In a video released Friday night, Mr Melaye chorused that the PDP is his home which he could no longer wait to be back to.
“PDP! Oh my home, oh my home, oh my home, when shall I see my home? When shall I see my PDP, I will never forget my home,” Mr Melaye sang with his signature gyration. “Oh my home, oh my home, oh my home, when shall I see home? APC suffer me o. When shall I see my PDP, I will never forget my home.”
Bolaji Abdullahi, a spokesperson for the APC, was not immediately available for comments about Mr Melaye’s latest soundtrack, which is a cover for a popular song from the slavery era.
The footage sent Mr Melaye trending on Twitter by Saturday morning after it became an instant hit on overnight.
The controversial senator dumped the PDP in 2014, seven years after he was first elected on the platform of the party as a member of the House of Representative. He immediately joined the APC as one of the most visible players in the so-called nPDP bloc revolted in the run up to the 2015 elections.
Mr Melaye subsequently picked up the APC ticket for Kogi West Senatorial District, claiming victory as part of the historic wave that swept the PDP out of power for the first time since 1999.
However, Mr Melaye’s rebellious history —from student unionism to political advocacy to rancorous outing at the House of Reps— followed him into his new political party. He started by playing a prominent role in the election of Bukola Saraki as the senate president, against staunch opposition from the APC national leadership.
Mr Saraki’s emergence brought with it several politically-charged controversies, and Mr Melaye was involved in virtually all as a henchman to the senate president.
While the battle of wits between the Buhari administration and the National Assembly raged, Mr Melaye was stoking another supremacy tussle in his home state.
Although he emceed the inauguration of Yahaya Bello as governor in January 2016, the two soon found themselves in open confrontation. Mr Melaye accused the governor of using a re-authentication exercise as a weapon of political domination in the state.
Mr Bello, who assumed office at the age of 40, rejected the allegations, saying he was only trying to purge the state of ghost-workers and accused Mr Melaye and other opponents of seething over their relentless attempts to subdue his influence as governor.
At some point, the confrontation turned violent, and other times, downright personal. The crises later culminated in a serious but failed attempt to recall Mr Melaye, as well as his ongoing battle to absolve himself of murder allegations brought by the police.
Mr Melaye, who is currently on bail and recently returned from the United States on court-granted medical trip, indicated last month that he was more comfortable amongst PDP members at the Senate than those with whom he still nominally shared a political party.
While Mr Melaye’s latest video has drawn sharp rebuke from APC supporters online, most of whom have already counted him out of the ruling party, the senator himself has not formally disclosed his exit, and it remained unclear when he would do so.
“There is a formal way of doing things,” his spokesperson Gideon Ayodele told PREMIUM TIMES Saturday morning. “But we know he has not been fairly treated in the APC and he would soon make a formal announcement.”
The PDP said it would readmit Mr Melaye into its folds despite his history, saying individuals like him would help build a massive wave that would sweep Mr Buhari out of power next year.
“The Peoples Democratic Party has been re-branded and re-positioned to take over the leadership of this nation from the dysfunctional All Progressives Congress and the inept federal government,” the party’s spokesperson Kola Ologbondiyan told PREMIUM TIMES Saturday morning. “The party is prepared to accommodate every shade and shape of Nigerians.”
“There is no political party that is a common ground of saints, including the All Progressives Congress. We are prepared to associate with all Nigerians, including traditional worshipers, to rescue Nigeria from Muhammadu Buhari,” he said. “And Senator Dino Melaye cannot be an exception of such Nigerians that are capable of rallying Nigerians.”
Despite ample publicity over his imminent exit from the APC, Mr Melaye is only one of dozens of federal lawmakers expected to dump the ruling party as 2019 elections draw nearer.
Mr Saraki, House Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Shehu Sani and a host of other political bigwigs who self-identify belonging to the so-called nPDP caucus in the APC are likely to jump ship soon. They are mostly rumoured to be returning to the PDP, where most of them left in 2013 in a move that analysts said gravely weakened former President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid.