It was the 7th of January in the year 2005. I had reached out to Dino Melaye to wish him a happy birthday.

After the exchanges of pleasantries and the usual banters that followed, I seized the opportunity to inform him of my wedding that had been planned to hold on the 29th of January of the same year.

I also quickly chipped in that i will like him to come and spice the wedding with his oratory prowess as the Master of Ceremony (MC).

For those who know Dino Melaye from our school days, he is a natural entertainer with innate oratory skills. He immediately agreed to do this for a good friend and a fellow alumnus of ABU Zaria. That’s the ABU spirit- unalloyed camaraderie.

As the wedding day drew closer, the pressure of the wedding preparations did not allow me do any follow up on my would be MC.

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The wedding day came, the church service started and ended and we headed for the reception venue with no sign of the presence of my MC. Chai, near -palpitation level anxiety hit me. Well, my good friend Kehinde Fagbemi was drafted as the emergency MC.

Just as he grabbed the microphone to start the programme, a tall, lanky young man, adorned in brown Baban Riga emerged from a black Toyota Land Cruiser and took charge of the microphone, charging up the entire atmosphere with rib cracking jokes and unforgettable entertainment.

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At some point, my ‘father- inlaw’ Deacon Onosode of blessed memory had asked me where I got such an hilarious MC friend from. His arrival melted my anxiety. That’s what true friends do anyway. It has been sixteen years, but this beautiful and nostalgic memories remain ever fresh.

Dino Melaye flew all the way from Kaduna where we both lived at the time, partook physically and financially in the wedding and made very huge sacrifices towards the success of our wedding which held in Surulere Lagos.

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Senator Dino Melaye has not changed in spite of his status in the society. He has remained the kind hearted, people driven, empathic, magnanimous and God fearing man, on whose shoulders the Lord has placed the huge responsibility of being the voice of truth and a stimulant of conscience. Like the Biblical good Samaritan he has been an oasis in the desert for many.

On this special day, my family and I pray that God bless you, and make your ways more prosperous.

Happy birthday SDM!

Otunba Deji Olumide Oke-Olawuyi writes from Maitama, Abuja.

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