Senator Omo-Agege led thugs to cart away the mace from the senate. Here's the full story of a chaotic day in the national assembly.
To understand why the mace is missing from the senate on a warm Wednesday afternoon, you need to follow the short story below:
1. February 14, 2018: The red chamber of the national assembly dissolves into a rowdy session as senators adopt the amended electoral act.
2. INEC’s order of elections has the presidential election holding before other elections. The senate doesn’t like this for obvious reasons.
3. The electoral act as amended by the senate, has the presidential election coming last and the national assembly election holding first.
4. The sequence of elections cause disharmony in the senate as it’s seen as a ploy by the Saraki led national assembly to unseat Buhari in 2019.
5. March 13, 2018: Buhari refuses to assent to the amended 2018 electoral act as forwarded his way by the national assembly.
6. In withholding his assent, Buhari said the amended sequence of elections by the legislature will infringe on the constitutional role of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organise, undertake and supervise elections as enshrined in Section 15(A) of the third statue to the Constitution.
7. The president also cited grounds upon which an election can be challenged by candidates and the national assembly’s possible interference in local government elections as other reasons why he prefers to keep his ink dry.
8. The senate is now split between lawmakers who support Buhari’s withholding of assent and those who favour amendment of electoral act.
9. Senator Ovie Omo-Agege is in the camp of senators who back Buhari’s position.
10. Omo-Agege floats Buhari support group in the senate.
11. Omo-Agege’s group is called ‘Parliamentary support group in Senate for President Muhammadu Buhari’.
12. The senate doesn’t like this, so Omo-Agege is called to order by his colleagues. He apologizes in plenary for his actions.
13. However, after apologizing, he sues Senate President Bukola Saraki.
14. The senate is livid. Saraki is miffed; his ego bruised.
15. The senate’s ethics and privileges committee sits over Omo-Agege and finds him guilty.
16. The senate ethics committee recommends that Omo-Agege be suspended for 181-legislative days for his actions.
Senate President Saraki who presides at plenary on the day is fuming as he says: “I think in this chamber, if we want to talk about who has the right to say he is Chairman of a Parliamentary Support Group for Mr. President both by action and by what we have done, I think that I have the right to lead that — more than anyone else here.
“Those of us that understand politics, understand that because of our own peculiar interest, sometimes some people decide to act like they are holier than thou or more committed — at the expense of others.
“This is not something that we should tolerate, and I believe that in an institution like this we must show discipline, but at the same time we must also show compassion”.
17. Saraki reduces Omo-Agege’s sentence from 181 legislative days to 90 legislative days.
Saraki adds that; “There are some people who are fanatics and such actions will expose a lot of people and allies.
“The senator involved, Senator Agege should withdraw the case, the support group should be disbanded and out of compassion, we amend the recommendation of the committee to 90 days and we move forward”.
Omo-Agege is suspended for 90 legislative days.
18. April 18, 2018: Omo-Agege and a couple of thugs sneak in through one of the glass barricades within the national assembly and make for the mace. Time check 11:55am
19. Omo-Agege shields the thugs who seize the mace, dash through the aisle in the red chamber and disappear into thin air.
20. Senate President Saraki is absent from plenary. He is away in the United States of America where he is attending this year's Spring Meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
That means Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu taking charge of proceedings on the day the thugs came visiting.
21. The senate heads into an executive session. Because there is no mace, Senator Shehu Sani takes off the belt from his waist and places it on the table as the symbol of authority.
“The senate invaded. Mace taken away. Deliberations on whether to adjourn or not. I and others insisted that the senate must not adjourn. I removed my waist belt and lay to serve as a mace for us to continue. My colleagues seconded. Then a spare mace brought in and the session continued. Good drivers are not known when the road is smooth,” Senator Sani said.
22. Senate resumes plenary at about 12:30pm. April 18, 2018.
23. Omo-Agege returns to the senate in his three piece suit and looking fly.
24. Police officers arrest Omo-Agege around 1:50pm and drive him off in a black Hilux van.
25. Meanwhile, the stolen mace remains stolen at the time of filing this.