SaharaReporters revealed some dark sides of the ‘baby boy senator’. Investigation showed that Senator Dino Melaye, who represents Kogi West Senatorial District, has no constituency office in the entire Kogi West that comprises Lokoja, Ijumu, Kaba/Bunu, Koto/Karfi, Mopa/Amuro, Yagba East and Yagba West local government areas, even though he receives funds from the Senate to finance such an office.
“Kaba is the headquarters of Kogi West Senatorial District and there is nowhere here that you will find a Dino Melaye’s Kogi West senatorial office,” a local government worker in Kaba told our correspondent. He added of Mr. Melaye, who is fond of showing off his ostentatious mansions and automobile collection, “Everybody knows the former senator, Smart Adeyemi’s, senatorial office in Odolu area here in Kaba. In fact, Senator Adeyemi also ran annex offices in other local government areas.”
On his official page on the National Assembly’s website, Mr. Melaye lists his constituency address as Iluafon Quarters, Aiyetoro-Gbede, Ijumu local government area, Kogi. But a correspondent of SaharaReporters learnt that there was no such place as ‘Iluafon Quarters’ in Aiyetoro-Gbede. Two places identified as Iluafon, however, are a village of less than ten houses that is about 12 miles away from Aiyetoro-Gbede (where Mr. Melaye has his country home) and an area in Aiyetoro-Gbede called Iluafon because people from the original Iluafon village had migrated there.
“Iluafon Quarters, inside this village? There is nothing like that,” one of the villagers in Iluafon told our correspondent. “And Senator Dino Melaye doesn’t have any office here. Even his family house that used to be in this village before his forefathers moved to Aiyetoro-Gbede has collapsed,” she added.
When our correspondent visited the second place known as Iluafon area inside Aiyetoro-Gbede town, he could not find the ‘Quarters’ where Senator Melaye claims he has his constituency office. The only thing traced to him there was a bungalow the locals told our correspondent belonged to the senator’s father.
“The only place Dino paid for is the APC secretariat for Kogi West. It is along Kaba-Aiyetoro Road, and we don’t expect him to point to that as his senatorial constituency office because he only rented it for the party and the activities done here are for the party,” an APC party member in Kaba told our correspondent. He added: “When we were constituency executives, he wasn’t paying us any allowances.”
SaharaReporters also gathered that the senator has done little for his constituents.
“Since he became a senator, what he has done was distributing grinding machines during the last Salah festival, and distributing 10kg bags of rice this Christmas. And then there’s the bus he gave to National Union of Road transport Workers,” one of the locals in Kaba told our correspondent. The source added, “Imagine a senator like him with his fat constituency allowance giving 20 bags per ward where mere local government chairmen are giving 50, and only Melaye’s diehard loyalists even get the rice.”
“Melaye is a betrayal,” a man who identified himself as a youth leader told our correspondent. “We saw him as a young and vibrant politician and that was why we gave him all our support but all he does now is go on social media to announce the purchase of his new cars. And when he comes home (Kaba/Aiyetoro-Gbede), he deliberately drives through popular junctions where boys are seated to show off his cars and shoes and then he would give N1, 000 each saying use that for condom money. Tell anybody here about condom money and they already know it’s the N1, 000 Melaye gives boys at junctions where he drives around just to show you his new stuffs.”
Another aggrieved supporter of the senator told our correspondent, “After six months in office, [Senator Melaye] told us he [was] coming to implement some projects especially in Kaba, the so-called senatorial headquarters. He even collected our names, that we will be the ones to supervise the projects. Sadly, we are yet to see him come for the projects.
Look at the road from Ayede garage to Ole/Iluke, so horrible. Look at Kaba/Bunu where we have 39 villages, only four of these villages have electricity. Even the fourth one, Iluke, is just worse than those without light. And this Bunu is an area Melaye used rigorously to campaign, promising to fix the electricity if elected. No good hospitals, dilapidated schools everywhere in his constituency, yet he goes about celebrating his new Ferrari and all.”
When our reporter moved around Kaba/Aiyetoro, the senatorial headquarters, he found no project connected to Senator Melaye. “The things you will see here are his mansion and that of his brother, Samuel, who does nothing. Even the road leading to [Senator Melaye’s] mansion is a dusty one like everywhere in Aiyetoro,” one of the locals in Aiyetoro told our correspondent.