Peter Claver Oparah explains that the embattled Nigerian Lawmaker, Dino Melaye is trying to run away from his own shadow as his recall battle deepens.
For Dino Melaye, that rambunctious and swashbuckling senator from Kogi State, the cloud still looks ominous. For someone who relishes hugging the limelight, what he is passing through presently bodes a fatal dent on that raunchy life. Melaye is besieged. He is beleaguered. He is battered. He is storm-tossed. Dino Melaye is distressed. He is like a cornered rat and gradually, he has been watching as all escape routes are plugged by those that want to see his back from the Senate. As he makes frantic moves to avoid INEC and its recall papers, Dino cuts a sorry picture of a self-propelled fugitive who allowed his vanity, hubris and ego to dismantle him. With all the desperate moves Melaye made last week to evade INEC’s service of his recall papers, Dino showed that he has exhausted every prank to avoid the evil day. Now, what remains is for him to surrender and subject himself to the legal terms of recall and to defeat it not through such puerile pranks as he is now making but through well marshaled tactics that show he was wrongly set upon for recall, as he is crying all over town.
No doubt, he had been fervently praying that this cup passes him by, but the cup has stubbornly stuck to him. He had threatened that no one could recall him from the Senate where he plays the backup role to Bukola Saraki, the heavily dented president of the Senate. In fact, he and Saraki exchange that role to each other; serving to buoy each other in moments of crisis. They have complemented each other in the many battles that border on their indiscretion which they had been fighting since Saraki usurped the Senate leadership. In this matter of Melaye’s recall, they have both laughed it off as a sick joke that will never see the light of the day. But, from all points, they seem to have boasted just too early and that is why today, Dino Melaye has been alternating several rat holes in a bid to stave off his impending recall. He is no more the loud, noisome, boastful stage actor in the Senate. He has lost his swagger as he looked drained out the moment the Federal High Court ordered his recall to continue. In most of the Senate sittings in recent times, Melaye has been conspicuously missing in action.
Dino is faced with a problem that has just refused to back off even with the seemingly impregnable assurance of Saraki that no one can recall him. Since his Kogi West senatorial constituents threatened to send him home from the Senate, both Dino and Saraki have tried all known means to beat off that menacing threat, to no avail. At first, Dino, in his usual masking manner, had laughed off the threat. He had waved it off as another feverish symptom that had hit his traducers. He had boasted that his people, who are as riled as Nigerians, over the nuisance he has willingly elected to constitute in the Senate and on the national stage, lack the capacity to recall him from the Senate. Sure, he was right to have woven the feeling of impregnability around himself because previous recall efforts had never seen the light of the day. The difficulty in mustering the required number of constituents to effectively carry out a recall gave Dino the confidence that his people will fail in this task.
But today, Dino looks like a cornered rat because his people have shown a clear readiness to cross hitherto impregnable fortresses against recall processes in their vow to see his back from the Senate. In the sequel, Dino has lost his allure and is no more seen reveling and masking as he was known for. His notorious foul mouth seems to have been capped. He is no more treating issues to the same casual, dismissive ambience for which he was noted. He has no more time for the kind of annoying petulance with which he treated issues about his persona and the Senate. To put it mildly, Dino Melaye is greatly troubled and when one is greatly troubled, he finds no time for masking and reveling. Dino has lost the appetite for jokes and clowning. His worries are exacerbated by the fact that he had tried all tricks to shake off the recall bait but none is working. He had bluffed and huffed but the recall threat, like a stubborn abiku, still tracks him. He had threatened and invoked the powers of the Senate, tucked under the armpits of his master and alter ego, Saraki, but his traducers seem to care less about that. Those that want him out of the Senate have shocked him by mobilizing a number that is over the constitutionally prescribed threshold. In apparent awe and shock, he had claimed that they forged such numbers but then he had been spiritedly running away from the due diligence of proving his claim.
On my last check, Dino Melaye has been touring and window-shopping the courts to stop his recall process. That was a seeming leak-proof strategy he borrowed from Saraki. Yes, the courts have only offered him a temporary reprieve by holding up the recall process. But then, that proved to be mere postponement of the inevitable doomsday when the court recently ordered the recall process to continue. INEC, which in deference to the initial court order, stayed the process, having gotten the ruling of the court to restart the process, had been having difficulties serving Melaye a recall notice because Dino Melaye had been on the run. He had practically gone AWOL. He is running frantically away from the recall. He has shed the pretension to invincibility and now lives on devising newer ways of evading INEC. He now shuns his favorite playground, which is Saraki’s Senate. From all seeming indices, Melaye is holed up in thin air!
Melaye now harbors a consuming fear of INEC. He doesn’t want to be served the notice of his recall because he knows that nothing will save him from recall if the process were to start. We are not seeing his usual clowning on national stages again because he faces a more urgent threat that will rob him of the klieg lights for his nuanced shows. Dino knows that he will be practically finished if he is recalled from the Senate. He doesn’t even believe in the many boasts he had previously issued that no one could recall hm. Worse still, he does not even trust the assurance of his master, Saraki, that his recall process would end as a huge joke. He doesn’t feel secure trusting his own tactics. Most importantly, he knows that his claim that enemies cooked up names to meet the constitutional requirement for his recall is mere bunkum otherwise, he would have by now, leveraged on the process to prove his claim and effectively squelch the recall process. Instead, he resorts to playing pranks, running and hiding in ignominious manners as a way of shaking off a well-articulated process.
Last week, INEC stormed the Senate with bags of recall documents for Dino but he sneaked out of the Senate on sighting INEC. He deserted his office and disappeared into thin air. What was chasing Melaye, if not the consequences of his life of vanity? Dino Melaye is running away from his shadows. He is being chased by his hubris. After running away from INEC, he was said to have posted some information on his WhatsApp page to the effect that he had filed an appeal against the Federal High Court ruling that his recall should proceed. He said by virtue of that, that INEC should stop his recall. He even claimed that his recall is a breach of the constitution. A day earlier, he was said to have addressed a press conference where he argued so laughably that since the number of days the constitution set for a recall to take place had elapsed, that his recall had failed. So Dino meant that since he got a court order holding up his recall for the better parts of the constitutionally guaranteed timeline for recall, that he was not recallable again. What a baloney! What crass foolery! What grandiose self-deceit! He conveniently forgot that the same court issued a directive that the constitutionally guaranteed time for his recall starts from the day the court discharged his case.
Every recent event surrounding the Melaye recall process suggests that Melaye is almost a goner. He is practically living on borrowed time. No tears for him. He is that proverbial bird that overfed itself and challenged its god to a wrestling contest. He had written the full epistle of his trajectory and his people in Kogi West are merely assisting him to lie on his bed the way he prepared it. That they mustered quite above the constitutional numerical requisite for a recall should have warned Melaye to devour the humble pie and make his peace first with his people and then Nigerians whom he had roundly insulted by his nuisance outings on national issues. The clear fate he is facing now for which he is on the run is totally self-procured.
In one of his distressed effusions last week, he blamed virtually everybody except himself for what he is facing. He blamed INEC, Kogi State government and the federal government for his woes but Dino Melaye is a character that willingly set on a course of self-destructing when he became a noisome, uncontrollable obstacle to prudence. He should muster sufficient guts to face his travails and stop thinking he can ward off the determined resolve of his people to do away with him by playing hide and seek. Melaye should face his cup squarely and stop playing childish pranks that will not save him at the end of the day.
Written by Peter Claver Oparah