The Chairman, Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Dino Melaye, speaks with FRIDAY OLOKOR on Senate President Bukola Saraki, the anti-corruption crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari and other national issues
What motivated you to go into politics?
My drive in politics is to make life more bearable for Nigerians. My interest in politics is for developmental reasons. I am in politics to right the wrongs of the society. I am in politics to offer palliatives to Nigerians. I am in politics to make sure that the youths of this country get their fair share in power sharing and resources of this country. My drive has always been revolutionary books which affected my life. Early in life I read books on Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. and that has helped in revolutionising my life and resulted in a positive effect on me politically. So my driving force is my orientation, my indoctrination from most autobiographies that I have read and more important God.
Most Nigerians, especially your peers, have expressed reservations about your sudden rise politically. How did you do it?
I give all honour, glory and adoration to the Almighty God who has supreme control over the universe. I want to believe that God is the ultimate reason for where I am today. I have tremendous belief in myself and I believe that every man must dream a dream; every man must have in mind the picture of what he intends to be; and I want to believe that with resilience, commitment, perseverance and prayers, one will always attain his goal in life. It is not all about me; it is about God. Failure to plan is planning to fail. For me, the battle to attain my goal is a battle of no retreat, no surrender and I will continue to pursue it. I also want to announce that I am still climbing the ladder. I still have some steps up to climb.
What is the future of youths in attaining the political leadership of this country?
Power is never served as a buffet. To attain power, you must struggle for it. The youths of this country will not get power on a platter of gold. So they must come out of their cocoons and begin to make sacrifices in search for power. The youths of this country must be resolute. They should be interested in how they are being governed and they must be interested in policy formulation and implementation. They must be interested in their political and economic environment. That is the only way they can capture power because power is not given; power is taken. The youths of this country must show capacity and interest in every facet of our national life and they must also make sure that they react to the environment. Power ultimately belongs to God. But when man wants it, man must labour for it because he that refuses to labour should not eat. The youths of this country are about 65 per cent of our population and have about 70 per cent of the voting rights in this country. The youths have the strength, the energy, the dynamism, the intellectual prowess and more important the population to capture power.
Several allegations have been made that you are close to the Senate President, against the interest of your political party, because he ‘settled’ you. What is your reaction to this?
Bukola Saraki is my friend. He is my brother and I value friendship. My definition of friendship is he or she who walks in while others are walking out. I am not a monetised character. I don’t commercialise my conscience. I do what is only right in man’s sight and in the sight of Almighty God. No one has the money to buy me. My relationship with Bukola Saraki is true friendship and I will stand by him come rain or shine. I will always be by his side as a friend and I will always advise him rightly. I did not pitch any tent against my party because as a senator, I swore an oath before God and before man using the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and also using the Holy Book. I swore to uphold the constitution and there is no All Progressives Congress senator, there is no Peoples Democratic Party senator. All we have is senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So, the party to me is just a vehicle for winning elections because no political party in this country is ideologically based; no political party in this country has a manifesto that is being implemented. The governor of Kaduna State is from the APC; the governor of Kano State is from the APC, but the programmes of the Kaduna State governor is apparently at variance with that of his Kano State counterpart. So people should not use the instrumentality of political parties to determine loyalty to the nation. My loyalty is first to Nigeria before my political party and the independence of the Senate is important to me. I believe that the internal issues of the Senate should be handled internally and I give my support to Bukola Saraki. I have no regrets about it.
So was your loyalty why Saraki compensated you with the position of chairman, senate committee on the Federal Capital Territory?
In every facet of life, people work for loyalty and today as a Muslim or as a Christian, we all strive to make heaven because there is a hope and a promise of eternity. So if a man gets rewarded for diligence and loyalty, it is not a crime. And if I got rewarded with the position of chairman, senate committee on FCT because I was loyal to Bukola Saraki, then the losers should lick their wounds.
Many believe that you are young and therefore they query the source of your stupendous wealth. How did you get your money?More