Backstory: Why Dino Melaye and the APC will fight to see the end of Gov. Yahaya Bello in Kogi

Well, like the good Napoleon said, NEVER INTERRUPT YOUR ENEMY WHEN HE’S MAKING A MISTAKE. It is a normal thing for mad people to conceive the impossibility. Let them dance the dance of madness and schizophrenics. Recall who??? When the gods want to destroy a man, they make him mad in the first instance. Yahaya Bello is suffering from the most chronic form of madness already and that is the prelude to his final destination” – Dino Melaye

What you just read is what Senator Dino Melaye of Kogi West constituency shared via his Instagram and Twitter on Sunday. Coming from a sitting member of Nigeria’s National Assembly, it’s deplorable yes but it’s just another episode in the ongoing verbal exchange between the senator and his state governor, Yahaya Bello.

Let’s do a quick backtrack of some of the sordid expressions Melaye has used for Bello in the recent past, and trust that it’s the easiest thing to find. Dino has not much use for social media than raining curses and prayers alternately. In a Facebook post on Friday, he accused Gov. Bello of sponsoring the protest march his constituents held demanding his recall from the Senate due to his inability to fulfill campaign promises.

In this post, he described Gov. Bello as “daft“, “olodo” and “governor that can’t pay salary but sponsor rubbish“. In May, he said the governor was “politically castrated” and in previous months described him as “a small rat in politics who is unfit to govern“.

In a more grievous attack, Senator Melaye explicitly accused the governor of plotting to assassinate him in April 2017, an allegation the latter denied.

Governor Bello’s offence? 

Ineptitude, insensitivity, recklessness, impunity, fraudulent behaviour, lack of integrity.

All that he is being accused of by not just Melaye but members of Kogi’s All Progressive Congress (APC), the party who chose him to run in the supplementary poll following the sudden death of its candidate and past governor, Abubakar Audu just after the state’s gubernatorial elections held in November 2015.

Worse for Governor Bello, the Independent National Electoral Commission has accused him of flouting electoral laws by registering for his Permanent Voters Card (PVC) twice and doing so “outside INEC’s designated centres”. Like the APC was waiting for the perfect excuse, the party has used this opportunity to call for the governor’s resignation, and in an unrelated circumstance, Senator Melaye has dragged him to court for failure to conduct local government elections in the state.

Root cause?

The attention of the national leadership of the APC was called to Governor Bello’s actions in April 2016 when he purportedly appointed 45 members of the opposition party, PDP to various portfolios in the state. His own party had been sidelined and the man whom they fought tooth and nail to put in power had betrayed them by vesting power in the hands of the opposition. They also accused him of being the cause of the conflict in the state’s House of Assembly at the time.

It was at this point the APC declared that “it would no longer have anything to do with Governor Bello“.

Over a year later, Yahaya Bello still remains governor in Kogi state but will he see his term through? The answer lies in the hands of the APC as one force and Melaye as another.

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