- Senator Joseph Waku, a former lawmaker, has stated that unlike the recent mace theft, former Senate President Chuba Okadigbo did not steal the red chamber’s symbol of authority
- He pointed out that the late former Senate president only took the mace away after getting wind of a plan to remove him from his position
- Waku also countered public notion that Okadigbo had taken the mace to his village; saying that the mace did not go beyond Nyanya
Since the onset of democratic governance in 1999, the abduction of the mace at the Senate on Wednesday, April 18, makes it the second time such an incident would occur at the upper legislative chamber, Premium Times reports.
Shortly after suspended senator, Ovie Omo-Agege (APC-Delta), entered the red chamber, it was invaded by certain thugs who then proceeded to abduct the mace and exit the National Assembly with it.
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NAIJ.com notes that Omo-Agege has since denied any involvement with the brazen theft.
However, this incident is not new, as the Senate had temporarily lost its mace in 2000 when Chuba Okadigbo was its president. The 2000 incident involving the late Okadigbo differs from the recent incident, as the latter engulfed the upper legislative chamber for weeks while Wednesday’s episode was an outright theft.
Okadigbo had caught a whiff of a plan by certain senators to oust him, following his involvement in an alleged contract scandal. In a bid to prevent his ouster, Okadigbo adjourned the Senate and took the mace to an undisclosed location – reportedly Ogbunike – where he hid it for weeks.
Explaining the difference between both incidents, a former senator, Joseph Waku, stated: “In that case (2000), there was no breakage. We took it, it was not stolen. It was during our vacation. We were on vacation.
“It was during OBJ’s (President Olusegun Obasanjo) time and it was during a crisis. There was a plan to remove Okadigbo and we got wind of it and adjourned and took the mace.
“But the then deputy Senate president, Haruna Abubakar, attempted to reconvene the Senate. They went and arranged for a fake mace but we intercepted it. Haruna wanted to preside as acting Senate president.”
Waku, however, refused to reveal where the mace had been taken to by Okadigbo during the saga; opting to do so in a book he is working on. However, he said that contrary to reports, Okadigbo did not take the mace to Ogbunike, his village in Anambra state.
In his words: “We knew the mace had not crossed Nyanya (a satellite town in the federal capital territory).”
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that the abduction of the mace at the Senate chamber on Wednesday, April 18, was described by some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as a humiliation of Nigeria’s democracy.
The groups referred to the incident as a challenge to the authority of the National Assembly, in separate interviews with newsmen.
The chairman of the Partners for Electoral Reform, Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, stated that the act must have been orchestrated by people who were not comfortable with the leadership of the legislative arm of government. He further said the episode shows there is a lack of cohesion in the National Assembly.
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