Dino Melaye malady and Atiku’s fantasy for 2023, By Emeka Alex Duru

The uncouth outing by Dino Melaye at the Abuja Town Hall meeting is in line with his Area Boy antics in pushing for the Atiku fantasy for 2023


It is proper to admit that part of this headline is lifted from a release by the Peter Obi 2023 presidential campaign publicity outfit, the Obi-Datti Media Office. It is therefore not entirely original to us. But that is by the side.


There is hardly how one can make comments on the the spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Candidate, Senator Dino Melaye, without according him undeserved publicity. This is somebody who courts and hugs attention, for good or bad, but mostly on the wrong notes. Even at odious outings for which he has regularly featured, he derives joy in being the topic of discussion. He loves being the issue, even without content.


Melaye represents the flipside of the masquerade (Mmanwu) in Igbo cosmogony. Metaphorically, Nnnukwu Mmanwu (the big masquerade), connotes a person of note and authority. It is an honour. But, simply, Mmanwu or Ulaga (the ordinary masquerade), indicates one without substance and repute. It is a symbolic way of describing one as lacking in shame. For the Igbo, one without shame is the worst form of creation. There is no limit to what the person can do, including the most immoral.


– Advertisement –


Such a character defies prediction and can undertake any mission that can fetch him anything for the day. Melaye’s trajectory in politics either as students’ union leader, President Olusegun Obasanjo’s attack dog, his urchin disposition to successive leadership of the National Assembly and serial movements from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and back to the PDP, situate him for the Mmanwu of Ulaga class.


When therefore he took on the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, at the Arise Television Town Hall Meeting for presidential candidates on Sunday, November 6, in Abuja, he perfectly understood the script he was hired to act – to distract Obi and reduce the entire exercise to a motor park affair.


Dino Melaye is not a presidential candidate of the PDP. In fact, the flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar, apparently not sufficiently equipped for the debate, had, like his APC counterpart, Bola Tinubu, chickened out but on the excuse of being held up outside the country. His running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa stood in, for him. But Melaye needed to be positioned to do the Ulaga job. He did not entirely succeed in creating an ugly scene at the show but managed to get Obi lose his calm, momentarily.


Ever since the awful event, the former Kogi Senator has been in his elements. He has deflected attention from the essence of the town hall meeting and has reduced it to a Dino Melaye Show. He has no doubt, been enjoying the distraction. That has been his style. As a member of the House of Representatives, he enjoyed playing the agent provocateur for the then President Obasanjo, until other lawmakers loyal to the then Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, gave him a beating of his life, stripped to the pants and dragged him out of the Green Chambers. For the first time, he was cowed and weighed down, considerably. He only regained his voice in 2015 when he defected to APC, and took the odd job of heralding the then presidential Candidate, Gen Muhammadu Buhari’s arrival to events with his childish, “Baba, Oyoyoo”, chants.


As a reward, he was handed the senatorial ticket of the party for Kogi West. At the senate chambers, Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, instantly became his foster-father but that was as long as Saraki remained in the position. Melaye’s rapport with the APC did not last, hence his return to the PDP in 2018. His efforts to return to the Senate in 2019 were thwarted by Smart Adeyemi of the APC, who replaced him. Thus, left in the lurch and not knowing the source of the next meal, Atiku, who he had earlier despised in 2015, became the new cash cow.


For Melaye, it is a matter of dropping anchor where his bread would be buttered – typical Nigerian food-is-ready politician. He has his price and his patrons know it. That should not matter much, anyway. But for such a fleeting character to be the spokesman of Atiku Abubakar, shows the extent the former vice president has diminished.


At the 1993 Jos, Plateau State convention of the then Social Democratic Party (SDP), the young Atiku had caused stirs, coming from the blues to clinch the third position after MKO Abiola and Babagana Kingibe, in a keenly competed exercise. With that feat, he advertised himself as a star to be watched, following it up by effortlessly winning the Adamawa governorship election in 1998 before he was picked as presidential running mate to Obasanjo. In the team with Obasasnjo, he was a visible figure and the stabilising voice, before he fell out with his principal.


Atiku does not seem to have recovered from that shocking displacement. But his awkward liaison with Melaye, to the point of making him the face of his campaign, underscores the piteous level at which he has fallen. Atiku may not know it, but it is probably the undue influence of hangers-on like Dino Melaye on him that is costing him the cooperation of Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Seyi Makinde (Oyo). He is even on the verge of losing Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state.


As Atiku is losing grips, PDP is also going down. Here was a party which at its formation on July 29, 1998, had a vision of re-creation of civil political institutions, reconciliation of Nigeria, rekindling of the spirit of unity and brotherhood in the polity and revitalization of powers of the people to build a prosperous industrial democracy. To its credit, PDP had in its fold a generous spread of the nation’s first-rate politicians like Dr. Alex Ekwueme (Second Republic Vice President), Solomon Lar, Sunday Awoniyi, Abubakar Rimi, Audu Ogbeh, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo and others. This is the party currently fronting the likes of Reno Omkri, Deji Adeyanju and Dino Melaye as the arrowheads of its presidential campaign. The Elephant has truly fallen and the Umbrella torn beyond repairs!


You will then understand Melaye’s antics of “if we can’t get it, you will also lose it”, at the Abuja town hall meeting. It was is in line with his Area Boy strategies in pushing for the Atiku fantasy for 2023. But that it where he lost it. Nigerians have a different attitude to the 2023 polls.


The election is a watershed; a fundamental choice to continue with the slide or take back the country. The youths and other traumatized citizens who yearn for change, have settled for the latter. Obi epitomises that resolve.


When therefore you see the youths queuing Obi him or chorusing his name, it is not for the fun of it. They need action, they need change; a radical departure from a system that has held the country down for a long time and has reduced it to an object of mockery among other nations. It is time to move on. Dino Melaye and other hired hands cannot stop or dilute the momentum!




Show More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button