By Adenike Lucas
By any definition, Senator Dino Melaye has proven himself to be a man of the people.
Over the years, the representative for Kogi West Senatorial District has championed the cause of the people of his state to the detriment of his own career; which has earned him the love of the common man.
The 44-year-old lawmaker first broke silence to demand that all civil workers in Kogi must be paid their dues. He challenged the Governor of the state, Yahaya Bello, despite being in the same party as him.
At the time, he became an unpopular man for demanding for what should have been the fundamental rights of his people. But, many months down the line and a couple of suicide case over non-payments, we now have critics sharing similar thought as Senator Melaye.
Nonetheless, beating critics is nothing new to this former student of the great Ahmadu Bello University. He put detractors to shame this month with the announcement of the results of his second Masters.
Remember, the same lawmaker was one of the pioneers of the occupy Nigeria Movement. He was suspended for speaking about corruption in the 7th House of Representative. He was later recalled after successfully challenging the suspension.
And let’s not forget his expose on the former Secretary to Government of Federation, Babachir David Lawal. Senator Melaye accused Mr Lawal of awarding a government grass-cutting contract to his own company.
Many were those who stood up to defend Mr Lawal’s wrong doing, but, in the end Senator Melaye was vindicated!
So hate him or rate him, the bottom line is that Senator Melaye who goes by the moniker, SDM, simply cannot be ignored. His vocal nature has earned him praises and condemnation in some quarters.
As an astute policymaker, SDM moved many motions while in the House of Representative. Replicating a similar plan at the Senate, he has moved motions that would impact the lives of Nigerians positively.
One of such motion is on the Treasury Single Account, which has led to the recovery of huge sums from unauthorised sources and taken to the government coffers.
Another motion he moved, calls for the “Urgent Need to Investigate, Regularise and Amend Conflicting, Vague and Unjust Remedies which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Offers to Victims of Excess and Arbitrary Bank Charges and Illegal Deductions by Commercial Banks.”
Senator Melaye, an activist who stood up to the likes of General Sani Abatcha, has also challenged the status quo over the “stay putness” of a “corrupt” man in the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Even before the DSS report exposed the corrupt acts of Ibrahim Mustafa Magu, EFCC workers had been talking. Senator Melaye heard their voice and championed their cause.
He was also a lead character that exposed a secret account run by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
“While some individuals and government appointees will continue to steal, we have decided to continue to expose corruption in public life,” he said as he raised a motion demanding for the matter to be investigated.
It is not the common man enjoying from the NNPC, Nigeria’s cash cow. In fact, many reports suggest that many are out of pocket as a result of the fuel scarcity.
They might not understand yet the benefit of what Senator Melaye has done in raising question on fuel subsidy or the exposure of this NNPC purse which is filled with billions of Naira. However, one can say that the impact of his motion has ruffled the feathers of some elites that were benefiting from the secret account.
“In an unjust society, silence is a crime,” has become one of the favourable lines he quotes whenever he is asked to speak. Senator Melaye, who has won the award of the being the best legislator twice in a roll (2016 and 2017) says even in the face of intimidation, he cannot to be silenced.
With a penchant for justice, it’s clear a few that see this outspoken activist as a blockage against their impunity have a reason to hate him.
Indeed, the herculean task of seeking justice for people has won him some powerful enemies.
While they seek to suppress him, his voice remains unshaken and he continues to challenge them.
Senator Melaye has seen several threats to his life. Last year, he escaped from a shooting. The police were able to catch the perpetrators, but, all of a sudden, they have now decided to charge him to court for 1 March 2018 over the same matter.
Justice Olasumbo Goodluck for FCT High Court, Maitama is to decide if the lawmaker made a false claim about the threat to his life.
DENISAURUS News, like Senator Melaye is concerned that the same police who paraded the assassins, their weapons, the car they used, have confessional statements of suspects have changed its tune. Instead of chasing the perpetrators of this dastardly act, the victim is now being hounded just because he is refusing to be silent in the face of injustice.
It is unfortunate that the powers that be are desperately trying to silence this lawmaker.
The desire to muzzle him – just as the sponsored act of recall would only continue to increase his credibility among the people he is speaking for.
Adenike Lucas is the editor and publisher of DENISAURUS News. Follow her on Twitter at