In the current political configuration in the country, especially in the Senate of the Federal Republic, Bayelsa-born lawmaker, entertainment guru and emerging mobiliser of Nigerian youths, nay all concerned fellow countrymen, Ben Murray Bruce is making a lot of common sense. As one commentator rightly put it not too long ago, he is a fearless orator that always makes common sense.
Right from his hey days as quintessential show promoter and stopper, through his landmark journey across the globe organising and giving pep to beauty pageants, the Silverbird television boss never left any one in doubt about his commitment to fatherland and everything Nigerian. His establishment of Rhythm FM radio station as well as Silverbird television, both of which were instant hits on the consciousness of their respective audiences, further underscored the Nigerianism in Murray-Bruce. And ever since he secured the mandate of the people of his native Bayelsa state to represent them at the current Senate, he has seized the opportunity of any event, formal and informal, to elucidate on the need for Nigerians to always think, talk, breathe and act in the interest of Nigeria. And he is employing the platform of the various social media to propagate his Common sense theory for a better Nigeria.
For instance, Murray-Bruce took to twitter recently to announce his purchase of Made-in-Aba footwears, a move obviously designed to mobilise the people to patronise home-made products and services. And just as his audience were still assimilating the message therein, the lawmaker who has often critiqued government policies he holds as not in tandem with promoting the wellbeing of the Nigerian and every product made in the country, walked his talk by purchasing made in Nigeria cars to promote his campaigns. As a media specialist, he did not waste time in taking to Facebook to announce that he has taken delivery of two cars from Innoson Motors which was paid for with his personal money days later.
He wrote: “as I promised, Dr. Innoson Chukwuma has delivered my Innoson cars which I will now use as my official car. I ordered two of his vehicles. An SUV and a Sedan. I paid for it with my personal funds, not government money. The cars are lovely. Go and get yours today. #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira.”
Murray-Bruce was to add: “Following my advice to Dr. Chukwuma, he has designed a bullet proof version of the Innoson SUV which can stop an AK47 bullet. He assured me that he will deliver me a bullet proof version in exactly 90 days from today. Dr. Innocent Chukwuma of Innoson Motors makes me proud to be a Nigerian.”
Can you beat that?
The increasing public approval he is getting for his inward-looking principle has continued to resonate across the land. Undoubtedly, Murray-Bruce is keeping his money where it needs to be. Not Europe, Dubai, America or Cape Verde. But in his constituency, so that it can oil our economy. According to his postulations, such a deed is a sine qua non so that young graduates and school leavers can be employed, so that would-be kidnappers, cultists, robbers and perhaps prostitutes – including hitherto fraudsters – can have an option of dignified hard work.
One public affairs commentator in a recent article recalled his experience in the university even as he lamented the lack of planning for the country’s future that everybody now holds as responsible for the economic malaise that currently stares the nation in the face.
Hear him: “I met free coffee, bedsheets and squash and food without meat at UI cafeterias in the early 80s. We were only two in a 16 by 14 wide room in my hall but what happened? Ineptness, myopia, greed, avarice and pure ignorance robbed us of preparing for the next generation. Other nations do. They have development plans for tens of years ahead. The culprits are the Christopher Kolades, IBBs and Obasanjos of this world. These are men who benefited from the disorganisation and rapacious mismanagement of our economy. These are folks who have been in government since 1966.
“Nigerians abroad (most) are doing well. NASA has one of our best engineers-celebrated here but reviled at home. Nearly all American Universities have Nigerians as Professors. Nearly all hospitals have us as medical doctors and nurses. Nigerian teachers are everywhere here. Police and other law enforcement agencies have Nigerians.
“It hurts to know that we were trained at home with Nigeria’s money but allowed to use it to bless others. The collective brains of Nigerians in the Diaspora, and those at home can deliver Nigeria if given the free hand to operate.
“And they are doing very well. At home, we would not have had a chance because we are not ‘connected’. We would have had to bribe our way to our current positions. One of the best American Airlines aeronautic engineers came home during the last regime -actually during Obasanjo’ government. Because he returned an over invoiced millions in a contract he had, he was nearly assassinated. Of course no clue who did it. The poor boy is back here living free! Good thing is that our children want to come home.” And when you add the foregoing to the Senator’s positions on other national issues, it becomes clear where Murray-Bruce is headed.
Unrepentant as ever, he once twitted: “You don’t have to like me. I like myself. But I appeal to us to love our country enough to swallow party sentiment and #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira
State governors and N18, 000 minimum pay
Reacting to a move by state governors to reduce workers minimum salary of N18, 000 per month further down last November, the Senator went philosophical. He retorted in a message via twitter that, Sen. Ben Murray Bruce argues that the N18, 000 being paid is not even enough to maintain the dogs in the government house let alone human beings. The Governors had a week earlier said they were planning on reducing the minimum wage due to the downward turn of the economy and reduced Federal allocation.
Power to the youths…
The lawmaker believes that since the future belongs to our youths, it’s about time society starts to create the atmosphere necessary for them to become leaders. To this end, the senator concluded that Nigeria desperately needs youths as ministers and heads of parastatals after a critical look at the average age of ministers in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari. According to him, fresh thinking in government can only be brought about by youth well versed in today’s technology.
He underscored this in a series of tweets posted on Friday, February 12, where he compared the age of Nigerian ministers and their counterparts from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
He concluded: “The average age of ministers in the UAE cabinet is 38. By contrast, the average age of Nigeria’s cabinet is over 50. For instance, the minister of youths in the UAE is 22 years old while her counterpart in Nigeria is 51 years .
Put together, Senator Murray-Bruce has consciously started a crusade to free the country from its years of economic cum political stranglehold of a few while hordes of millions of fellow Nigerians wallow in ignorance, poverty and lack. This, methinks, is a crusade all must encourage. With time, if well imbibed by others, it has the potential of turning things around for the better.
After all, but for the Senator, has any other Nigerian elite of note ever thought of patronising Made-in-Aba products and making a public show of it? I can’t remember. Perhaps, the time for a change is now. We must all #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira. Many thanks to Senator Ben #Commonsense Murray-Bruce. Let’s all begin to apply this common sense approach towards uplifting Nigeria and its people.