Richarmond O. Natha-Alade

NASS Stolen Mace: Omo-Agege Acted Constitutionally, Legally and in Defense of Democracy โ€“ Richarmond O. Natha-Alade

It is no longer news that one of the brawls that characterized the 8th National Assembly was the alleged โ€˜stealingโ€™ of the mace, which is deemed to be the symbol of authority of the Senate by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the Senator representing Delta Central Constituency.

The Senator was alleged to have dashed into the National Assembly complex, particularly at the Senate floor during its plenary session sometime in April, 2018 with some unknown men in the course of proceeding, and by joint action, Senator Ovie omo-Agege rescued the mace of the National Assembly from the sitting senators. Although, this singular conduct was adjudged to be stealing by many of the parliamentarians and Nigerians home and abroad. I simply put, all the critics are simply ignorant of the law.
All along, I had watched in amazement the brazen castigation and all-manner opprobrium the action by senator Ovie Omo-Agege attracted, which I belief are highly uncalled for, having been rooted in ignorance and sentiments. I make bold to say that since our value system had degraded and many Nigerian institutions are now treated with contempt and ridden with utmost dishonour, everyone must continually live to live with the consequences.
Against all odds, Senator Ovie Omo Agege is not a mace thief, but a mace rescuer and saviour of the nation from the anarchy and lawlessness of the 8th Nigerian Senate led by Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki.
In actual facts, Omo-Agege who is now the newly elected Deputy Senate President of the 9th Assembly ought to have been celebrated, crowned with gold, decorated with bronze laden with diamonds and given national honour for his bravery and uncommon stand in rescuing our parliamentarians from doom.
Unfortunately, the lawmakers who are supposed to know better cannot differentiate their left from right as long as they were led by Bukola Saraki, who had at all time been adjudged to love himself far more than the nation and people he leads. His actions and inactions against President Buhari and the entire nation in the course of his leadership as the Senate President of the 8th NASS speak volume.
The law is clear on whose shoulder it lies to enforce all judgement of court and on whose duty it is to defend the constitution and promote Rules of law.
The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) empowers all men and institutions to enforce the order of court, defend the constitution and promote rule of law. Section 287(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (1999) as Amended give illustrative directive on how court orders and judgements can be enforced and same had been given plethora of judicial imprimatur.
The Supreme Court in the case of NGERE & ANOR v. OKURUKET & ORS (2014) LPELR-22883(SC)(Pp. 19-20, paras. G-D) re-enforce the provision of Section 287(3) of the constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria where Per Rhodes-Vivour ,J.S.C in a lead judgement held as follows:
โ€œSection 287(3) of the Constitution reads: “(3) The decisions of the Federal High Court the National Industrial Court, a High Court and of all other Courts established by this Constitution shall be enforced in any part of the federation by all authorities and persons, and by other Courts of law with subordinate jurisdiction to that of the Federal High Court, the National Industrial Court, a High Court and those other Courts, respectively.” โ€œThe judgment of a Court of competent jurisdiction subsists until upset on appeal. While the judgment subsists, every person affected by it or against whom an order is made must obey it even if it appears wrong. Judgments take effect immediately they are delivered and every Court has inherent power to proceed to enforce judgments at once. The enforcements on delivery can only be interrupted by a stay of execution provided there is an appeal.” Per RHODES-VIVOUR ,J.S.C Applying facts to the above provision of law vis-ร -vis the issue under discuss, you will recall that, during the term of the 8th Senate, there was an inordinate suspension of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege for performing his duty as a man of his party and as senator lawfully representing his constituency; during which he accused many APC senators including the Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki (before he decamped) at the floor of the Senate, of working against the interest of President Buhari and that of the nation by adopting the amendment to Section 25 of the Electoral Act outlining change in sequence of election. Although, the amendment was later vetoed by President Buhari, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege was hacked, smacked and suspended by the senate in an indistinctive voice votes, for making such accusation at the floor of the Senate; as same was seen as anti-parliamentary by Bukola Saraki and other senators.
The inordinate suspension of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege led to a court action which was a success. By his legal battle against his suspension, court nullified same by pronouncing the suspension unconstitutional with the consequential order that Omo-Agege must be reabsorbed into the Senate forthwith without any hindrance and all his entitlement paid. The said order was not appealed against, no stay of execution was filed in respect of same and yet same was not fully complied with by the Senate, having pronounced the court order as under review; hence, the justification of Omo-Agege enforcing same in person in line with the provisions and letters of the law by rescuing the mace of the senate from the lawmakers in the course of proceedings.
By the intent and purport of section 287(3) of the constitution, I see nothing wrong; morally or legally from what Omo-Agege did. I therefore differ in entirety from the millions of Nigerians who are enraged and of the critic vie that he stole and/or did the abominable. Omo-Agege simply defended the constitution and by his conduct upheld the sanctity of the institution of justice.
We need more positively driven brave-hearted Nigerians like Omo-Agege to speak senses into the lawless lawmakers; characterized and typical of the past National Assembly and States House of Assembly leadership; all along always believed they are above the law once they enter into their chamber.
Take it or leave it, Omo-Agege is loved by his people having came out to contest from APC in a state dominated by PDP and still won despite the fact that the nation experienced for the first time, an unprecedented massive sack of the NASS members generally perceived to have failed woefully and constituted themselves as the enemies of the nation Nigeria. The world celebrates the reasonably brave individuals; the reason Omo-Agege won again and convincingly.
In person, I am happy Omo-Agege made the 9th Senate, not just as member but as a principal officer of the Senate. He is not a mace thief; He is the rescuer of rule of law and one of the critical life-lines to the good leadership we are enjoying under President Buhari. I wish him well as I pray that he succeeds all the way.
Law and morality are two parallel lines, Omo-Agege fulfilled both; debate it if you can.
Richarmond O. Natha-Alade is a legal Practitioner and Principal Partner at Sun Natha-Alade & Partners (SNATHAP)

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