuse as a people to be used as pawns to settle political feuds.

– Ayodele Adio is co-host of a Lagos radio programme.


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