It’s a tough time to be Senator Dino Melaye.
The senator who represents Kogi West in the upper legislative chamber, has had a tough couple of days.
Always full of bluster, a veneer of street credibility, with a sprinkle of invincibility, Melaye would be first to admit that he’s suddenly looking vulnerable and flustered.
Melaye has been accused by online news platform, Sahara Reporters, of not possessing genuine school certificates.
He’s been accused of fraud and lying.
He’s been accused of gaming the system.
These are serious allegations considering that they’ve been levelled against a senator of the federal republic of Nigeria.
Never mind that the ‘hallowed chamber’of the national assembly has been reduced to a corruption theater by the band of renegades we elect and re-elect to make laws on our behalf every four years.
Just when Melaye was yearning for some reprieve, a colleague of his, Ali Ndume, asked the Senate to probe allegations that Melaye did not graduate from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) as he’s claimed all these years.
Melaye was fuming in his response on the floor of the Senate.
“I am here to respond to the issue raised by the Boko Haram suspect (and) senator of the federal republic of Nigeria, Senator Ali Ndume”, he bellowed in characteristic attack fashion.
“I want to say, to me, it is a welcome development. Democracy is about investigation and no senator is above investigation. To me, it is a welcome development and it will finally clear the air on all the malicious and vindictive allegations.
“To say that I did not graduate from ABU is to say that I am not a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. ABU is a very prestigious university in this country and it is not possible for one to be running a Master’s programme in the university when one did not graduate from a university. I have successfully completed one and I am doing the second one.
“I want to announce that this is the eight degree that I am pursuing. I am also a graduate of the university of Abuja, where I did Master’s in Policy Analysis.
“I am a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science. I am also a graduate of Harvard University. The course I am pursuing now will make it my eight degree”.
Minutes after Melaye’s denial on the floor of parliament, reports emerged that he had only attended a seminar at Harvard and wasn’t at the prestigious institution for studies, like he had parroted and inked on his LinkedIn and other social media pages.
There are also reports that the senate page which had all the school qualifications of all lawmakers had been doctored to accommodate Melaye.
The allegations keep pouring in.
Melaye has accused Sahara Reporters of being obsessed with him.
“They (Sahara Reporters) use me for marketing and whenever their profile and patronage is down they use me to generate traffic. I will not be surprised if by tomorrow Sahara Reporters say that I am not a Nigerian”, the lawmaker snarled.
But let’s not yield to the temptation to get distracted by Melaye’s little battles with Sahara Reporters when we should be investigating an issue as grave as certificate forgery.
And for the records, Sahara Reporters and Melaye used to be buddies.
It is often said that he who comes to equity must do so with clean hands.
Melaye has called out just about everyone on corruption, accountability and transparency from the bully pulpit of the national assembly, even though he doesn’t look clean himself.
Just before he joined the senate, like acting EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu cleverly pointed out last week, Melaye was an anti-corruption fighter himself.
He utilized every opportunity to rail against corruption and its danger to society.
He marched on the streets and wielded placards against corruption.
Melaye leads a flamboyant, opulent lifestyle. His parking lot is a showroom of all the choice cars ever made by man.
On his social media pages, Melaye takes the time to flaunt his wealth, one racy automobile at a time.
He lives large and apologizes to no one for his ritzy lifestyle.
A former House of Reps member who had his shirt ripped to shreds on the floor of parliament back in the day, no one knows how Melaye made his money and he’s never offered an explanation to those who’ve had the nerve to ask that of him.
During debates in the senate, Melaye is often loud, combative, angry and brash.
He once threatened to beat up and impregnate a female colleague and berated her for having the nerve to attain menopause.
As the accusations bordering on perjury and certificate forgery engulf Melaye, he’s got to utilize this golden opportunity to come clean on his many obscure business dealings and his not-too-worthy-of-emulation persona.
He owes the people an explanation about a lot of things, not least why he’s an anti-graft fighter one minute and a chaperon of an allegedly corrupt senate president and his wife the next.
In the larger scheme of things, the senate’s ethics and privileges committee which has been tasked with investigating the alleged certificate fraud as perpetrated by Melaye, owes the Nigerian people a thorough job (which is probably asking for too much from this class of lawmakers).
If Melaye is a fraud, he should be exposed for being so unabashedly fraudulent and publicly shamed.
If he isn’t as dodgy as he looks from the outside, the Nigerian people deserve to know either way.
It’s time to crack open the shell of mystery surrounding the cult personality of senator Dino Melaye and his shady politics.
May the ‘ayes’ have it.