BMB Ben Murray-Bruce caught everyone’s attention with his famous speech at the last Silverbird Man of the Year award night in Lagos, when he called for a downsizing of legislators emoluments and general cost of governance in Nigeria as he prepared to get sworn in as a senator of the federal republic. But in recent times, Senator BMB has been told by a serving governor to stop being hypocritical for he seems to be playing to the gallery.
The techy lawmaker representing Bayelsa-East senatorial district plays the field of social media to the hilt, but he is also getting a bit of a bashing on Twitter and Facebook and needs to be careful in order to stay relevant. His Twitter followers once told him to spill the beans on the NTA equipment supplies fraud under his watch as Director General before coming to equity as a senator.
Just yesterday, BMB clashed with the Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, over Aregbesola’s inability to pay workers’ salaries. BMB who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had said on his official Twitter handle that he would donate his wardrobe allowance of over N500,000 to the unpaid workers in Osun State and widows in his home state of Bayelsa. He said he would give the money to the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress in Osun State to distribute to the unpaid workers.
He words, “I, Ben Murray-Bruce, will not sit down idly while my fellow citizens die because salaries have not been paid. As a first step, I am immediately donating my wardrobe allowance to unpaid workers in Osun State and widows in my constituency. We are starting in Osun but we will not end there. I will do as much to help workers who have not been paid in other states. I call on all my friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter to donate non-perishable food items for these our brothers in need.
“As soon as my wardrobe allowance is paid, half will be publicly given to the NLC chairman in Osun State while the other half will be given to the head of widows association in my community of Akasa” he stated.
Aregbesola dismissed BMB’s offer with these words stated on his behalf by a spokesman Semiu Okanlawon:
“It is saddening and tragic that Mr. Murray-Bruce whom many had accorded a lot of respect is too early in the day joining the fray of politicisation and trivialising the salary issue affecting more than half of the states of the federation in this ridiculous manner.
“While Nigerians are in hot debate over the alleged jumbo pay and the mood of the country, Murray-Bruce seems to have turned the plight of Nigerian workers to a thing of entertainment. Of all the states in the federation who are battling to pay salaries as a result of the precarious economic situation his party, the PDP, threw Nigeria, why is it that it is Osun he wants to take his pay to?”
Aregbesola is understandably upset and rightly so. What would N250,000 (half of BMB’s wardrobe allowance) do for Osun workers in alleviating their forced penury? Besides, one would have thought BMB would reject the allowance on grounds of irrelevant luxury – given the implications in his famous speech. By offering the unpaid allowance to Osun workers and Bayelsa widows, BMB has tacitly endorsed all other monies that would accrue to him as a senator. If this holds true, he would have lost all moral relevance to fight the corruption embedded in the cost of governing Nigeria.
As a senator, BMB’s primary duties are to review, initiate, sponsor, debate, pass and make laws that will make his constituents and citizens of Nigeria happier than we all are right now. He should stay focused.