Dino Melaye is Nigeria’s most controversial lawmaker, he cares less about what people say about him, he shocks his opponent when he’s underrated.
Here are the key facts about Melaye, a Kogi Senator at the National Assembly who had the most daring encounter with security officials as a lawmaker since Nigeria returned to a democratic rule in 1999.
- Full Name: Dino Daniel Melaye
- Date of birth: January 1, 1974
- Place of birth: Kano State
- Present Political party: People’s Democratic Party (PDP)
- Constituency: Kogi West
- School Attended: Ahmadu Bello University, (ABU), Zaria.
Dino Melaye’s early life
Born in Kano State, Northern Nigeria in 1974, the Kogi West Senator attended command and Air-force Secondary School, Kaduna for his secondary school education. He had a degree in Geography at the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State in 2000 amid controversy.
Melaye once led the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) before becoming the Secretary-General of African Youth Council and later the Commonwealth Youth Council.
During the administration of former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, he was appointed as the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council on Youths.
His political career started as an active member of the PDP in Kogi State and contested under the party to become a member of the House of Representatives representing Kabba/Ijumu Federal Constituency.
At the lower legislative chamber, he played a prominent role as one of the boxing lawmakers at the time, though his admirers claimed the issue at the time was worth fighting for.
He went on political hibernation for a few years, he resurrected in the most shocking way, this time to contest for the Kogi West Senatorial District in 2015.
The former President of the Nigeria Union of Journalist Smart Adeyemi was the Senator at the time, Dino Melaye kicked him out of the office to replace him at the Upper Legislative Chamber at the 8th National Assembly serving as the Chairman Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
In 2015, he seconded the nomination of Senator Bukola Saraki as a candidate for the office of President of the Senate following a nomination made by Senator Ahmad Sani Yerima.
The ruling party All Progressive Congress (APC) described the emergence of Saraki as a legislative coup as most of its members were elsewhere attending a political meeting.
Reelection as a Senator in 2019 National Assembly Poll
While most of his allies within the Upper Chamber lost their seats during the February 19, 2019 election, Dino Melaye returned as the candidate of PDP, beating Smart Adeyemi the second time to be a member of the 9th National Assembly.
Though Adeyemi approached an Election tribunal challenging the victory of Melaye, his prayer was granted and the election was nullified and called for another election in the Kogi West.
Melaye appealed but the Appellate Court upheld the ruling of the tribunal, meaning that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would be conducting another election before the end of the year.
Melaye boasted to beat the ex-NUJ president over and over again.
Dino Melaye contested in the 2019 governorship primary elections in Kogi under PDP but lost Engr. Musa Wada who won with 748 votes. Melaye scored 70 votes despite his boastful speeches on social media that he was out to unseat the incumbent APC governor in the state Yahaya Bello.
The election was conducted on September 3, 2019.
Melaye’s controversies could be divided into two:
- Political controversies
- Certificate controversies
At a time, a foreign account was linked to him, he denied it. He was accused that he continued to operate the foreign account as against Nigeria’s law that political office holder can not operate foreign accounts.
One of the transactions traced to him had some undisclosed thousands of US dollars. One transaction on Melaye’s Bank of America debit card is an approved payment to the New York-based Schweiger Dermatology for $1,000.
He is one of the leading voices against the ruling party APC and its national chairman. When Adams Oshiomhole married a beauty queen from another country when he was the governor of Edo State, Dino Melaye accused him of “importing his wife” rather than marrying a Nigerian woman.
Threatened to beat up Tinubu’s wife
During a controversial debate on the floor of the Upper Legislative Chamber which involved Senate Remi Tinubu, wife of the powerful southwest politician and former governor of Lagos State Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and him, he bullied the former Lagos first lady saying he would impregnate her on the floor of the house.
Everyone thought that he would be dealt with by Tinubu’s boys.
Some admirers of the Tinubu warned him never to step on Lagos soil, but Dino Melaye defied the warning, he flew to Lagos and headed straight to the Bourdillon street, a street associated with Tinubu empire.
He walked in front of Tinubu’s house and dared those who warned him not to come to Lagos to come out.
He spent a few minutes before heading back to Abuja.
In June 2017, a process to recall him from the National Assembly was kickstarted due to rude behaviour, but the exercise failed as it was also discovered that the signatures of those who planned to recall him were forged by unknown people.
A critic of Yahaya Bello:
Despite the fact that he was instrumental to the political success of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi, he publicly accused him of mismanaging public funds when things fell out between them.
“Spending over N1bn of taxpayers’ money on an unproductive venture, when salaries and pensions have not been paid, is wicked.
“I will continue to defend the poor and defenceless masses of Kogi State. If I die, I die. We must rescue the state,” he said.
Dino Melaye on watch list
On April 23, 2018 he was arrested at the international wing of Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja by the officials of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
They claimed that his name was on the watch list of the Interpol after the Nigeria police declared him wanted.
Opposition party described his arrest as political persecution.
On May 2, 2018, Senator Melaye was arraigned in court by the Police at Chief Magistrate Court in Wuse Abuja. He was granted bail in the sum of N90million by the court, having met the bail condition but was rearrested by the police shortly after his release.
In one of the arrests, he jumped off from the moving vehicle of the Police and threatened to kill himself as he tried to avoid arrest.
In another drama, he locked himself inside his mansion when the special forces of DSS besieged his residence and on January 5 surrendered himself. He slumped during the “show”
Defection to PDP
On July 24, 2018, Dino Melaye was among the prominent 13 other Senators of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that defected back to the Peoples Democratic Party.
Scandals around his academic qualifications started from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) when in 2017, some of the political foes claimed that he didn’t graduate from the institution, but the Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Prof. Ibrahim Garba who appeared before the Senate Committee confirmed that Senator Dino Melaye graduated from the school, although under a different name.
He also claimed to have obtained a degree from the Boston-based Ivy League Harvard University in the United States.
The foreign universities denied him, but also insisted that he earned seven degrees from various other institutions around the world, among them are: Harvard’s University, Kennedy School for Educational Leadership and London School of Economics and Political Science.
While the London School of Economics refuted his claim, Harvard claimed that Melaye only presented himself for a week-long professional development course in late 2016.
Dino Melaye wife
He was married with kids, until his wife Tokunbo Melaye packed out after ten years, accusing Melaye of domestic violence against her. Tokunbo has three children with Dino.