The rivalry between former lawmaker Dino Melaye and Senator Smart Adeyemi has been reignited after the Kogi West senatorial election was concluded over the weekend.
Melaye and Adeyemi have both contested and occupied the seat for Kogi West in the Senate for 12 years. Adeyemi was first elected Senator in 2007 and served for eight years till 2015. Melaye replaced Adeyemi at the Senate after the 2015 election.
Their rivalry again came to the fore during the 2019 election after which Melaye was declared the winner until the tribunal and Supreme Court ordered reelection for Kogi West Senatorial District.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Adeyemi, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), winner of the Kogi West senatorial district reelection.
INEC said Adeyemi polled a total of 88,373 votes to defeat the incumbent Senator Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who polled 62,133 votes.
Since the announcement of the result, both candidates have been embroiled in a war of words over who is the best fit to represent the Kogi West senatorial district in the Nigerian Senate.
After rejecting the result announced by INEC, Melaye said Adeyemi’s victory is “temporal, evaporative” and will be short-lived after he challenges the result at the tribunal.
Speaking at Channels Television programme, Sunday Politics, Melaye said, “anyone congratulating Adeyemi for the election amounts congratulating an armed robber after a robbery operation.”
Melaye, known to describe Adeyemi as his ‘political wife’ did not repent of his words despite losing the election.
“Adeyemi remains my political wife. I won the election.”
Melaye said he remains superior to Adeyemi on all fronts and claimed that he has over seven university degrees, whereas Adeyemi is a “just a polytechnic graduate.”
The former lawmaker said he sponsored over 200 bills during his four-year stay at the Senate compared to Adeyemi, who was there for eight years.
Melaye described Adeyemi’s win as a robbery of the people’s choice.
Adeyemi, on the other hand, said it is a shame that “an individual like Dino Melaye became a Senator in Nigeria.”
“I have a proven track record before I joined politics. Dino is just a thug on the streets of Abuja who joined politics and became a senator through corrupt means.”
Adeyemi, a former national president of Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) said Melaye used his four years at the Senate to purchase and flaunt exotic vehicles at the detriment of the people.
He said Melaye’s lifestyle contradicts the values of a bonafide son of Kogi West, whom he said are respectful and do not ‘destroy national institutions the way Dino did.”
“The elders have a saying that when a place is peaceful, the vagabond and bastard there have not grown and that is what happened in the case of Dino. I apologise to everyone he disrespected.”