The 2017 legislative year has come and gone, but not without leaving legacies which define the moments. This is with special reference to the institution of the National Assembly and the lawmakers who handle the sacred instruments of law making.
The 8th National Assembly started on a very shaky note because the institution came under intense scrutiny for many issues – first was on account of its N150B annual budget. Next came questions about if lawmakers should continue drawing huge allowances in consideration of the economic realities. These issues were about the most sensitive matters which defined the current assembly.
On an individual basis, whereas most Nigerians have argued that perhaps one chamber of the legislature should be unbundled to save cost, there are however, not a few congressmen who still give another section of Nigerians; especially their constituents reasons to argue that even though the Nigerian parliament is adjudged the world’s most expensive, it cost may be worth the benefits. Prof. Solomon Adekunle Olorundare, Member, WAEC Board, Fehintola Olafenmi Adeoti, FCT Secondary Schools Education Board and Ndaghaga Gabriel still of the FCT Secondary Schools Education Board are among constituents in Kogi West who will readily testify of the contributions of Sen. Dino Melaye to human capital development. While the debate remains on about the effectiveness of Nigerian lawmakers, Sen. Dino Melaye stands out as a ranking congressman who has clearly distinguished Himself in service to His immediate constituents, His state and Nigeria at large. As a ranking congressman who has raised the bar of selfless service beyond a level that is considered normal within the Nigerian political context, Sen. Dino Melaye has suddenly set a new benchmark for what passes as an irreducible standards of value based leadership. This is along the lines of value, commitment, innovation and solutions. Perhaps, it may suffice to highlight just a few novel interventions of Sen. Dino Melaye since the commencement of this current National Assembly which for the avoidance of all doubts and records is less than 3 years old. First it was the construction and renovation of more than 120 mechanized water boreholes across the seven LGA’s making up Kogi West with an attendant cost nearing almost a quarter of N1B – this was a 2015 intervention aimed at reducing the hardship associated with natives sourcing water from far locations with associated risks. Next came in 2016 a mass donation of ICT tools to young students drawn from various high schools in Kogi West. Desktop computers were acquired and distributed to enable beneficiaries gain seamless access to the internet. Besides cash honorarium, mobile smartphones were equally distributed to draw the beneficiaries closer to technology. Over and beyond this is also a direct transfer of over N100M to constituents of Kogi West via purchase of brand new vehicles to support and enhance the social responsibility of the traditional institutions, religious bodies ( Purchase of new Toyota Hiace 18 seater bus for Council of Ulama and the Christian Association of Nigeria, Kogi West), the town unions and traditional institutions (Purchase of new Toyota Hiace 18 seater bus for Ijumu Development Movement.) and trade unions (Purchase of new Toyota Hiace 18 seater bus for National Association of Technicians and Automobile, Kogi West.) amongst others. To Sen. Dino Melaye, there is a line which distinguishes recurrent empowerment from Capital empowerment. In His opinion, whereas individuals deserve support to enable them lead better lives, the community as going concerns should not be left behind because communities must exist before individuals. It is on the strength of this that Sen. Dino Melaye directly influenced the following community based initiatives: Construction of 4-Rooms Block of Classrooms in Abuji, Sarki Noma all in Lokoja LGA, Kogi West Senatorial District, Kogi State. (Completed, awaiting commissioning). Construction of a Town Hall in Aiyetoro-Gbede, Ijumu LGA, Kogi West Senatorial District, Kogi State. (Work ongoing) . Construction of 4-Rooms Block of Classrooms in Iffe-Olukotun, Ponyan both in Yagba East LGA, Kogi West Senatorial District, Kogi State. (2Nos) (contractor has been mobilised to report to site) Construction of 4-Rooms Block of Classrooms in Tawari, Aseni, Manyare all in Kogi LGA, Kogi West Senatorial District, Kogi State. (3Nos) (Almost completed) Construction of 4-Rooms Block of Classrooms in Egbe, Yagba West LGA, Kogi West Senatorial District, Kogi State. (1No) (contractor mobilised to report to site) Construction of Town Hall in Koton-Karfi, Kogi LGA, Kogi West Senatorial District. (1No). (Contractor mobilised) Construction of 4-Rooms Block of Classrooms in Ekinrin-Adde, Aduge, Ayere, all in Ijumu LGA, Kogi West Senatorial District, Kogi State. (3Nos)( contractor has been mobilised, work to start soon) Construction of 4-Rooms Block of Classrooms in Amuro, Mopa, both in Mopamuro LGA, Kogi West Senatorial District, Kogi State. (2Nos) (contractor mobilised); and Construction of 4-Rooms Block of Classrooms in Aiyetoro Kiri, Olle-Bunu, Okedayo, all in Kabba/Bunu LGA, Kogi West Senatorial District, Kogi State. (3Nos) (work has commenced) One thing is abundantly clear from the aforementioned facts, so far in Kogi West Senatorial Zone, it has been a bountiful harvest of citizens oriented projects tailored to meet the yearning of constituents for better life. In 2017, on the strength of the effective participation of Sen. Dino Melaye in the budget formulation process, over N3B was earmarked for direct projects to be situated in Kogi West Senatorial Zone. The only reason why most of the project were not undertaken is directly linked to the Federal Ministry of Work, Housing and Power supervised by Babatunde Raji Fashola who on national TV recently confessed that His ministry did not undertake any capital projects in 2017 neither did it spend a dime on projects in the same budget year. As a country, Nigeria has immensely benefited from the legislative acumen of Sen. Dino Melaye and here are a few reasons: National Lottery Act 2005 (Amendment)Bill 2016 (SB :227) Passed. Matters of Urgent Public Importance: the imminent threat to Nigerian Democracy with unfounded allegations and charges instituted against the senate presiding officer by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF). Ethnic and Religious Hatred Bill 2017 (SB. 420). Motion for Non Payment of Teacher’s Salaries Across the country. Tuesday, 12th July, 2016. Motion on Repatriation of over N2 Trillion from Nigeria by MTN. Anti-Jungle Justice Bill 2015 (SB. 109), passed 2nd reading, to committee on Judiciary. Motion for the dredging of the River Niger. Motion for the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, Second Runway Contract. Motion on Ailing Ajaokuta Steel Company, a threat to Nigeria Industrial growth. Motion on corruption in the Monitoba deal. Motion on deplorable state of the following roads; Kabba-Ilorin Road, Iluke-Aiyetoro kiri Road, Abugi-Egan Road, Iyara-Omuo Road. Motion citing irregularities in the Awards of Contacts by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP). Tuesday, 26th Jan, 2017 Proposed policy of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to sell and install Speed Limit Devices on Vehicles. A motion for the urgent completion of OMI DAM. The Motion was passed and resolution has been directed to be sent to the Presidency and the Honorable Minister of Water Resources. Notwithstanding the truth that Sen. Dino Melaye has not been immune to various forms of mudslinging some of which question His pedigree, academic qualifications and what may pass as some form of youthful exuberance, one thing cannot be overruled about this enigma – hate Dino, criticize Dino, insult Dino, write off Dino but one thing is impossible to do – pretend not to know or outrightly deny that Sen. Dino Melaye has been and is still one of Nigeria’s most effective congressmen who has carved a niche for himself and brought hope and succor to the people He represents.