Dino Melaye is a popular Nigerian politician known for his humor, hilarious acting, and pretense and more importantly, he is known as a staunch critic of the Buhari-led government before he was ousted as a senator in Kogi State.
Despite his seeming anti-government campaign, Dino Melaye is a highly controversial celebrity whose salary does not justify his lifestyle. More than any other politician in Nigeria, Dino is a huge collector of luxury, supercars, including vintage cars.
In this post, we talk about the biography of Dino Melaye and his net worth.
Daniel ‘Dino’ Melaye (born 1 January 1974), is a Nigerian politician, and actor, and member of the 8th National Assembly, Kogi West Senatorial district. Dino Melaye was an active member of the student union during his undergraduate studies at Ahmadu Bello University where he studied geography. He went on to lead the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), African Youth Council and Commonwealth Youth Council. He was subsequently appointed as the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Council on Youth by then President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Dino, as he is fondly called, was known for his strong opposition to the Goodluck Jonathan presidency. He was a Member House of Representatives under the platform of the All Progressive Congress. In 2015, he won the Kogi Senatorial West district. He seconded the nomination of Senator Bukola Saraki in his controversial bid that led to his emergence as the Senate President. Dino Melaye is well known for his love of luxury cars, champagne and designer clothes, as his Instagram account shows this.
Dino Melaye’s foray into politics dates back to his days in the university where he played an active role in students’ unionism. His interest in partisan politics was, however, kindled while following the then Military Administrator of Lagos, Brig Gen Mohammed Buba Marwa in the late 90s.
At the commencement of the new democratic dispensation in 1999, Daniel Dino Melaye was relatively unknown to his people until 2007 when the House of Representatives’ slot was zoned to Gbede district of Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State.
In the Okun political circle especially in the Peoples Democratic Party, political positions are zoned and rotated among various districts. Thus between 1999 and 2003, the Ijumu district in Kabba-Bunu / Ijumu Federal constituency had the first shot, which threw Chief Abiodun Ojo up.
Between 2003 and 2007, it was the turn of Bunu district and Duro Meseko emerged the preferred choice. Dino succeeded him as the choice of Gbede district in Ijumu after a lot of politicking between 2007 and 2011.
But when Dino in 2011 kicked against the zoning system that brought him to power, the Kabba district, whose turn it was to produce the next candidate rose against him, hence he lost to Tajudeen Yusuf, a former students’ union leader at the University of Jos.
Early Life & Education
Dino Melaye was born in the city of Kano, on January 1, 1974. He graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, where he studied geography in 2000. He led the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and later became the Secretary-General of African Youth Council and then that of the Commonwealth Youth Council. He was appointed by President Olusegun Obasanjo to chair the Presidential Advisory Council on Youths.
In 2008, during the rerun of the governorship election, Dino Melaye pitched camp with the then-governor Ibrahim Idris against Prince Abubakar Audu (now late). He was alleged to have gone to the INEC office to get the photocopies of credentials submitted by Audu, the then ANPP governorship aspirant and accused him of not having secondary school certificate.
He, however, apologized to the late Audu and promised to work with him. Audu was said to have forgiven Dino, made him the ANPP candidate and funded his campaigns for House of Representatives election, which he lost to Tajudeen Yusuf of the PDP.
Dino Melaye alleged that the election was rigged in favour of the PDP candidate and for several days he led some youths to INEC office in Lokoja protesting and calling for the cancelation of the election.
Between then, the 2015 election groped in political obscurity in the state and veered into anti-corruption campaign during which he led a crusade of probe against a former governor in the state, Ibrahim Idris who had just left office then.
Dino was a member In the House of Representatives, where he openly opposed President Jonathan Goodluck, calling his government the most corrupt one in Nigeria.
In the 2015 Senatorial election, he was elected a member of the Senate of Nigeria from the Kogi West Senatorial District and was reelected to be by his constituents to be a member of the 9th senate. He seconded the nomination of Senator Bukola Saraki as a candidate for the office of President of the Senate following a nomination made by Senator Ahmad Sani Yerima.
Dino remained in ANPP despite failing to realize his re-election bid on the platform until the party merged with other political parties to form the All Progressives Congress. His reconciliation with the late Audu again who was one of the arrowheads of the party in the state paid off in the long run.
He contested the Kogi West Senatorial seat and defeated Smart Adeyemi of PDP after controversially emerging as APC candidate.
Before the election political watchers had written Dino off as the PDP was believed to have a formidable candidate in Smart Adeyemi, who was seeking a third term but the Buhari Tsunami gave Dino, who had already lost the five local government areas in his native Okun land and was in the distant third position an edge over the PDP candidate as votes from Lokoja/Kogi handed him a surprise victory.
Political Controversies & Scandals
Dino Melaye’s political career has not been devoid of scandals and accusations. As a senator, it was alleged that Melaye continued to operate checking and savings account with a US bank, in violation of Nigeria law, a report he has not denied. Nigeria’s Code of Conduct Bureau strongly and clearly prohibits the use of foreign accounts by elected and public officials.
Melaye has repeatedly dodged questions that he operates these bank accounts, despite evidence provided including transaction dates, bank statements, card numbers, and location of the transactions.
Melaye criticized Edo state Governor Adams Oshiomhole for “importing his wife” rather than marrying a Nigerian woman.
Melaye had threatened to beat up Senator Oluremi Tinubu, wife of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State and the national party leader of the All Progressives Congress, and ‘impregnate’ her on the floor of the Senate.
In June 2017, a process to recall Senator Daniel Dino Melaye from the National Assembly was kickstarted by Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello. The recall generated a nationwide outrage as names of reportedly deceased citizens of Kogi state were found in the list of those who voted to have the controversial senator recalled. The recall however failed.
On May 2, 2018, Senator Melaye was arraigned in court by the Police on Wednesday at Chief Magistrate Court in Wuse Abuja. He was granted bail in the sum of N90million by the court, having met the bail condition but was rearrested by the police shortly after his release.
On July 24, 2018, Melaye alongside 13 other Senators of the All Progressives Congress, APC, defected to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. In Abuja on the 5th of January, Dino Melaye ‘slumped’ after surrendering to the police.
Dino Melaye was involved in various certificates scandals in 2017 including his claim to have obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from Ahmadu Bello University and a degree from the Boston-based Ivy League Harvard University in the United States. He claimed to have obtained the degree but not yet verified.
Melaye who might face severe criminal charges that might undermine his political career if such scandals should prevail denies these claims. However, his colleague and former majority leader of his party (APC) Sen. Ali Ndume calls for the house to probe Melaye’s claims. Melaye claims not only did he graduate legitimately from ABU Zaria, but also, he has successfully earned seven degrees from various other institutions around the world, among them are Harvard’s University, Kennedy School for Educational Leadership and London School of Economics and Political Science; a claim that was since refuted by both institutions, with Harvard claiming Mr. Melaye only presented himself for a week-long professional development course in late 2016. While LSE claimed there is no evidence on its database that Mr. Melaye ever Obtained any degree there.
Melaye was eventually cleared by the Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Ibrahim Garba who appeared before the Senate Committee to confirm that Senator Dino Melaye graduated from the school, although under a different name.
Daniel Dino Melaye was previously married to Tokunbo Melaye for ten years. She filed for divorce after a domestic violence dispute where she claimed that he beat her up and pointed a gun to her head. Shortly after, Alero Falope moved in with Melaye. Falope moved out six months later. Tokunbo had three children with Dino, and Mr. Melaye had another child with an unnamed woman in July 2016.
In May 2016, Dino Melaye launched a book titled “Antidotes For Corruption: The Nigerian Story” which received backlash, given the perceived reputation of author. The backlashes increased at the event as it was headed by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and former First Lady of Nigeria, Dame Patience Jonathan, who were both entangled in different corruption cases.
The book was also berated for its poor syntax, as ‘antidotes’ was expected to take the preposition ‘to’ against the ‘for’ that was used in the title. Some quarters also described the book to be a mere “cut and paste” of newspapers articles. suggesting that the book has little or no original intellectual inputs from the author.
Melaye clearly loves the finer things in life. His Instagram profile features pictures of him posing in designer boutiques wearing bright coloured trainers and tight jeans, or in front of a row of luxury cars.
This opulent lifestyle has on occasion landed him in hot water.
He was criticized after making a cameo in a music video of Nigerian rapper Kach, who also happens to be the son of the country’s oil minister, Ibe Kachikwu.
The video for the song, called Dino, features luxury cars, women in underwear, and $100 bills being thrown around. Mr Melaye is also seen stepping out of a sports car, wearing a T-shirt with the word “legend” written on it.
Some Nigerians criticized him on social media for the ostentatious display of wealth, particularly at a time when many civil servants in his home state of Kogi were owed several months’ salaries.
Alleged Assassination Plot
The federal government took Dino to court for allegedly providing false information about an alleged assassination attempt on his life.
In April 2017, Mr. Melaye accused Yahaya Bello, Kogi’s state governor, of being responsible for a failed assassination attempt on his life. Mr. Bello and Mr. Melaye frequently clashed in what many see as a struggle for control of the state.
Dino had posted videos on social media of himself singing songs taunting the Kogi governor, earning him the nickname of the “singing senator”.
Awards & Recognitions
Dino Melaye has won several awards, including;
- ‘Best Honourable Representative of the Year’ by Global Youth Awareness and Development Initiative
- ‘Protector of the Youth P.D.P National Youth Vanguard’
- ‘Epitome of Servant’ by National Association of Kogi State Students
- ‘Youth Libra for Award’ by the Visioners Club of Kogi State
- ‘Great Motivator of Students’ by Nigerian Economic Student Association
- ‘Icon of Good Leadership’ by Kogi Peoples Forum
- ‘2008 Diplomatic Member of the year’ by St. Monica’s College Kabba and
- ‘The most performed National Legislator’ by Vision 2020 Youth Group.
- ‘Most vibrant Honourable member’
- ‘Abuja merit Awards African Parliamentarian of the year 2005 in the U.S.A.’
- ‘Melaye also won the ‘Senator of the year’ award in 2017 and 2018.
Dino Sacked by Election Tribunal
Senator Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party was declared the winner of the Kogi West Senatorial election held on Feb. 23, 2019. The Returning Officer, Prof. Emmanuel Bala announced that Melaye polled 85, 395 votes to defeat Sen. Smart Adeyemi of the APC who scored 66, 901 votes.
Unfortunately, on August 23, 2019, the Kogi State National Assembly/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal quashed the victory of Senator Dino Melaye on three grounds of irregularities, over voting and non-compliance with the electoral acts.
The three-man panel led by Justice A. O. Chijioke in a unanimous judgment accepted Adeyemi’s ground and order for reelection into the senatorial axis which he eventually lost to Smart Adeyemi.
Dino Melaye, a former Nigerian senator of the 8th assembly has an estimated net worth of N12 billion. Dino Melaye’s fleet of cars include a Bugatti Veyron, valued at $1.7 million (N616 million), a Lamborghini Gallardo valued at N73 million, a Polaris Slingshot valued at N8.7 million, a classic Rolls Royce with a base price of N145 million, a Porsche Panamera valued at N29 million, a N55 million Range Rover, a Mercedes G-Wagon valued at N60 million, a Bentley Continental worth N90 million, a Chevrolet Corvette estimated at N44 million, a Ferrari valued N100 million and multi-billion Naira mansions in Abuja.