Politics and drama shouldn’t mix. But not so in Nigeria, where the political landscape often plays out like scenes from a Nollywood film.
Nigerian politicians have it all, be it comedy or action-packed thriller with fight scenes in various houses of Assembly that would give James Bond or Tom Cruise a run for their money.
We have taken time to sift out the amateurs from the professionals; the primus inter pares whose gimmicks are worthy of an Oscar nomination or the “Razzie Awards”, if you will. One on the list was so good that Nollywood filmmakers had no choice but to give him a couple of roles.
Ladies and gentlemen, please rise and welcome with me the four most dramatic Nigerian politicians:
No Nigeria politician embraces and feeds off controversy like Dino Melaye. If politics in Nigeria were a film, Melaye would be the director, scriptwriter and star lead. You really do not want to undermine his acting skills.
Dino Melaye represented Kogi West Senatorial district as a Senator in the 8th Nigerian National Assembly.
He was involved in various certificates scandals. His claim to have graduated from Ahmadu Bello University with a B.A degree in Geography was cleared by Ibrahim Garba the former Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University. However, his claims to have earned degrees from Harvard University and London School of Economics were refuted by both institutions, with Harvard specifically stating that the Senator only participated in a weeklong workshop at the university and never earned a degree from there, and London School of Economics stated that no existing records show he ever obtained a degree from the university.
But those are piecemeal compared to when SaharaReporters reported in 2016 that Melaye, in an outburst during a closed-door meeting threatened, in effect, to rape female Senator Remi Tinubu, saying he would beat her up and “impregnate” her on [the floor of the Senate] “and nothing will happen.”
In April 2018, Melaye jumped out of a moving police van as he was being transported to face criminal charges in Kogi.
On January 4, 2019, Melaye surrendered to the police after a seven-day siege was placed on his Abuja Maitama residence. The police alleged that he was involved in the shooting of a police officer, Sgt Danjuma Saliu in Kogi State in July of 2018. Minutes after his surrender Melaye slumped and was assisted to the police car. On arrival at the police headquarters, he appeared very weak and could not walk by himself and had to be helped into the office where he slumped again as he was breathing heavily. He was said to be asthmatic.
In 2019, Senator Dino Melaye slept outside the DSS hospital after he was moved there by police personnel.
For his efforts in politics, Melaye landed two film roles. In October 2019, it was revealed he would feature in a television series “Equity Unbound” and in November, he starred in the film “Lemonade”. However, he landed his first lead role in the film “The Bean Shaped Super Hero” in 2020.
Olisa Metuh is a lawyer and politician who served as the former National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party until 2015 when the party lost power. However, his drama breakout was not until he was arrested in 2016 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) for the N400 Million he and his company Destra Investment Limited allegedly received from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) in 2014.
What followed the arrest was a series of gimmicks by Metuh. First, he went on a self-imposed hunger strike in detention. Then, perhaps his best performance till date, while in detention, he snatched and tore his confessional statements from EFCC operatives then he attempted to chew them.
For his court appearances, Metuh wore full grey beards – a testament that he had a hard time in Kuje prisons.
On February 5, 2018, Metuh appeared in court on a stretcher after Justice Okon Abang ruled that he would have his bail revoked if he didn’t show up for the continuation of his trial. Again on March 14, 2018, Chief Olisa Metuh appeared in court on a wheelchair. And on May 21, 2018, Metuh collapsed while making his way to the dock for cross-examination.
“How can I be Governor of Ekiti State and be treated like this in my own country? My people, I call on all of you: stand and remain standing,” he said to the crowd. “I will go back to the hospital for a while to rest… I am having a lot of pains, but I prefer to bear these pains because of you. I prefer to bear these pains because of you…”
Daniel Kemebradikumo Pondei is a Professor of Medicine from the Niger Delta University (NDU) in Bayelsa, was appointed as Acting Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on February 19, 2020 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
On Monday, Professor Pondei slumped during an interrogation by the members of the House of Representatives on the misuse of N81 billion by the NDDC.
Professor Pondei first began to lose his composure when the lawmakers queried him on the expenses he made without the approval of the National Assembly. Later he was asked to explain the payment of the sum of N336m to Save Life Campaign in the Niger Delta but Pondei suddenly collapsed. NDDC officials promptly attended to him; one of them was sighted fanning him with a white handkerchief. Within a minute, Pondei regained ‘consciousness’ and he struggled to put on his shoes, which were removed as part of efforts to revive him.