A schoolmate of controversial senator, Dino Melaye, at the Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, has described the travails of the senator as retribution for his alleged past misdeeds.
Abdussobur Salaam, who now works at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) spoke against the backdrop of the certificate controversy in which the senator is currently embroiled.
Critics and opponents have accused Mr. Melaye of lying that he graduated from ABU and said he has no certificate to prove he graduated. The lawmaker has, however, insisted he graduated from the university, one of Nigeria’s oldest universities.
Mr. Salaam, who spoke on a Penpushing social media platform and also confirmed his comments to PREMIUM TIMES, said he studied Political Science at ABU at the same time Mr. Melaye was a student in the Department of Geography at the university.
“Permit me to make an intervention on the issue of Dino and ABU, having been admitted and ‘graduated’ from ABU same year as Dino. I use the word ‘graduated’, very guardedly and with caution.
“Permit me to say that as at the time we were admitted, Geography Department was under the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS). In our 200 level, the Faculty was split and Geography Department had issues of where to fit in. It was initially placed under Faculty of Arts and later shifted to Faculty of Sciences where it is presently domiciled. The narrative on his certificate could be correct”, Mr. Salaam wrote.
“Dino and I are supposed to be ‘friends’ but differences never permitted while we were in school. Till date, we communicate once in a while, but I dare say he is the architect of his problems.
“I have spent all yesterday responding to enquiries on different platforms about Dino’s status as a graduate. My take?
“We were admitted the same year, initially into the same faculty of FASS, and given that our courses were four years, we ought to have graduated same year.
“However, recalling how studentship in ABU was that period, you could never be too sure of the academic status of any ‘student’.
“What do I mean? We had ‘students’ who were always around, attended lectures, participated in all student activities, were allocated hostel space, were always holding files and feigning academic seriousness, only for an issue to come up and you would find out that despite your having known them for years, they were never students but just lived pseudo student lives!”
Mr. Salaam, who was a former Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities at FUNAAB, said such attitudes of the fake students might make it difficult for any of their colleagues to believe that they were not authentic students.
“If they were never discovered, 20 years time, if a controversy arose as to their status, one would swear confidently that the person graduated!” , he stated.
“While this is not exactly the same with Dino, you cannot be too sure until facts are unearthed.
“I know for a fact that we were admitted together. I am aware that he was very active in student political circles, though he has attempted to insinuate that he was SUG president to shore up his political profile. Unfortunately, during our time, under the reign of Uncle K, (General Kontagora as Sole Administrator) the student Union was proscribed, so that claim cannot stick! He lied on that!
“As President of Geography students, I am aware that he was impeached. I also know that he had fraud related issues with the Kogi State Students Association and Segun Halilu personally had lamented to me about this, then.
“I remember that he wanted to join the OAU students club then, and we blocked his membership, knowing his tendencies to cause confusion and take over the structure of the club for personal ends”.
Mr. Salaam said it is only the records of ABU that can state whether Mr. Melaye graduated from the university.
“On his status as a graduate, only the records can tell. For all you know, he may have had a few unresolved carry-overs. Knowing Dino, he may have bluffed, paid or manipulated the system to ensure those records are obliterated.
“If not, recall that given the circumstances of our year set, many concessions/ waivers were given to ensure that we graduated, having spent almost double the statutory length of years we should spend. Dino may just have been such a beneficiary of waivers. It is however not our place to tell, but the truth will unfold itself”, Mr. Salaam stressed.
“As a political scientist, what I see is a class fragmentation struggle. An in-house struggle within the elite class. Saraki and Dino are the subjects of attack today for takeover of the National Assembly. They may get over it or it may consume them.
“However, I do not have my sympathy for him (Mr. Melaye) because he is also a master in the art of subterfuge, blackmail and crude propaganda. Today, he is a victim of the same method he has adopted over the years and I am happy to see the tables turn!
“Unfortunately, issues like this have led to the results they were meant to produce – public hysteria! Everyone is now caught up in debates about the Dino certificate scandal, or is it Dinogate?
“Everyone includes me! Last two weeks, it was Apostle Suleiman. This week, it is Dino. Who knows who next week will throw up? While we dwell on personalities, and are distracted by their shenanigans, we continue to remain victims of the plots and scheming.
“At the end of the day, things like this die off, others take their place in an endless cycle of politics of personality. While the elite class continues to regale us with entertainment, the real problems of underdevelopment, poverty, poor infrastructure, bad governance, corruption, and other malaise remain! God help Nigeria!”, Mr. Salaam concluded.
Efforts to reach Me. Melaye on Mr. Salaam’s new claims of the former’s roles while in school including his alleged impeachment as a president of geography students were unsuccessful. The senator did not pick or return calls to his phone on Sunday.
The ABU has since refused to confirm or deny Mr. Melaye’s graduation status saying it would await the outcome of a Senate investigation into the matter.