Senate, Omo-Agege's Suspension and the Court Judgment: Matters Arising! -Ishola Adebayo

May 18, 2018

It was more of rhetorical questions on April 18, 2018 as many Nigerians queried the sufficiency and competence of security arrangements in the National Assembly, which made it easy for thugs to enter the hallowed chambers of the Senate and snatch away its symbol of authority, the Mace.

A surprise presence in the Senate on that fateful day also, was Senator Ovie Omo Agege. His presence was an element of surprise, because, earlier on, he had been controversially suspended by the Senate. Needless to say, popular accounts, particularly, accounts from Senate sources, now insist that the invaders were brought in by Senator Omo Agege. Senator Omo Agege has of course denied the allegation.

Nigerians will be concerned that they get to the bottom of this matter. However, while it is proper to condemn the invasion, we must be left wondering why a similar serial abuse of people’s elementary rights, even in the Senate, manages to pass unnoticed.

Senator Omo Agege had been controversially suspended for ninety legislative days, for among things, taking the Senate to court over a disciplinary matter. As the invasion of the Senate is an observable physical event, it was easy for it to create spectacle and produce shock amongst a broad spectrum of Nigerians. He was expected to resume plenary and other legislative duties on Tuesday after a federal high court last week quashed his suspension from the Senate.

The victims of the prevailing highhandedness are also Nigerians; they have people who will ask questions and who must demand answers. It is important that we establish a regime of fairness, whether it is at the executive level or in the legislature or wherever else. The violence on the floor of the Senate is primitive and dishonors us all. But the rising convention of high-handedness in the leadership of the Senate also mocks our claims to democracy and good order.