In America, comedy is getting more political, it heightened as soon as Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, and then it got even more political after he won. In Nigeria, politics is getting more comical, from as far back as when Patience Jonathan was First Lady.
It’s almost impossible to watch late night comedy shows on American television without a direct or indirect reference to Donald Trump, and you can’t blame them, his run up to the presidency and his time in the White House have been full of great comedy source material. Think about Trevor Noah on The Daily Show, John Oliver on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and Saturday Night Live’s parody of the White House (You can also chip in several episodes of Black-ish). American comedy shows and politics are becoming Tom and Jerry, chasing each other all over the place.
It’s not very different in Nigeria, the only difference is that the relationship is the other way round. Nigeria has never been want of entertainment. We have it in abundance. We have also never been want of great comedy, we have some of the best comedians on the planet. So, it’s sometimes not surprising that our politicians occasionally venture into comedy, sometimes without knowing what they are doing. Case in point, Senator Dino Melaye of Kogi West Constituency.
Dino Melaye’s grand audition for Comedy Central
It started as a minor scuffle and it has graduated into a fist fight. First, Dino Melaye called out Sahara Reporters for constantly attacking him and, in his words, using his name to generate traffic when pageviews are down. The news site claimed that Mr Melaye did not graduate from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. Mr Melaye responded to the allegation, claiming that he has seven degrees, including one from Harvard University and another from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
The Vice Chancellor of ABU appeared before the Senate to confirm that Mr Melaye did graduate from his university. After this confirmation, this is how Mr Melaye celebrated the news, by dressing in an academic gown to a Senate plenary.
Then he made a video to mock his “enemies”.
However, both Harvard University and LSE have debunked Mr Melaye’s claims that he holds degrees from their institutions. It was confirmed that he only participated in a one-week leadership seminar at the Harvard Kennedy School of Educational Leadership while Candy Gibson, a Senior Media Relations Officer at LSE, said, “We have checked our records and can find no evidence of Dino Melaye having any degree qualification from the London School of Economics and Political Science.”
Finally, a few days ago, when he appeared on Channels Television, Seun Okin asked Mr Melaye if he graduated from Harvard, and this is what the honourable senator had to say:
If you’re too busy to watch the video above, here’s a shorter, edited version: