It is incredibly gratifying to come from Kogi. It’s the only state in Naija that is working. Our governor, Yahaya Bello is the only one with unimpeded access to the Villa in Abuja. He does not need security clearance day or night. Don’t expect money from Sai Baba’s araldite hands, but if Bello recommends you to the first family, you’re unlikely to go empty handed. Not even Aminu Masari is accorded such privilege.
Kogi is peculiar. The chunk that used to be in Kwara taught others how to write petitions. If you had anything against anyone, you spoke to someone from the old Kabba province – they provided you with the correct grammatical ammunition to bring enemies to their knees. The part that was Benue left with a promise – that nobody would govern Kogi without its blessings. They had kept to that promise until death armed Bello to break the jinx. He now runs the state like an elephant in a China shop. He is one of the few governors in Naija who somehow gets their state civil service up and running without paying them.
Literally, Bello has the good ear of Sai Baba in Sai Mama. He attained that level by arranging prayer warriors to bring Buhari back at a time when hyenas and jackals were running amok at the Villa. When his prayers were answered, Kogi, not Katsina State declared a public holiday in commemoration. When youthful indolence pushed the first son into a crash causing him to be flown to Germany, Bello mobilized spiritual resources for his safe return. When that prayer was answered, only one governor left his duty post at public expense to be at the airport to welcome the first son; his name is Yahaya Bello.
Bello could get the federal government to do anything for Kogi; except of course reactivate the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Complex; open access to Kogi’s fertile lands and its immense natural resources. Bello realizes that not all Kogians are loyal to Sai Baba. There are some who measure their loyalty by Dino Melaye’s angle to any issue.
There are over 109 sinnators in the irrational assembly at armed robbery zone. Type some of their names on Google and you get Error 404 in return. Check Dino Melaiye and you get torrents. The whole world envies Dino. He is one man who could enter the chambers in sartorial elegance and come out dressed like Rag Day, yet remain unfazed.
Dino is aljanni, a djinn whose rise from nothing to infamy beats his enemies. Dangote hit wealth by trading with his uncle’s loan, Otedola and Adenuga run businesses while Madam Alakija’s wealth was built by divine connections. Dino’s rise to notoriety and nuisance is a mystery. His elementary and high school mates dare not say what they knew of him back then. His ABU Zaria mates saw him matriculate but vowed he did not graduate. To prove them wrong, Dino became the only serving sinnator to come to work in his mortarboard.
Dino has no oil block, and no industry anywhere; yet he has opulent mansions with vaults for his childhood superman and pirate fancy dresses and a fleet of antique cars not suitable for Kabba roads. Dino once bought a fleet of vehicles numbered in sequence.
Like all empty barrels, Dino’s noise is loud in controversies. When he is not beating up his wife, he is aligned to groups with questionable motives. Dino is a Saraki loyalist, You can take Dino out of Kwara, but you cannot take Saraki out of Dino. If the Code of Conduct tribunal had room for drama, Dino would have sat at his master, Saraki’s feet during the latter’s trial.
Loyalty is a native of Kogi. So, when Dino kept heckling his governor, it is said the governor organized trouble for him. Dino claimed to have suffered an assassination attempt which the police, loyal to Buhari claimed didn’t happen. Indeed they declared Dino wanted for misinforming the police. When that didn’t wash, they accused him of gunrunning and declared him wanted. Dino continued to evade arrest and to show up wherever his boss appeared.
But Dino loves to sleep in Dino’s house and soon, the police laid siege and got him. Against a court ruling that his trial be held in Abuja, the police allegedly attempted to take him to Kogi where he courts the image of a cult figure for his philanthropy such as recently putting his names on federal projects as facilitator. In these days when promotion comes only from those with access to Okiro’s private number, and for Dino’s sake, the Kogi police commissioner nearly missed his commission and his daily bread.
Dino, who moonlights as a deejay jumped out of the police vehicle moving him to Lokoja as a VIP – very important prisoner! After threatening to die on the streets, he was wheeled into a hospital gurney where the police shackled him. When his boss, Bukola Saraki heard of his travail, he declared a public holiday for the sinnate and moved the mace to Zankli Hospital, another first for Dino.
If at the end of all these, Dino does not appear in the Guinness Book of Scoundrels – it’ll be for the same reasons Yahya Bello’s name is not there. If Naija does not realize its full potentials, one should not blame Kogi for missing its own. In politics, Saraki would have his Dino while Buhari would have his Bello. The rest of us don’t have to describe where we’re from with these irascible, narcissistic and delusional egomaniacs whose idiocies still finds support in an irrational society.