Melaye’s claim to APC leadership triggers controversy in Kogi
The Senator representing Kogi West senatorial district, Senator Daniel Dino Melaye is not new to controversy. On the last day of 2016, he declared himself the leader of APC in Kogi State.
However, Governor, Yahaya Bello who described his claim as bogus alleged that the Senator is a troublemaker.The occasion was meant to put smiles on the faces of his constituents with gift items but during his speech, which was laced with songs in Yoruba and English he debunked all negative insinuations against his person and his position in the APC as the foremost leader in Kogi State.
Melaye whose speech was laden with insinuations and ambiguities, referred to some persons that newly decamped to the party as tenants. Apparently referring to Senator Smart Adeyemi and others who recently crossed over to APC, he asserted that the new entrants were teaming up with Governor Yahaya Bello in the hope that with the influence of the Governor he (Melaye) would be undermined.
He said unknown persons who just dumped their parties to become lodgers in APC after eight years came in with the believe that they could undermine his integrity.“The Governor of Kogi State cannot undermine me in Kogi State neither can anybody undermine me in APC in Kogi State. I say this with every sense of responsibility and humility. I am the only member of the Board of Trustees of APC in Kogi State, even the Governor of Kogi State is not a member and I am also a member of the executive council of APC.
“They said since I got into office I have not done anything, that I do not even have a secretariat; that is fallacious and a lie as I am the only Senator in the Federal republic of Nigeria who is actually building a permanent structure as an office complex that will be commissioned a few days from now, in this January,” he stated.
According to him, there are two highest decision-making organ in APC and that he belongs to the two bodies stressing that people were merely wasting their time talking about factions, support or no support as it was not yet time to dissipate energy on who is where.
He admonished his followers not to be perturbed by what they hear as he does not blab or talk for nothing, blaming his “major opponents in the last election” for being responsible for the “most of the negative reports” on him.
However the senator believe that his major opponents in the last election must have been behind most of the negative reports.Observers contend that he newfound romance between the Governor and Adeyemi may have prompted Melaye’s resentment and concern resulting in the outburst particularly when viewed against the backdrop of the support he gave to the governor during and after the elections.
Specifically, they noted that against the advocates and apostles of ethnic politics, Melaye endorsed Bello’s emergence in the face of the controversy generated by most members especially from Mr. James Abiodun Faleke/late Prince Abubakar Audu camp.
They had expected that he would throw his weight behind his kinsman who also hails from his local government area.However, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Governor, Petra Onyegbule Akinti said Melaye was just laying spurious claims and dressing himself in borrowed robes stressing that it is only the Governor and Bubba Jibrin that are members of NEC.
She described him as a rabble-rouser who allegedly does not command the respect of his own constituents due to his infantile disposition.“He is a rabble rouse, we don’t have time for all of that, and we are busy with issues of Governance. The Governor is busy with the issues of governance; we are also busy doing our job of showcasing government’s achievements and getting appropriate feedback from the people that he governs. We are not in any supremacy contest with anybody claiming to be leader of the party in Kogi State.
“The people know who their leader is so there is absolutely no reason for us to chase after shadows.”According to her, the structure of the APC is such that whoever is the governor is the leader of the party in that State, saying that its akin to someone claim President Muhammadu Buhari is not currently the leader of APC in Nigeria.
“Being a BOT member does not make any person leader of the party in the State, if not the former acting Governor of Kogi State, Clarence Olafemi should have been declared leader of the party first, as a member of BOT of APC. Yes there are leaders of the party but there is only one head in the State and that is Governor Yahaya Bello.”
She maintained that even the APC constitution affirms that the Governor is the leader of the party adding that in States where the APC is not ruling, any former Governor who is a member of the party becomes the leader of the party.
Similarly, Mr. Samuel Aro Bamidele, a senatorial candidate of the Accord party in the 2015 general elections, who crossed over to the APC, contended that the Governor of the State remains the leader of the party.
He said Melaye is just a Senator representing seven Local government areas, adding that there are two other Senators saying he can not claim to be leader in a State when the APC constitution clearly states that the sitting Governor or a former Governor in States under the control of the opposition remains the leader of the party.
“It is very clear whether politics or real life, respect is an element that can not be eroded. Recognition and esteem are factors that make life meaningful, in every society there are constituted authorities and there are norms and values. It is the norm and values that encourages us to respect constituted authority.
“So I believe my brother and friend (Melaye) should understand that he needs to respect authority so that when the mantle of leadership falls on him he will be respected. I have so much respect for him, I don’t want to join issues with him but I think he is absolutely wrong.”
On Melaye’s statement referring to new entrants to the party as tenants, Bamidele asked rhetorically: “Who are the tenants? He should name the tenants and then we will tell him the constitution of the party is very clear. Whether you have been in the party for 10 years and a new entrant joins the party today, they have equal rights. Maybe he has another version of the constitution of the party that illustrates who is landlord and who is a tenant. We may have to ask him to produce the constitution.”
When contacted, Adeyemi declined to comment on the issue arguing that Melaye made a general statement without specific reference to himself, adding that he would not join issues with any body.