The mace theft you witnessed this week was simply politics and it has Buhari re-election written all over it.
The hijack of the mace from the senate floor may have been masterminded by the senator representing Delta Central, Ovie Omo-Agege, but all of the drama you witnessed on television has everything to do with Buhari seeking another term in office in 2019.
Omo-Agege is a ruthless politician who now swears by Buhari. Elected on the platform of the Labour Party, the imposing six foot lawmaker switched camps to the APC in May of 2017; following in the footsteps of his mentor Great Ovedje Ogboru, governorship candidate of the Labour Party in 2015.
Omo-Agege’s politics is bare-knuckled and in your face. Once, as he campaigned for Ogboru on the stomp ground in Delta State, he reportedly boasted that he was a pivotal member of the gang that rigged elections for the PDP and he fancies the PDP dying a natural death after his departure, because they will be no one left to do the dirty job for them.
He is also an ally of former Delta governor and ex-convict, James Onanefe Ibori, who was still deciding his successors from the comfort of a UK jail and who still enjoys a cult following.
Omo-Agege learnt at Ibori’s feet—hounding opponents here, there and everywhere and dispensing money for the boys from Warri to Asaba. He knows his stuff, they say.
These days, the grapevine says Ibori is even in awe and respect of Omo-Agege's brand of politics.
With police officers surrounding him after the mace had disappeared, a journalist asked if he was under arrest. “For what?” he shot back. As far as Omo-Agege is concerned, he stole no mace.
And he’s technically right.
Omo-Agege was walking behind a couple of burly guys who made for the mace, lifted the senate’s symbol of authority from the glass paneled table and made for the exit. But Omo-Agege, the politician who has graduated from the Ibori School of politics, didn’t grab the mace himself. And as long as there's no footage of him holding the stolen mace, it will be difficult to prove he did it.
"We are aware of several media reports suggesting that Senator Omo-Agege personally removed or encouraged anyone to remove the mace of the Senate. This weighty allegation is not true at all", a statement from the politician’s lawyer, Lucky Ajokperniovo, read.
"Following the said media reports on the mace issue, the Police authorities decided to hear from Senator Omo-Agege. He has told the Police his perspective to help them carry out a proper investigation. He has since left the Police. Senator Omo-Agege trusts them to thoroughly investigate this very serious matter", the statement added.
So, not only has Omo-Agege denied stealing anyone’s mace, he left police custody on the same day everyone accused him of stealing a mace. It doesn't matter that every suspect who has been arrested for stealing the mace hails from Omo-Agege's Delta State.
The Buhari connection
Omo-Agege was suspended from the senate because he floated a group that wants to back Buhari’s re-election bid from the national assembly chamber. He went against the national assembly’s plan to reorder the 2019 elections because he and members of his group are of the opinion that if the sequence of elections is altered (from having the presidential election come first to having it come last), Buhari could lose.
At play here is the politics of 2019 and the contending forces are the PDP senators in the upper legislative chamber, APC senators like Dino Melaye who have fallen out with Buhari, APC senators who still swear by Buhari and Senate President Bukola Saraki who doesn’t like Buhari that much.
In the coming days, we may well see the mace theft case against Omo-Agege crumble like a pack of cards because when the presidency backs you, everything against you tends to crumble.
They call it politics. Good ol' politics.