Last Thursday, a director in a reputable non-governmental rights advocacy organization in Nigeria reached out to me. He was bitter about the perceived “victimization” of Senator Dino Melaye, the Kogi West lawmaker who would, at least, for the next five weeks, be cooling off his feet in police custody.
The NGO director was so angry. “It’s victimization from the powers that be,” he said, and listening to him, all I could think of was “so what”? I am not going to write a line of advocacy material for the likes of Dino Melaye. In fact, if I have my way, I will discourage anyone who feels a sense of duty like the NGO director from taking any action in his defense.
I would rather advise Dino to arm himself with writing materials to document his ongoing ordeal as an example of what millions of Nigerians go through everyday because people like him made our national institutions, and in this case, the police, what they are today.
Dino had had chances to be part of those that will change the situation, but has failed to seize the moment. Instead, the Kogi Senator has over the years become a prominent member of a group of very few elite - elected and appointed - who have sold their souls to the devil by hijacking the people's collective resources for pursuits of their private ephemeral excitement.
The Kogi lawmaker is particularly popular for his serial ridiculing of the essence of a senator without consideration for the interest of the people who gave him the mandate. Where is that significant bill he has sponsored since he became a senator or when he was a member of the House of Representatives? What can we point at as the contribution of Senator Dino Melaye to the alleviation of the dire socio-economic circumstances of the Nigeria’s teeming masses? Nothing, aside imbecilic ‘music videos’, obscene display of exotic automobiles, 'pirate parties' flashing of designer wears, and occasional stirring up of unnecessary, ego driven controversies.
As a journalist, I’ve written numerous reports on police brutality against the common people. I have written about the oppression and victimization of the ordinary people by the rich and powerful. I have seen first hand what it means to be bullied and have no institution to protect you. Nigeria is a society where, as a poor person, you have no security of any kind. Indeed, if you don’t have money in Nigeria, you better heed hip-hop musician, Small Doctor’s advice: “hide your face” or, I will even dare say, hide "the whole of your head."
Sometimes last year, two young ladies who used to work for a celebrity makeup artist were arrested and detained in a Lagos state police station. They were later granted bail, but were lured back to the police station and transferred to Abuja without prior notice or opportunity to inform their family members.
It was simply that someone wanted to punish them and she has the money and the right connection within the law enforcement agency to carry out her desire. The girls were in police custody for a week before their parents or lawyer got to know where they have been transferred. Whatever case she said she had with them was never charged to court, but the poor girls were locked up, unjustly. Maybe tomorrow, they would get justice, but as at this moment, they are hiding their faces because they are poor and defenseless.
What is happening to Dino is not different from what many Nigerians have had to swallow while smiling. He should swallow the humble pie too. I mean, it is relieving for a change that it is one of the “rich and influential’ who is in the eye of this. It is good for a change, my people!
Call me biased, but I don’t have any sympathy for the singing senator. In fact, I want him to spend more months in custody. He should be taken to a proper prison. Those behind his ‘victimization’ should bribe everyone to ensure he gets convicted. It would be of great service to us - ordinary, defenseless Nigerians. If Dino gets convicted, that would be one nuisance who would never get to hold political office again. That is enough excitement for me.
This should be a lesson to the rich and powerful. Maybe Jean-Jacques Rousseau's prediction of the poor eating the rich will never happen in Nigeria. But the rich should know that soon, they will start falling into their own ditches.
Finally, for the sake of glorifying my pettiness, I ask Dino, is the “ajekun iya” well served or you need some more dose?