The mace is a very important component of legislative processes in the National Assembly.
On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, hoodlums stormed the upper legislative chamber in the National Assembly complex, seized the sacred mace of the chamber and ran out of the door into the unknown.
For the uninitiated, the mace is a very important component of legislative processes in the National Assembly, so it's kind of a big deal. It's the same as if someone comes into your house and steals your power fuse box and you suddenly cannot watch Big Brother Naija on your television until they bring it back.
This disgraceful attack on Nigeria's democracy has been blamed on the lawmaker representing Delta Central senatorial district, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who had reportedly entered the chamber the same time as the perpetrators of the crime.
The lawmaker is a prime suspect because he has a standing beef with the Senate after he was suspended for 90 legislative days for his conduct in objecting to the electoral amendment bill which is seeking to reorganise the order of elections in the country.
Senator Omo-Agege was arrested after plenary session yesterday but was released hours later after he applied the Shaggy defence, "It wasn't me," we assume he said.
Anyway, as the controversy swerves and turns, here are a few things you should know about the mace and the events around its theft.
The mace is the symbol of authority in the Senate and no plenary sessions can legitimately take place in its absence from the chamber. It signifies that the Senate is formally in session and that its proceedings are official.
Like all elected officials in the National Assembly, the mace is important enough to get its own personal security in the mould of the sergeant-at-arms. The sergeant-at-arms is tasked with the safety of the mace but he was reportedly overpowered by the hoodlums that stole it on Wednesday.
The mace is used to announce the arrival of the Senate President into the chamber which typically leads to the commencement of plenary sessions where legislators of the Republic deliberate on all the important stuff that Nigerians never seem to understand.
...or, at least, gold is one of the core components of the mace; so maybe someone might be tempted to sling it around to be able to cover ticket fees to leave Nigeria for good.
Despite the veneration tied around the mace, it turns out stealing it does not mean the Republic crumbles. When the mace was stolen on Wednesday, Senators proceeded to hold a closed door executive session where it was decided to recommence the day's plenary session with a spare mace. What a way to make a guy feel important.
Wednesday's abduction is not the first time the National Assembly's mace has been stolen for selfish reasons. Way back in 2000, then-Senate President, Chuba Okadigbo, abducted the mace in an attempt to stall impeachment proceedings against him.
He took the mace to his residence in Abuja and refused to hand it over to armed police officers sent to politely recover it. He eventually lost and was impeached.