Senator Ben Murray-Bruce often assails us with his 'commonsense' series. We are now sick and tired of them.
Elected into the Nigerian parliament on the back of successes in the private sector, Ben Bruce was supposed to be the one who saved lawmaking in Nigeria and stitched what was left of the battered reputation of the national assembly
Thus far, he’s only fulfilled those roles in the breach.
Ben Bruce began his legislative career by announcing he’ll be the ‘commonsense senator’—the senator who leaves us with a truckload of commonsense nuggets as solutions to national problems. But therein lies the problem. The senator tweets and facebooks his ‘commonsense’ without lifting a finger toward bringing them to fruition.
You’d think he were an ordinary citizen looking in from the outside--and not a member of the government of the day.
In May of 2015, the senator who represents Bayelsa East constituency in the upper legislative chamber, tweeted the following: “We must be realistic. If we have to borrow to pay salaries, it’s a sign we must cut salaries including for Senators. I’ll lead that charge!”
Instead of leading the charge against the jumbo pay of lawmakers like he promised--in a land where about 80 percent of the citizenry barely survive below the poverty line--Ben Bruce did a complete volte face on October 7, 2017.
“Except you are my constituent”, he tweeted, “it is silly for anyone to have a problem with the senate’s salaries and come to me. Go to your own senator!”
Yet, Ben Bruce’s Twitter bio boldly reads: “Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. To now pick and choose which constituents to speak for is fraudulent.
His double speak on the issue of remuneration for lawmakers has become typical of the man. He says and writes a lot of nice, fancy stuff, but you just know he only brings up a few of these concerns with his colleagues in the national assembly. Politics should be about consensus building and rallying the base. Ben Bruce comes across as offering neither.
He offers surface level solutions to deep-seated national problems and believes a tweet is enough to fix decades of institutional rot. Ben Bruce doesn’t get it.
Yet what Nigeria needs at this time is commonsense backed with pragmatism and practicality. The nation needs a new tribe of politicians who are passionate about solving the problems they created in the first instance.
Until Ben Bruce begins to point us to the problems with his commonsense revolution and takes practical steps toward solving the problems he so often highlights, it will be best to ignore him henceforth and regard his fancy words and postulations as a load of tripe.