Iwaited these few days before this comment because I thought Senator Dino Melaye, at his sober moment, would realise how inhuman, how insensitive his display at the Peoples Democratic Party’s Presidential Campaign Rally was the other day. And, I also thought his Principal, the Presidential Candidate of the Party, Atiku Abubakar, would do the most decent thing, short of relieving him of his appointment – publicly call him to order.
Only Peter Obi, the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party did.
Dino was publicly mocking and imitating what the alleged ill-health of the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, has reduced him to.
In more civilized climes, Dino would either have resigned honourably, after tendering an apology, or be forced by his Principal to resign as the Spokesperson of his Presidential Campaign Council over his sickening display. His political career would have died a premature death.
As is well known, the campaign for Nigeria’s 2023 Presidential Election would go down in the history of political campaigns in Nigeria, as the most dirty, the most obscene, the most shameful, and the most empty. No serious issues are discussed. But for Peter Obi, the Labour Party Candidate, none of them gets seriously interrogated.
Two candidates stand out like a rotten, smelly thumb in this gutter campaign – Atiku of the PDP, and Tinubu.
Between the two, Nigeria has been stripped of every honour, every respect, every decency, every dignity, every credibility. They have ridiculed and shamed Nigeria. They have dragged Nigeria into the gutter before the international community. And they have disgraced and exposed themselves to ridicule, and stripped themselves naked in the market square. When one strips oneself naked in the market square, that display is permanent, it doesn’t matter how much one tries to wash it off.
It’s like a pig. My beautiful mother of the blessed memory always told us to be careful not to descend to the level of a pig because, “wash a pig, dress a pig, a pig will always be a pig.”
There is no derogatory name under the sun that Atiku and Tinubu have not called each other. They have called each other murderer. Money launderer. Corrupt. Crook. Drug addict. A convicted druggist. They have called each other a thief, a thief ten times over. They have called each other the male equivalent of a free woman, parading in the red street. They have punched at each other’s preferred sexuality. They have even dragged their wives and concubines in. They have mocked each other’s health status.
The question is: What remains of both Atiku and Tinubu?
The International Community must be having a good laugh at our dear country. It is not like Nigeria’s reputation was anywhere before now. Was it not before us, before the world, and before our President, Muhammadu Buhari, that a former British Prime Minister, David Cameron, dismissed Nigeria as “fantastically corrupt”? The President had no answer. You would think he would lodge a complaint at such insult. But Buhari apparently agreed with Mr Cameron, and since then, the antenna has been raised. Our reputation has kept going down the drain. Our dignity too.
Two of our three Presidential front-runners, have worsened it. In saner climes, both Atiku and Tinubu would have stood down from the race, or be forced to stand down over what they have done to each other, and by extension, our country.
Heads of Governments, world over, must be biting their fingers and wondering how they would handle Nigeria if either Atiku or Tinubu wins the Presidency. They will be at pains over what to do with a President who has been stripped naked in a market square. They must be wondering how they will sit in the same room with a President so dirty. So corrupt. So bereft of any dignity. What is wrong with these men and their handlers? What sin did Nigeria and Nigerians commit against them?
Yet, Dino Melaye’s public display this other day at the PDP Presidential Campaign Rally takes the cake. It is beneath contempt.
Of course, there have always been strong doubts over the health status of Bola Tinubu. And he doesn’t help himself at Campaign rallies. His handlers have not been able to get him to stick to the script. Or teach him how to talk. Or what to say and what not to say.
His constant attack on President Muhammadu Buhari’s policies is not likely to do him any good. His denial of what he said, immediately thereafter, does him no good either. He should stand by what he said. Nobody is putting words into his mouth. And so does his constant mocking of Governors and candidates.
He had mocked Peter Obi. He said that one “has no status”. When I read that, I said to myself that somebody should sit him down and read Obi’s Curriculum Vitae to him, in case he is too busy to read it himself. He mocked Funke Akindele, the Deputy Governorship candidate of the PDP in Lagos. It is not that Akindele and his boss stand a chance against Babajide Sanwo-Olu in Lagos, but she is not a nobody. The Lady is proudly one of Nigeria’s best actors, one of Nigeria’s best script writers, and one of Nigeria’s best cinematographers. Of good and unquestionable parentage and education, you cannot ask your supporters not to mention her name before you. Say wetin happen? That’s saucy and rude and inelegant.
And, it was, also, indecent of Tinubu to go to Governor Udom Emmanuel’s State, Akwa Ibom, and call him “boy”, and then threaten to use black magic against him – lizards, scorpions, pigeons to chase him out of his home. So, on top everything that they allege against Tinubu, he is also a native doctor.
How will the International Community look at a President who threatened to send scorpions, lizards and pigeons after a political opponent. Such careless talks matter. Yet, none of these touches Dino’s irresponsible mocking of Asiwaju Tinubu at a Political Rally this order day. It crossed the red line.
Addressing a mammoth crowd, Senator Dino Melaye threw decorum into the gutter when he openly mocked Tinubu over his alleged health. He held the microphone in his hands, and shook his hand vigorously just to confirm the suspicion that Tinubu is suffering from Parkinson disease. Then, he walked like a handicap and threw himself on the ground all in a demonstration of Tinubu’s health challenges.
And Dino did this twice. And people were looking at him, some laughing, some baffled, instead of taking the microphone away from him, all because of politics?
For the records, Dino Melaye is a former Senator of the Federal Republic. Protocol -wise, a Senator comes before a Governor, ignore the fact that in Nigeria it is shamefully different. Most of our Senators bow and tremble before their State Governors. The Governors put them in office and remove them at will.
To think that a former Senator would publicly mock and demonstrate the alleged ill-health of one?
Not a few people are aware of Dino’s antics. He makes a number of people laugh, including me. He is one of the few people I will miss when this craze for Presidency is over. Another is Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. But can somebody please tell Dino to remember that he prefixes his name with Senator, and respect that title?
Mocking one with one’s ill-health is a no-no. It is inhuman and insensitive and disgusting of the worst order. And that is putting it mildly.