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Stolen mace, shaky democracy and bruised mandate

By Martins Oloja
22 April 2018   |   4:13 am
While the orators and philosopher-kings have been consulting over the mystery surrounding the stolen Mace from the hallowed chambers of the Senate, we the oracles who can discern the deeds of principalities and powers over this country’s wobbly democracy should begin to speak up. The other day, I was saying here that the trouble with…

While the orators and philosopher-kings have been consulting over the mystery surrounding the stolen Mace from the hallowed chambers of the Senate, we the oracles who can discern the deeds of principalities and powers over this country’s wobbly democracy should begin to speak up.

The other day, I was saying here that the trouble with us in this country is that we have had too many orators and too few oracles. Orators are those who talk so eloquently and grandiloquently sometimes like weaverbirds.

They most times speak the minds of men who are not usually spot-on. But the oracles most times speak the minds of the gods who are always on point. The oracles have spoken again very clearly.

The executive summary of what the oracles have seen from the seed of time is that the stolen Mace, the sceptre of authority of the legislature, former weapon of war, represents some warning signals to those in authorities in Abuja.

The conclusion of the whole matter is that the stolen Mace signifies that democracy has become an emblem of suffering and shame in the country and the mandates given to the representatives as symbol of democracy have been bruised because the oaths of office they all swore to, have been serially violated. And that Black Wednesday last week was a warning signal!

The Channels Television tagged the Gestapo style of the daylight robbers of the Mace “a mystery”. It is still a mystery indeed. An ancient oracle, Charles Dickens, would have described the mace robbers as “artful dodgers”.

Legacy format detected for design:

But our own oracle, Fela Anukulapo Kuti would have come up with another hit, “Authority Stealing” because they indeed stole the country’s Senate Authority” so seamlessly.

Another big oracle, Chinua Achebe, would have reported that the “Mace thieves” were very clever. They came quietly and peaceably with their religion, to disrupt the sequence of next election’s due order.

But the orators in the Red Chamber includingthe ‘commonsense exponent’ could not find the art to detect the construction of the minds of the strange execu-thieves who the oracles revealed came from a place called Agege. They allowed them to come in and head straight for the seat of power in the Red Chamber. They took the sceptre of authority in front of the President.

Every member froze and looked askance and the ‘authority thieves” left the chambers of 109 Senators without a challenge during a plenary session. And the authority of Nigeria’s Senate vanished through the many gates of the National Assembly…and so things fell part and mere anarchy was loosed upon the Three-Arms Zone in Abuja.

A livesocial mediavideo carried by the Senate showed that proceedings for the day were well underway when confusion was registered at the entrance of the building. 

It is still a mystery how a group of men fought off security and chased off parliamentary staff at the National Assembly premises in Abuja before making away with the Mace. Reports said about ten men involved in the operation sped off in a black SUV after stealing the Mace.

Later that day the Senate’s presiding officer, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, issued a powerless statement: “The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has just been invaded and we are not going to take it kindly.

This is an institutional invasion. So I want everybody to settle down”.The following day the police, which has a divisional police office in the National Assembly complex claimed the stolen Mace wasrecovered under a bridge near the City Gate of the nation’s capital.

Meanwhile, the oracles have been comparing revelations and one of them hinted at the iconic Hubert Ogunde’s lines to his people in those days when the Yoruba nation too was embroiled in a crisis that led to the stealing of the authority called the Mace in the Western House of Assembly.

In his (Ogunde’s) classic, Yoruba R’onu,(Yoruba, Think), aclincher in the poem points a finger at some character traits insome Yoruba then who were good at ambidextrous manipulation: that they could call thieves to raid a farm and at the same time alert the farm owners to catch the thieves.

So, the oracles are warning that the consequences of the authority stealing then in the Western House of Assembly led not only to the eclipse of democracy, it also resulted in collapse of federalism in 1966. We are now asking the gods for a restoration of the best of our democratic times 52 years after.

This is where both the orators and the oracles have had some consensus: that the people of this country have lost faith in their own National Assembly.

They are saying not many people would like to sympathise with members who looked helpless when some demons invaded the hallowed chamber and stole the authority that gave them powers to make laws and represent the people.

The oracles would like tell them in concrete terms that they have failed again to learn from the lessons of history, especially from the First Republic, when democracy was gored.

A peep into how democracy was once lost: stealing of authority, the Mace, the symbol of authority in the Nigerian lawmaking institutions as witnessed last Wednesday at the National Assembly had its roots in the First Republic’s Western Region(1965) following the crisis that ensued between the leadership of the defunct Action Group (AG) and the Premier of the Region then.

Following the crisis, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo led some members of the Western Assembly to remove the premier, Chief Samuel Akintola and the Governor of the Region.

Consequently, the development split the lawmakers into two factions thereby leading to a mild drama on the floor of the House. And in the process, a member representing Badagry East, Mr. Ebubedike snatched the Mace and ran away with it.

A year after, democracy fell to the plots of some false prophets we have since been following in the Federal Republic of the Nigerian Army.

You will recall too that in a similar development, a year after the return of democracy from decades of military dictatorship in 1999, Nigeria witnessed a second incident of mace snatching at the National Assembly in Abuja.

Just like the case in the Western Region, that resulted from a clash of interest between the president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and the President of the Senate, then, Senator Chuba Okadigbo.
As a result of the crisis between the two leaders, some senators loyal to the President, Obasanjo moved for the impeachment of the President of the Senate, Okadigbo. But because Okadigbo, a philosopher-king, knew the significance of the Mace in legislative proceedings, the Senate President sneaked away from the National Assembly with the Mace to his house in Abuja.

Incredibly, the SenatePresident then boasted that he eventually took the Senate’s mace to his village, Ogbunike, where he claimed that a seven-foot python was protecting it from his disgruntled colleagues who wanted to remove him.

Since that time, the National Assembly has not been the same in terms of perception of the body as a failure. The exponent of that political sagacity and stealing of Mace democratic arithmetic has since joined his ancestors…Some prophets said the orator from Ogbunike went to the grave with the authority andmajesty of the federal legislature that has been struggling since 2000.

Then in 2013, the apparition of “authority thieves” emerged in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers state when Mr. Rotimi Amaechi was the State Governor.

The trigger was also a tussle between two political blocs in the state that had divided the State House of Assembly: one loyal to Amaechi and the other to the then Minister of State for Education and the current governor Nyesom Wike.

27 members were loyal to the governor while five members pledged loyalty to Wike as reported then.

The crisis started in the chamberwhen the five members on Wike’s side announced their move to impeach the Speaker of the House Mr. Otelemabama Amachree.

And so 27 other members loyal to Amaechi decided to steal the Mace and the battle ensued until three of the five members were markedly injured. Since that time, there has been no love lost between the two brothers from the Garden City, Amaechi and Wike.

In the same year specifically on September 24, 2013, a Mace also developed wings from the Kaduna State House of Assembly in the heat of the political struggle in the house to impeach its Speaker then, Alhaji Usman Gangara, and other leaders of the state legislature.

A Committee was set up to investigate the whereabouts of the Mace. The speaker was found guilty of stealing his own authority, the Mace and he was suspended for three months.

What the Abuja legislators who were apparently dazed and passive as their authority was being stolen while democracy was in action last Wednesday, should note is that the daylight robbery was a spiritual exercise they should note very seriously.

The oracles are saying that they should remember the event of 1965 in Ibadan and learn to be sober from this week.

The conclusion is that democracy says she is no longer safe in Nigeria and may escape to Greece very soon. What this means is that this week, Nigeria’s federal legislators should meet secretly but seriously to reflect on what they have done with democracy without development in Nigeria.

Besides, they should reflect very sincerely on how the bureaucracy of the National Assembly headed by the Clerk National Assembly, (CAN), the Head of (Legislative) Service regulated by the National Assembly Service Commission went to sleep last Wednesday.

They need to ask questions too on the dereliction of responsibility of the Directorate of State Security (DSS) and Divisional Police Office (DPO) in the National Assembly Complex and why they failed democracy last Wednesday.

The presiding officers need to ask where the rains began to beat themtoo from the way they have arrogated to themselves the power to suspend their colleagues for 90 legislative days.

They need to ask themselves questions about the extent all of them have gone in destroying political party system in Nigeria.

They need to reflect on the reasons they have been keeping their personal emoluments secret since 1999 until one of them committed class suicide recently by disclosing just a part.

The oracles are warning very loudly that last Wednesday’s stolen Mace signifies a wounded democracy. They are saying there is still some architecture in the rubble of the broken seats and chairs in the Red Chamber that Black Wednesday.

They should change their ways, honour their oath of allegiance to the nation. The constitution makes the Legislature the Guardian Angel of the National Treasury. But they are now called legislooters. That is not nice.

It is a disservice to the nation to spend N200 billion on them and still nothing monumental to show their constituents.

In any legislative responsibility, yes, law making is more prominent, but representation is the more significant.

Don’t treat the authority thieves last Wednesday as just as ‘treasonable felons’. They only showed you that authority could only flow from responsibility that you have longed shirked.

The Mace robbers only choreographed how authority and even democracy could be stolen too when its guardian angels sleep on duty.

That Wednesday should therefore be seen as a warning signal to the Abuja powerful men that power is transient and authority to exercise it can be stolen too by some more artful principalities and powers outside the seat of power! Solution: serve only public interest!

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