Home > Your say > Dino Melaye – What went wrong? #DukeOfSomolu

Dino Melaye – What went wrong? #DukeOfSomolu

This is a season of anomie. A season where everything goes; where we realise with sad reflection that we are now firmly in the Hobbesian state of confusion. Where life is short and brutish and where it is every man for himself and finally where the rule of law has taken a vacation.

So in the last 24 hours, we have been regaled with pantomime pictures of eccentric but still distinguished Senator who had once threatened to impregnate a married colleague sitting on the bare floor and in a standoff with the Police all in a bid to prove only God knows what point.

Just a few days earlier, another bald-headed distinguished Senator had been accused of storming into the hallowed chambers of the Senate to cause mayhem, leading to the desecration of the chambers with the abduction of the maze which remains a symbol of authority.

For me, all these remains a sad reflection of the erosion of the authorities of our institutions which were set up and empowered to guide relationships between citizens and the state and also between office holders and those they are ruling over. What we are seeing is the bananafication of our republic the outright disregard of the rules of engagement by all players in the system leading to what we are witnessing.

However despite this cacophonous eruption, let me gently ask what changed overnight in the case of Melaye. This Senator had been declared wanted some few months ago on the back of statements made by some thugs on his supposed support of their nefarious activities. It is no news that the Senator is in a running battle with his Governor who in some of his acts have shown no respect to the rule of law or institutional control. The Senator had escaped assassination attempts and all sort. So in keeping with its duties, the Kogi State Police Command had declared him wanted after having invited him with no response.

The Police were totally in the right with this and one would have expected the lawmaker to obey the institutions which he had vowed to uphold by obeying that call. Instead, he decided to go on a social media rant. Mocking and ridiculing institutions and processes thereby contributing significantly to the weaknesses of these institutions we are seeing now that has now turned around to bite him.

In all these, we saw pictures of the Senator in Kogi as part of the Senate President’s team on a visit. He was even photographed in a handshake with the State Police boss and we all were pleasantly surprised. They were literally telling us that we were now firmly in a kangaroo country. A person declared wanted, someone with such a high profile and here he was being treated like a monarch. Na wa.

He continued with his legislative duties with no care, mocking and deriding the police and other institutions of state with no care. Finally while still being on the wanted list, in utter disregard of our laws and regulations, now attempts to travel out on an official trip thereby attempting a slap on our collective faces.

Thank God the immigration officers were up to their duties. This was a wanted man rightly or wrongly attempting to board a flight and move out of the country. This must have thrown the police into a quandary who to now hide their faces, moved with over 30 policemen to set up a standoff at the Senators house. This is all laughable because if the immigration hadn’t been alive to their responsibilities, a wanted man would have been out there representing 180million fools.

An accusation is not guilt and Senator Melaye remains innocent until a competent court of law declares otherwise. He must and will have his day in court. But before then, the Gestapo like standoff continues at his house, with our awakened police taking up a starring role. Reports of blockage, arbitrary arrests of relatives and others rent the air and by this time the law is thrown out of the window.

Melaye is a Senator of the Federal Republic. He has not been proclaimed guilty. What we have is a mere allegation that needs to be substantiated and investigated. Melaye as a matter of duty must submit himself to interrogation and must respect the law. He can never be above the law. The police also must respect Melaye not only for the office he holds but also his dignity as a freeborn Nigerian whose rights are guaranteed by the constitution that we all uphold. The statement that he jumped out of the window is unfortunate and ridiculous pictures of him sitting on the floor is not a dent on Melaye but a dent on the institution he still represents.

The Police must do everything within their powers to protect the Senate even with the madness that is Melaye. They could have simply written to the Senate President demanding that he released Melaye. The Senate would have escorted him to Kogi the way they used to escort the Senate President to court. If the Senate President can be respectful of authority agreeing to be docked, is it Melaye who will now be jumping up and down like Humpty Dumpty to avoid arrest thereby joining the perfidious Omo-Agege in desecrating a revered institution like the Senate.

The Police now have the errant Senator within their firm grasp. Let me warn at this point that his rights must be upheld. He must not be tortured, physically or emotionally harassed. Melaye himself must stop all these window jumping charades and conduct himself with the distinction of a Senator who graduated from the prestigious ABU. They must together rebuild the damage they have wrought on our national psyche.

Lastly, let me ask one small question. I really hope all of these is not happening as a result of the appropriation matter where the Senate is about to square off against the Executive as a result of extra-budgetary spending. I really do hope that there is no link o.



Joseph Edgar
Joseph Edgar is an Investment banker and Columnist with Thisday and DailyTimes newspapers. He is witty and is a hilarious writer.