Gov. Bello attacks Melaye, says Senator lacked ‘parental care’

Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, has attacked a senator from the state, Dino Melaye, saying the lawmaker was not properly nurtured into adulthood by his parent.

The comment came Wednesday as a political feud between the two former allies deteriorates, following an outbreak of violence at a political rally in Kogi, for which the two politicians blame each other.

Mr. Bello said it had become apparent that Mr. Melaye’s “reckless” behaviour could be traced to his childhood, admonishing Nigerian parents to do their utmost and ensure that their children were properly cultivated.

“You see, I would rather admonish Nigerians that when a child lacks proper parental care and upbringing, he constitutes social menace in the society,” Mr. Bello told journalists in Abuja. “And if the society does not take steps to check and correct such a child, they can take into criminality, then it will be left to government to check such criminality.”

But the senator fired back, telling PREMIUM TIMES in an unusually swift response to a request for his reaction to his governor’s jibe that he is a victim of his own rise to political prominence.

Mr. Bello is “afraid of anyone with rising profile, a characteristic of one suffering superiority complex and intellectual stagnancy,” Mr. Melaye said. “He is shooting the moon and boxing the wind.”

The governor also scolded senators for doing little to rein in alleged exuberance of their colleague, saying they risk being viewed as cut from the same cloth as Mr. Melaye.

“I think it is necessary that that wonderful house (Senate) should, as matter of urgency and as a matter of fact check, any social deviant that exists within them (sic) before they could be adjudged birds of the same feather,” Mr. Bello said, but quickly added: “I know they are not of the same feather.”

The governor was responding to State House reporters who queried him Wednesday afternoon about growing political tension in Kogi State.

He had emerged from a meeting with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo in the State House, a discussion he said went well.

“I came to brief the Acting President of development in my state,” Mr. Bello said. “We all know Mr. President is taking a rest and the men at the helm of affairs need to be periodically briefed.”

His visit to Mr. Osinbajo came two days after a political rally attended by Mr. Melaye turned deadly.

Kogi State Polytechnic confirmed a student died in the fracas, which broke outside the school’s campus where the rally was held.

Two State Security Service agents attached to Mr. Melaye were also said to have been injured during the fracas, and Mr. Melaye’s SUV was defaced by bullets, the News Agency of Nigeria reported.

Mr. Bello accused Mr. Melaye, who represents Kogi West district, of hurriedly putting together the gathering in order to beat back an ongoing effort to recall him from the Senate.

Some electorates in Mr. Melaye’s constituency began submitting their signatures to end Mr. Melaye’s tenure at the upper chamber.

The irate constituents said in a document forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, that their action was to save the constituency from further ridicule that Mr. Melaye had subjected it to.

Mr. Melaye said the move to recall him will fail, while his supporters gloat that the effort would be futile because it is cumbersome and time-consuming.

In his exchanges with State House reporters, Mr. Bello denied claims from critics like Mr. Melaye that he had earmarked up to N1 billion to finance the ongoing recall of the senator.

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