Dino Melaye, the senator representing Kogi West before he lost it all, has been particularly lucky. Without any singular gift, he has risen to become one of the lords of the clan. And to make sure you don’t miss him in a crowd, Melaye has become something of an unpaid but fanciful comedian. Luckily for him, his comic extravaganzas came in the season comedians have become important personages and professionals in society. For example, Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome, who trades as Alibaba, is sometimes curated as a role model to the youths, if not the general society. The point is, were it not for the Alibabas, many would have taken Melaye for an urban nuisance. This, of course, is without prejudice to his high station as a senator. But times change and humour is serious business and humorists today weigh in as men of gravitas.
Our greatest fear is not in Melaye losing out to Smart Aderemi, who beat him at the rerun. Our greatest fear is that Melaye may never have the platform – the Senate – to play the urban entertainer and thus fight off his enemies by mocking them. But that is small fry compared to the dangers Melaye is about to face.
Before we go to the details, let us recall a piece of his history. Melaye is seen as a part of Bukola Saraki’s vanguard or boys. Trust Melaye, he never lost any occasion to remind the world of his dedication to the Saraki standards. But those were in the more paradisiacal days when Saraki himself was a big masquerade. Those were the days when Saraki was the Senate President and a powerful voice in the Peoples Democratic Party, as well as the majoritarian politics of northern Nigeria.
For reasons that we must await their memoirs, Saraki and company representing the consensus-seeking arm of the north ditched Jonathan for Buhari. Buhari, by their paper calculation, was to be their ultimate pan-North cum One Nigeria saviour. Please, never mind their paradox or delusion.
Anyway, it so happened that the gods granted the Saraki cabal their wishes. Buhari, an unlikely set piece maker, beat incumbent Jonathan at the polls and emerged as president.
Ironically, that was when Saraki’s real political or personal problems began. Saraki was hounded by the Buhari wing of All Progressive Congress (APC) to no end. They spared no efforts to humiliate him like he was a common criminal, almost. No Senate President in living memory has been so hunted and hounded.
Somehow magically, Saraki survived every attempt to haul him out of his elevated then Senate presidency. In other words, he gave the Buhari APC wing a bloody nose. Or they took his temporary invincibility as an affront.
As things have always been, politicians have never forgiven themselves their defeats. Like elephants, they have long memories. So, the Buhari wing of the APC bided their time and when election came for renewing the Saraki senatorial mandate they taught him a lesson. It was a lesson he may never forget. Not only was he roundly defeated, the political dynasty he inherited from his father was dismantled. Saraki, a former prince potentate, is now for all practical purposes a fugitive fleeing from power. And it is not as if they have left him. Just the other day he had issues explaining to a deaf world how a property he built with his personal savings was seized by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and or such government agents.
The point is that, at the moment of going for the Saraki properties, that was signal that the Rubicon had been crossed. That is to say, as things stand, it is obvious they have not finished with Saraki. Today, the smart money is to bet on the odds that the Saraki’s best and dynastic years are behind him. In fact, his worst days politically may only have begun.
That much is the fate of Saraki, a former Senate President, scion of a banking and power dynasty. Saraki, we may also need to remind ourselves, is aristocratically well married. That ensures he has a stack of connections to cash out as IOUs, politically and otherwise, if matters came to that. That is, Saraki, at least on paper, could mount a defense against his personal or dynastic assets being stripped. Governments, when unfriendly, can invoke all kinds of legal, even dubious, charges or inquisitions.
Now, it has come to the turn of Melaye. His tragedies are twin. First, he is a first-time incumbent to power and privilege. There are no records his roots stretching any further than himself. Nobody ever heard of the Melayes before him. But he had a knack for eviscerating his enemies via his mock Senate floor comedies. And that made him something of a prominent guy, and thus a target for removal. And immediately his elections were judged incomplete by the “lore courts,” it should have been clear to him that his worst and very powerful enemies were after him. What he would have done was to flee the shores of Nigeria. That was the smartest way to ensure his own political and other safeties. But he dug in, perhaps believing that there is justice or perhaps entertainment in politics, African politics.
Now, he has been finally trounced. That is not his worst tragedy. It is that he is not reading the tea leaves. And the tea leaves are saying, if he doesn’t flee Nigeria, his political enemies will see to it that he be buried dead or alive beyond resurrection, politically.
In the end, the mistakes are really his and those of his godfather, Saraki. The government they engineered to replace Jonathan’s, they naively never bothered to do any political “Environmental Impact Assessment” checks on. The government they pushed for on the basis of One North, they never suspected had a hidden reading of a calibrated North. To that government, being North is not enough. You did better be Fulani or tolerably Kanuri/Bornu and fervent, if not fanatic, Muslim. And that government is to be run, and is running, like a cult. And in cults, whether Ogboni or Mafia, you are never safe attempting to renounce or quit membership. The logic is simple even if self-serving: You can never un-know what you have known. So, to quit the Mafia or the Ogboni or APC is to possess some knowhow, some knowledge of their working conspiracies. In other words, you can use, squeal or deploy those insider knowledge against them and their vulnerabilities. That is to say, you have declared yourself a mortal enemy, who wants the Mafia or cult kingdom in ruins.
Here, it is not only that Saraki and Melaye quit their APC coven and cells, it is that they have done so in a manner that questions the legitimacy and integrity of their political Imam, Buhari. And the iron lore is that you don’t do such things and flourish. Your political and perhaps other deaths, including business deaths and destructions, etc, are simply indicated. Or even worse. So, seizing properties must be seen for what it i, Act One, Scene One. The high drama is yet to get any way near its dedicated resolutions. Ahiazuwa.
Our advice, therefore, is this. Before these prophecies fulfill themselves, Melaye’s best gambit is to flee into exile. Come after him they will. And it would have been too late. At such an hour he can’t plead with or run to the South-South or South-East to help him sort our his poor northern standing. The South-West is decidedly out of his sympathy harvesting zone. In an irrational exuberance, Melaye took on the Jagaban’s wife in a manner that was really unbecoming. And politics is about debts repaid and loyalties rewarded. The Jagaban can’t wait to cook a fallen Melaye’s balls and serve those to his dogs for their dinner.
In the end, nobody will sympathize in real terms with Melaye or Saraki. They played the anti-Jonathan game with cockiness that they had all the aces in their palms. And won. So, it is safe to say that the future they ordered by sacking Jonathan has arrived. Even if they want to reject or divorce it, that future won’t let them, that future is irrevocably wedded to them. The years ahead will be interesting times to live in. And this must be especially so for Saraki and Melaye. And that living shall for them and their kind be in the eyes of storms. God willing, we shall be reporting from the front row seats. Shalom.