Nigeria and the Mace Snatching Saga

by Adekunle Akinyemi
bukola saraki

It is troubling, to say the least, that an incident like the invasion of Parliament and snatching of the Mace, our symbol of authority, can happen to us in Nigeria.  It ordinarily looks like a Nollywood film skit or a simple child’s play.  I have read and listened to people’s comments on this saga as well as watched video tapes on it.  The more I ponder on the drama, the more I get disturbed.  As a citizen of Nigeria, I questioned and refuse to believe that such a script could be written and successfully executed in the night time, not to talk of it happening in broad daylight, in the presence of those who should epitomize our patriotism and nationalism. Hoodlums day-breaking into Nigerian Parliament!  Perhaps a more befitting headline should have been ‘Law Breakers Invade Law Makers’ Chambers in Abuja Nigeria!  What a sensational headline it would have been?

Our Law Makers are supposed to be our DEMOCRACY PERSONIFIED.  If this happened during or after a day’s Parliamentary session, the level of affront and effrontery is unfathomable.  How dare you attempt to get to the vicinity of the Parliament Building without cogent reasons?  What business does anyone have near the Law Makers’ Chamber, if you have not been formally invited as a spectator or as one who has a specific duty to perform?  How could anyone escape the hurdles and untold formalities before getting close to the Hallowed Chambers of the National Assembly?  Since when has the Hallowed Chambers become a Performing Theatre, Concert Hall or a Stadium, where anyone can go in and come out?   Even in these open public places you are not allowed to enter without showing valid entry permits or tickets.  This type of brazen assault can only happen in Nigeria!

Whether we like it or not our nation has been seriously insulted.  We have been badly bruised.  This singular incident has dented our image beyond description.  What were our Law Makers doing watching the symbol of our democracy (the Mace) being whisked away like that?  Looking at the video, the whole place was very busy and jammed packed.  It was day time with bright lights in the ‘hallowed chambers’ and everything was shining bright.  Is this to be called an African Magic or the Nigerian Juju!  I need to be told please!  Was there a NEPA black out?  Were these Hoodlums disguised or masked?  Oh Lord, they were not!  I need an answer to some of these questions.  Were the Hoodlums supposed to be ESCORTS or an ENTOURAGE as per NASS practice?  What really went wrong?  In any sane society, this is an aberration, a taboo, and a desecration of our sovereignty.

After all the never-ending questions, we need to ask or convince ourselves that our Law makers are indeed serious about their reasons for being sent to the Hallowed Chambers.  Was this august visit to wake Law Makers up from their slumber?  Nigerian YOUTHS have recently been decorated with the undeserved appellation or accolade ‘LAZY’, what other accolade is more befitting of our analogue politicians, if lazy is not going to be the mildest of the terminologies or qualifications?  In the light of this expensive joke by the thugs, our Leaders must be ashamed of this cheap insult.  May be our youths could have been better able to avert the day light robbery, where the adult leaders were unable to challenge and rescue the MACE from these marauders.  Five hoodlums without guns and cutlasses versus about Ninety Senators, supported by a string of security personnel!    A se e e le.  Ole ni yin!  Meaning you are all mere toothless bulldogs!  Where is their patriotism and nationalism?

What else is the job of our Leaders and Law Makers if they cannot Defend, Protect and Salvage the symbol of their being in the Hallowed Chambers?   Can they convince us that the Chamber is indeed ‘hallowed’ or ‘hollow’? How dignified, sanctified and holy is this place after being this much defied? I want to believe that after that incident, the qualification of that hallowed chamber should have been changed to Wide-Open-Arena of Jokers and Dramatists!  Just a quick warning to all Nigerians – If Boko Haram had a successful repeat performance of the Chibok Girls in Dapchi, we need to prepare our minds that the Mace Snatchers might be coming back in a grand style!  This is just a warning so that many Nigerian do not collapse out of heart failure, if and when it ever happens.  Let us all be warned and be on our guard.

More questions from the floodgate of questions.  Why was it that none of the Law Makers was able to SACRIFICE his/her life to physically challenge the hoodlums in the act?  Was it because of their flowing gowns and Agbadas (Parachutes)?  Was this why they are being paid exorbitant Dressing Allowances?  These jumbo allowances are long overdue for trimmings and or cancellation.  They need smarter dresses.  They need to be Corporate Smart, no more.   This is a wakeup call for the realistic salary review for the Representatives and Senators.  They have been over paid for too long, they don’t know what to do with money.  There is also nothing to write home about their attendance with the scantiness of the Hallowed Chamber during plenary sessions.  What about the pervasive lack of seriousness and needless parading and chatting of many of them during plenary sessions?  This the height of trivializing of national assignments by our older law makers (not youths being lazy) this time around!

Are they perchance getting overweight because of their sedentary postures, having previously been Governors or Ministers or the like before the plum job of Law Making?  Maybe they needed some time to be able to call on their Hired Thugs to come and deal with the hoodlums who were making away with the Mace!  Meanwhile the impoverished population is getting slimmer thinner from hunger, while the clueless Law Makers are getting fatter and getting immobile.  These people are certainly over-paid and under-worked!  What prevented a few of them from falling on the ground in front of the hoodlums who are not holding guns and cutlasses?  No, they can’t lay down their life for Nigeria. At least some of them could have rushed to close the doors to prevent the exit of the Mace.  At least somebody could have come up with this idea, judging from the distanced between the Mace location and the exit door.

There is absolutely no excuse for the successful removal (snatching) of the Mace from a Hallowed Chamber.  There is no acceptable explanation for the neat hoodlums-escape through the various barriers coming out of the Chamber.  There is also no way for anyone to imagine another Law Maker’s kidnap and inadvertent escort of the Mace for a few meters away from the Parliament.  It all underscores the level of seriousness and alertness of our Nigerian Law Makers.  Finding and returning the Mace from an under the bridge location, where it has been laid to rest is not an occasion to be celebrated.  Certainly, it does not deserve any congratulations at all!  What is worth being celebrated, when one has just received a dirty slap from a thug?  I am sure that our Law Makers can go to the Church and Mosque for Thanksgiving over this achievement of a safe return of the Mace!  May be the hoodlums should have taken the Mace to their home for decorations or celebration!

Nigeria is in a serious mess.  That disgrace is not only on the Law Makers but also on all of us, as law abiding Nigerians.  Law Making business has been turned into a picnic and bazaar!   This Eighth Senate (NASS) is leaving an indelible record.   This new quagmire is in addition to the incongruity of having an APC Senate President with a PDP Senate Vice President!  What an absurdity?  It can only happen in Nigeria.

In the light of the foregoing, who then can and should be called lazy?  Our vibrant digital youths or our laisser-faire analogue leaders, who are least willing or able to sacrifice themselves for our dear nation?   The flashy flowing garments have taken away from their ability to do the needful in time of crisis.  This is a classic example of their level of commitment and love for the nation.  Their love is only for the undeserved jumbo salaries and benefits, while the people languish in starvation and poverty.  May there never be a repeat performance of the Hoodlums like Boko Haram did in Dapchi, Amen.  Long live Nigeria.

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