Opinion: How Yahaya Bello Made Dino Melaye Into a Recipient of Undeserved Sympathy

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This is what happens when you overreach with power in order to bring your political opponent down. Dino Melaye is a despicable character, the very definition of corruption and political prostitution. He is also a violent thug with an undiagnosed personality disorder. However, the juvenile, power-intoxicated madman of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, has made Dino into a recipient of undeserved sympathy.

Initiating an expensive recall process against Dino in a state with a huge backlog of unpaid salaries was bad enough. But they were impatient and saw the process as too slow. They also had no faith that those they gave money to orchestrate the process would follow through. So they came up with a Plan B, which was to implicate Dino in a murder, the same crap Nasir el-Rufai recently tried but failed to pull on his nemesis, Shehu Sani.

Today, this contrived farce of an electoral recall process unraveled spectacularly and embarrassingly for Bello and his gang. The Okun people and the people of Kotonkarfe and Lokoja Local Governments, whose names and signatures Yahaya Bello and his INEC enablers fraudulently cloned, voted with their feet and stayed home, dealing the so-called signature verification exercise a lethal punch.

And yet these are the same people who have been complaining about Dino Melaye’s shambolic and disgraceful representation of their constituency in the Nigerian Senate. It is thus not out of love for Melaye that they shunned Bello’s sham recall signature verification. It is to spite the governor, protest his maladministration, assert their independence, and support a loathed underdog against an arrogant, immature tyrant.

Prior to today’s events, Yahaya Bello’s police accomplices tried to use a familiar tactic the governor uses to humiliate and neutralize his critics: they wanted to bundle him from Abuja and deliver him like a trophy to Bello in Lokoja, ostensibly to face trial for murder. Thanks to Dino’s street smarts and his own thuggery pedigree, he avoided that ultimate humiliation by jumping out of the police vehicle meant to deliver him to his nemesis in Lokoja.

The Governor similarly had one of his critics, Austin Okai, kidnapped by SARS officers and delivered to him in Lokoja.

Whatever becomes of Dino, it is his Karmic comeuppance. He laid his bed and he should lay in it. But the Okun people also seem to be saying to Bello: just because we do not like what our son is doing does not mean we’ll let you humiliate him.

It is a lesson in the pitfalls of political overkill, of abuse and misuse of power. Will Bello learn this lesson?

– Prof. Moses Ochonu

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