By Richard P. Ngbokai
Investigations have shown that snatching of mace, the symbol of authority in the Nigerian lawmaking institutions as witnessed yesterday at the National Assembly had a root in First Republic’s wester region(1965) following the crisis that ensued between the leadership of the defunct Action Group (AG) and the premier of the region.
As a result of the crisis, 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 made away with it.
In a related development, a year after the return of democracy from decades of military dictatorship, Nigeria witnessed a second incident of mace snatching at the National Assembly in Abuja. Just like the case in the western region but this resulted from a clash of interest between the president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and the leader of the senate Chuba Okadigbo.
As a result of the crisis between the two leaders, some senators loyal to the president moved for the impeachment of the senate president Chief Chuba Okadigbo, and because he knew the significance of the mace in legislative proceedings, the senate leader sneaked away from the National Assembly with the mace to his house in Abuja before he eventual shipped it away to his village in Anambra in a bid to frustrate his impeachment process.
The same thing happened in Rivers state in 2013 during the reign of Mr. Rotimi Amaechi as the state governor then. It was also 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 state minister for education and the current governor Nyesom Wike. 27 members were loyal to the governor and five pledged loyalty to Wike.
The crisis started when the five members on Wike bloc announced their move to impeach the speaker of the house Mr. Otelemabama Amachree, 27 other members loyal to Amaechi decided to take away the mace and the battle ensued until three of the five members were injured.
Similarly, on 24th September, 2013, a mace mysteriously disappeared 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 legislative house.
A committee was set up to investigate the disappearance of the mace. The speaker was found culpable and he was suspended three months.