Dino Melaye and the Dead Man’s Chest

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PeoplePolitics and Policy

Does he do it on purpose? Does Mr Dino Melaye, a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, knowingly put himself in the public’s eye for the wrong reasons just to rile his haters?

In the face of the current challenges facing the country – internal insecurity, fuel scarcity, galloping unemployment – to give a minute’s thought to the private affairs of any single individual should be because they provide relief and a worthy distraction from the frustrations of the Nigerian state. We can tolerate the kardashianism of #BAADonDSTV because #BAAD2017 was an epic celebration of love and timely diversion when Nigerians were losing their minds over national embarrassments.

To be drawn away by Mr Melaye has not proven to fulfill these objectives.

Last year, Mr Melaye barely survived the damning expose on his academic records in which he was accused of having received the unjustified aid of a lecturer to facilitate his convocation. His claim to be a graduate of the London School of Economics and Harvard were definitively and factually debunked. But those are not the trappings of the good life the Senator has often used to attract followers to his person; ‘Captain SDM’ is about the fast cars, the palatial residences and life as a balling customer of bling bling.

He’s an evangelist too. Amen.

While the entire nation is attempting to come to terms with the killings in Benue state and the audacious defense of members of the Miyetti Allah group of their gruesome acts of terror, the captain – like his colleagues in the upper legislative chamber –are on recess to resume on the 16th of January.

Images and videos on social media showed Senator Melaye, dressed in the attire of Captain Jack Sparrow of the Pirates of the Caribbean, enjoying his recess with a birthday party at his Maitama residence. Featured, among other things, was a dance competition between scantily clad girls, for the prize of $1000 to the best feet and hips on the floor.

That is what a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has allowed the entire world to see as the disposition of the Nigerian leader when not on duty. Form a collage of those images with those from the pants-down exploits of Bukar Abbar Ibrahim last year and there is no point mounting a defense on the contrary. Na the work wey dem dey do and they are proud to show it.

It is their private life which, like that of every other Nigerian, must be respected. It is their personal life and they are living it as they see well.

But the oath of office taken by Mr Melaye, if such rituals have ever had or retain any speck of significance today, set him on an elevated platform and gave him a responsibility beyond the cadre of “every other Nigerian”. Any leader with any sense of responsibility and sensitivity to the happenings around them would tamper pageantry with modesty; if not in the pomp, in the broadcast at least.

He may not have prevented friends and guests from making videos and taking photographs but he sure could have had a say in the popularization of the prize for his strip dance. Nigeria is going to become the poverty capital of the world in 2018 but a Senator – who earns among the highest wages in the world – is splashing the cash value of a good plot of land in Ibadan on a vanity dance in his parlor.

History will be the best judge of how Mr Melaye’s time at the National Assembly will be remembered. There is a school of thought that he is one of the more productive in the Senate, regardless of his private life. He left the House of Representatives with torn clothes and a resounding whistle in his mouth as the souvenirs of an anti-corruption crusader. His time at the Senate, however, has been characterized by constant antagonism towards Yahaya Bello, and Ibrahim Magu, and a handful of legislative endeavours such as a bill aimed at outlawing tribal marks.

Senator Melaye, at 44, is a young man who should enjoy his life; agreed. His on camera antics have caught on and had traction on social media. Ajekun iya ni oje was ‘box office’ but sequels don’t always work out well. He should know Rotten Tomatoes rates the Dead Man’s Chest at 54% – hardly an excellent score after Jack Sparrow’s failure in improving on the success of the original Pirates of the Caribbean film.

Nigeria will ultimately be at the mercy of the discretion and sensibilities of the people of Kogi West on what the fruits of the senator’s first term in the upper chamber have been; to sack him with more rotten tomatoes thrown at him and his legacy, or to offer him again as a bad apple nobody can do jack about.

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By Alexander O. Onukwue | Follow @inquizimedia on Twitter and Facebook

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