There is nothing new under the sun. On Wednesday, Ovie Omo-Agege, a senator from Delta state, led some unidentified persons into the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly and the senate’s symbol of authority was carted away in an operation that lasted less than 10 minutes.
This came as a surprise to so many, but the red chamber witnessed a similar incident 18 years ago. In an attempt to stall his impeachment in 2000, Chuba Okadigbo – who was the president of the fourth senate – snatched the mace and reportedly took it to his house.
The government sent policemen to Okadigbo’s residence in Abuja to retrieve the missing mace. The police officers told the ex-senate president their mission but he refused to release it.
Okadigbo had accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of being behind the plot to remove him.
“The police arrived at 5.55 a.m. (0455 GMT) in six jeeps fully loaded with armed officers,” he had told BBC at the time.
“They told me they had come to collect the mace and that they were acting on orders from the Inspector General of Police. I said I would never give them the mace. I have to be dead before you get the mace, I told them.
“This is executive lawlessness and is unprecedented in Nigeria’s history.”
Okadigbo eventually lost the battle as he was impeached and he died three years after that incident.
Fast forward to 2018, the police are on a similar mission — retrieving a missing mace. The senate has given security agencies 24 hours to get back the mace. Will the arrest of Omo-Agege make the job of the police easier?