by Dolapo Adelana
On March 20, 2017, Nigerians woke up to the certificate scandal of controversial senator, Dino Melaye.
And who benter to bring up the issue than online news medium, Sahara Reporters. The news outfit in one of its occasional “FLASH” news reports on Twitter said Melaye did not graduate from the Department of Geography of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU).
That tweet alone has caused a spiral of events in the past 10 days which looks set to continue in the next few days.
Accusations and counter accusations came from both quarters. A N5bn libel lawsuit has been filed. A desire to fight to the death has been aired. The Kogi West senator became a singer and dancer, and also wore an academic gown to the hallowed chamber (insert a heavy eyeroll here).
We have decided to bring you up to speed on the events before the “Ajeku Iya” hit single by Melaye loses its vibe.
March 20, 2017: The news of the scandal broke. But that wasn’t all, as a quick check of the National Assembly website left us confused and begging for answers. The details on Melaye’s profile ‘revealed’ that the Senator was born 43 years ago and he graduated from ABU in 1970 (47 years ago).
Reacting to the scandal, Melaye in a series of tweets said, he was presently a student of ABU and was pursuing his seventh degree.
March 21, 2017: Senator Ali Ndume raised on point of order calling the Senate to investigate the certificate scandal.
March 22, 2017: The management of the institution weighed in on the matter saying it would release a statement on the graduation status of the senator.
Same day, Harvard University, one of the institution’s Melaye claimed to have had a degree from in a statement said the senator was not an alumnus of the university, as he only attended a one-week seminar.
In a bid to clip the wings of Sahara Reporters, the senator filed a N5bn libel lawsuit against the news outfit at an Abuja court.
March 23, 2017: Just a day after saying it would release a statement to clear the air on the certificate controversy, ABU reversed its decision saying “it is not a motor park institution”.
In the libel suit filed by Melaye, the senator said the scandal had made some of his friends and associates abandon him, saying the allegation had left him emotionally and psychologically traumatised.
Just like Harvard University, the London School of Economics, another institution Melaye claimed to have had a degree from said it had no records that the senator had any degree from it.
March 24, 2017: After filing the lawsuit, Melaye also petitioned the Inspector General of Police. Captioning the petition on his social media page, the senator expressed confidence that Omoyele Sowore, the publisher of Sahara Reporters will go to jail.
March 25, 2017: Further investigation into the certificate scandal revealed that Melaye bagged a Bachelor of Arts certificate in Geography from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. His statement of result indicated a B.A in Geography but the university reportedly awards a B.Sc for the same course.
March 26, 2017: Speaking for the first time after his news outfit exposed the scandal, Omoyele Sowore said Melaye is no different from a former military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida, and his killer squad, as he vowed to fight corrupt politicians to death.
Melaye’s name was missing after a search was done on the alumni website of the Ahmadu Bello University, just as the Senate said it would summon the Vice Chancellor of the institution to explain the certificate scandal. An ex-schoolmate of the senator said the scandal did not surprise him, as he blamed Melaye for being the architect of his own problems.
March 27, 2017: True to their word, Vice Chancellor of ABU, Professor Ibrahim Garba and Senator Melaye appeared before the Senate committee on Ethics and Privileges. Speaking under oath before the committee, Melaye said he graduated from ABU. His position was corroborated by Prof. Garba who said Melaye graduated with a third class from the institution’s Geography department. After hearing from the Vice Chancellor, Senator Ali Ndume, who also appeared before the committee said he was convinced Melaye graduated from the university.
Not one to back out from a fight, Sowore who was reacting to the VC’s claim that Melaye indeed graduated from ABU, said he had authentic records to prove that the senator could not have graduated as he failed to fulfil some requirements.
Obviously happy with the development that the VC had cleared him of any wrongdoing, Melaye released a video on his Instagram page where he was singing and dancing as he mocked his detractors.
March 28, 2017: Still in a celebratory mode, Melaye displayed his NYSC discharge certificate. He was later seen at the Senate dressed in an academic gown. His behaviour got us wondering how on earth he became a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the first place, just as many on Twitter were so sure the senator had been caught in a lie with the release of his NYSC discharge certificate.
His pettiness brought to the fore as to if he really had seven degrees or he is just a seven-year-old in the body of an adult. Nigerians are Twitter believe that Dino Melaye saga is a distraction from the uselessness of the Senate, as some are of the opinion that it is a punishment from the gods.