By Francis Etuko
Stormy petrel of the National Assembly, Senate Dino Melaye, Tuesday began feeling the heat of the role he played in the Senate’s rejection of presidential nominee fo chairmanship of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.
A known Magu sympathiser, Senator Ali Ndume, threw his back and that of Senate President Bukola Saraki, to the wall, causing the Senate to order its Ethics and Privileges Committee, to commence investigations into Melaye’s academic qualifications and Saraki’s alleged role into the questionable importation of a bullet proof vehicle.
Ndume, recently removed as Senate Leader, set the ball rolling when he told his colleagues:
“This matter that borders on our privileges came up. One has to do with the distinguished Senator Bukola Saraki, the senate president and it was reported in a paper I have it here with your permission I will want to after making presentation lay it down that “Senate on vengeance after Nigeria Customs seized Senator Saraki’s bullet proof Range Rover over fake documents.
“My colleagues that are following events particularly online have seen, heard or read the rain of abuses on this Senate and the misconception of the fact that we invited the Customs CG based on a very unpopular policy that affects the people we represent but now we are faced with this and the president has been found in this National Assembly.
“During the 4th Assembly, Salisu Buhari was accused of certificate forgery, he was investigated and determined after that in the 5th Assembly, Bello Masari was accused of certificate forgery (secondary school) it was investigated and was cleared. In the 6th senate, Dimeji Bankole was accused of not having NYSC certificate, it was investigated and he had to show his NYSC certificate.
“Now, that brings me to the second matter, in the National Assembly here in the Senate. In the 4th Assembly, Ewerem was accused and it was also investigated, Wabara was accused of collecting bribe and it was investigated and determined. So, a lot of precedents have been set. Now the second matter of privileges affects my colleague Dino Melaye and it is in the Punch of today page 10 and I have the newspaper. But in Punch, it says “Dino Melaye in first degree certificate scandal…”.
“Another online paper, Daily Post, also it says “Dino Melaye allegedly did not graduate from university”. Therefore, accordingly I will appeal we refer the matter to Ethics and Privileges to investigate so that our colleagues would be cleared and this Senate will stand as it supposed to.
Presiding Officer, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu promptly referred the matter to the committee for a four-week assignment.
In his response later, Melaye fired pot shots at Ndume referring to his travails in court as an alleged Boko Haram sponsor.
His words: “I am here to respond to the issue raised by Boko Haram suspect, Senator Ali Ndume. I want to say to me is a welcome development, democracy is about investigation and no Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is above investigation. To me is a very welcome development and it will finally clear the air of all malicious and vindictive allegations. For those of you who know, Saharareporters are obsessed (with) me.
“However, to say that I did not graduate from Ahmadu Bello University is to say that I am not a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and I will not be surprised tomorrow if Sahara reporters say Dino Melaye is not a Nigerian.
“However, this matter was raised and I just found out in my wallet that I have two ID cards with me in my wallet while the matter was going on and I quickly asked one of the Sergeant at arms (staff) to make photocopies of those two ID cards.
“One is a Masters programme I completed in Ahmadu Bello University, Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy and one of the journalist was a year ahead of me in that class. I have completed that programme and also just gained admission again and we have started lectures and I am already running another Masters in the same University in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. I am writing a test on Friday and Ahmadu Bello University is a prestigious university in this country and it is not possible to be running a mlMasters programme in that university when you did not graduate from that university.
“I have successfully completed one and I am doing a second one and I want to announce that makes it 7th degree that I am pursuing. I am also a graduate of the University of Abuja where I did Masters in policy Analysis. I am a graduate of London School of Economics and Political Science and also a graduate of Harvard University. The course I am pursuing now was going to be my eighth degree. I have seven degrees and I am pursuing the eighth one.
“It is a surprise to me that people will become so low but I want to say that I am not disenchanted, I am not perturbed. The intention is to distract me, is to slow me now and I will say I will continue to speak the truth at all times. I am not speaking to be liked, I am not speaking to be praised.
“I was speaking because the truth remains the truth and I will continue to speak without fear or favour. Like I always say you speak the truth you die, you lie you die but for Dino Melaye I have spoken to speak the truth and will rather die. I submit myself to the investigation of Ethics and Privileges committee and I already know the result of the investigation.
“As I speak no security agents have invited me or has taken me to court because if you declare that you are not a graduate or not. I have signed both INEC forms and even the ones we filled in the National Assembly signed under oath.”
He offered to step down as member of the Senate committee for the duration of tthe inestigations.