PoliticsTop News

Kogi West Senatorial Election: Adeyemi, Melaye In A Battle Of Supremacy


As Senator Dino Melaye faces the reality of another contest for the soul of Kogi West Senatorial District with his eternal opponent, Mr. Smart Adeyemi following an Appeal Court ruling, our political editor, Kenneth Jude, examines his chances against his opponent, the factors that may swing victory his way and the opposition against his re-election.
He courts controversy as though the trend is fast going out of fashion. Love him or hate him, he is one man who does not fear to give a piece of his mind on any issue no matter whose ox is gored.
Since his days in the Green Chamber of the National Assembly, Senator Dino Melaye has always been a newsmaker, one who’ll say what he feels on any matter and damn the consequences.
When he secured the mandate of his people to head to the Senate, some political pundits had thought he will shed his rambunctious toga and wear a new cap that is more tidied and composed, but they were all wrong after all.
The drama that characterised his time in the Senate reached Olympian heights and trumped whatever theatrics he exhibited in the House of Reps. His brush with police authorities became a daily occurrence. His polemics on the Federal Government often set him on a collision course with the powers that be. A time was when he spent 11 long hours on a tree in a thick bush when running from the Police who were hot on his trail.
At another instance, Melaye jumped off a moving police van that was headed for Kogi State instead of Abuja.
Melaye is not known to avoid or run away from battles. No. His utterances, most of which go off unguarded, give him away as one who gives no hoot about what critics and foes alike say of him. It was still Dino Melaye who once stormed plenary clad in his full ceremonial graduation gown to prove to Senators and curious Nigerians that he obtained a degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, after he was accused of not having a school certificate To further convince doubting Thomases, he claimed, with a dash of aplomb, that he has seven degrees in his kitty, among which is one from Harvard. They claim sparked debates in the public circuit with many wondering how possible that was. Melaye cared not about the reactions and moved on gingerly.
He was one of the Senators who fought tooth and nail to ensure the emergence of Dr. Bukola Saraki as the Senate President of the 8th assembly against the wish of his party at the time. Dino went on to be a prominent voice in the Saraki- led Senate as he carried himself with such grace and highfalutin swagger that got his haters seething with subdued rage.
But today, Dino Melaye is a man in quandary. Having had his election nullified by an Appeal Court sitting in Abuja, he is set to go back to the field to contest with his eternal opponent in Senator Smart Adeyemi, a man who has remained a torn in Melaye’s flesh in the politics of Kogi West Senatorial District.
In nullifying the election of Dino Melaye, the three-man panel of the Court of Appeal held that the polls outcome was invalid due to discrepancies in dates indicated in the result sheets produced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The court noted that while the election was conducted on February 25, 2019, the result sheets had February 23, 2019 written as the date of the election. On the strength of this and other noticeable flaws, the court of Appeal ordered for a fresh election to be conducted within 90 days.
But in his characteristic posturing, Senator Dino Melaye was unperturbed by the verdict and described it as human judgment.
Speaking shortly after the verdict, he said: “In all things, I give God the praise. He who started a good thing will definitely complete it. “I ask my supporters to be law-abiding as we shall always overcome. To God be the Glory,” he stated. He went further to urge his supporters not to lose hope. “I ask my supporters to be law-abiding as we shall always overcome. To God be the glory.”
In a statement he addressed to them, Melaye said: “Let your hearts not be troubled; believe in God; believe also His prophets.
“A court judgment is human judgment. I believe in divine, I mean God’s judgment.
“It is absolutely well. No worries, no tension, no pains. I celebrate God for He is always a good God.
“At the end, His name will be glorified. He is not a man that will lie. I’m a winner every time.
“There is a final verdict and it is the verdict of God. Peace, peace, peace.
“Today, I speak over my life and my household that the peace of God that surpasses understanding will garrison across our hearts. “I am not shaken nor moved. I trust in God completely.
“I lean not on my own understanding; I acknowledge Him in all my ways, and I am directed by the Lord and led by the Spirit.
“I see my way through; I walk a path devoid of pitfalls. I look to the Lord, my God, and I will not see shame.
“I am delivered from destruction and dereliction. I am saved to serve and strengthened for life.
“God is merciful to me, and I have received the grace of the Lord, my God. I have favour. “Nothing is against me. Men are favourably disposed to me in every situation. I am accepted and not rejected.
“Nothing blocks my path to success; I am not a failure; and greatness is attracted to me. I activate the will of the Father and insist that today is the day of His power.
“I am willing; God is at work, in me, to will and to do all His good pleasure. I win always. My prayers are answered, and my requests are granted.
“My eye is single, and my body is full of light.
“Sorrows and tears are far from me. I have peace; my struggles cease; my frustrations, fears and frailties give way; and I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
“My tomorrow is greater and better than my yesterday. I shine like the star that I am.
“I am blessed with every blessing heavenly, in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. I am blessed with the blessing of the sand and stars. “I increase on all sides. In Jesus’s name, I believe and say amen.”
In a quick retort, the man who took him to court, Senator Smart Adeyemi, boasted that he will defeat Melaye in a fresh election.
Adeyemi, a former Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, said: “I am not afraid of poll rerun with Senator Melaye. He cannot defeat me in a free and fair election. He is no match any day. It is now obvious that he did not defeat me at the last poll.
“Dino Melaye has never won an election before. I thank God we have judges with a high level of integrity because the facts before them spoke for themselves. You don’t have to be a judge to see that the results were manipulated.
“Dino was the candidate that went to the Federal High Court in Lokoja, asking that the collation of results for the Kogi West Senatorial District should be done at the district headquarters in Kabba.
“While I and my supporters were in Kabba waiting for the results, having collected the actual results from all party agents, they went to announce mutilated results in Lokoja.
“The results were tampered with on their way from Kabba to Lokoja. The results announced in Lokoja were different from the ones we had.
“There was no doubt that Dino never won the election and he knew this. From what the INEC gave to us, it showed that Dino had votes from the pen, but not the votes of the people.”
With both gladiators drawing a battle line, the stage is set for another pulsating contest for who grabs the trophy of Kogi West Senatorial District. Melaye, though popular among the voters having coasted to victory as the only PDP Senator in a state governed by APC, faces an uphill task given the forces against him.
Apart from his recent travails being alleged to have the imprints of Aso Rock, Melaye will come face to face with the governor of his state, the equally combative Yahaya Bello. Both men have been at loggerheads with each other hence this rerun provides a fitting platform for them to test their mights. While Bello will also be fighting to retain his seat as governor, one does not need the aid of binoculars to see that Bello will pull the stops in Kogi West Senatorial to ensure Dino does not triumph. It remains to be seen how he goes about what has turned out to be a battle of wits between the two politicians who were, until now, best of friends.
Will Dino Melaye, a man who seems to be a cat with nine lives, survive this latest setback and claim victory over the weighty forces against him? All will depend on how the process pans out, the neutrality of key actors and, especially, the electoral umpire.
Smart Adeyemi has evinced great desire to take his pound of flesh having endured the pain of losing his seat to Dino Melaye in 2015 when he sought a third term. Does he have the political clout and goodwill to floor Melaye? The answer will be known on November 16, 2019.

Related Articles

Back to top button