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Lawmakers disappointed at Senator's comment after being denied access to Buhari

Ben Bruce insinuated that he was prevented from meeting the President because he is one unrelenting critics of his administration.

Senator Ben Murray-Bruce

The incident was said to have occurred on Monday, May 30, at a Democracy Day dinner hosted by Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

He wrote on twitter after the dinner; “I was at the Presidential Villa today. Went to the President’s table. DSS wouldn’t allow me greet him but let another Senator greet him!”

In a matter of minutes, the tweet went viral - many twitter users swooped on the senator, describing him as being petty and hypocritical, saying he deserved the treatment, as he was also fond of blocking his critic-followers on the microblogging site.

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However, a disappointed Senator Sola Adeyeye, representing Osun Central Senatorial District, explained what transpired that night.

“I was at the dinner. I sat in the front row along with other principal officers of the National Assembly. I had a vantage view of what transpired. I am disappointed by this comment from a respected colleague,” he said on Tuesday, May 31.

“I have on two occasions provided robust defence of Senator Ben Bruce. Not this time!”

Adeyeye recounted: “It was Sen Dino Melaye who first went to greet those seated at the President’s table, including President Buhari. He was well greeted. No one in the senate has criticized President Buhari more than Sen Melaye.

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“But as others rose to do what Dino had done, the scene got clumsy and indecorous because people were approaching the President’s table from different directions. I sat between Sen Olujimi and Sen Bwacha. The three of us felt embarrassed by what was clearly a breach of dinner protocol. At that level, if dinner was served or being served, good etiquette demanded that the President’s table should not be approached.

“One should wait until people had finished eating. No senator in the USA would breach such elementary protocol. We (on my table) predicted in whispers that colleagues would soon be barred from approaching the President’s table and it happened.

“The first person to be turned back was Sen Gemade who was visibly embarrassed. He belongs to the APC; he is not a known critic of the President.

“When I noticed that most people had finished their food, I approached the table and offered my pleasantries. Others followed suit. No one was turned back.”

In a separate reaction, another lawmaker representing Kaduna Central Senator District, Shehu Sani, who was also present at the dinner, also condemned Ben Bruce's outburst.

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“We met with Mr. President at the Villa yesternight. He was frank and blunt with us and we were honest with him. He addressed us, and those nominated to speak responded, raised issues and asked questions of which he answered. I actually wanted to speak but I was not so lucky,” Sani said.

“I was surprised to learn that one of us later disclosed that he was prevented by security agents from coming close to Mr. President.

"I personally experienced no such. And I don’t think Mr. President can bar any legislator from coming close to him for holding different opinion on national issues. I always have an independent mind and will always speak my mind when there is the need to do so.

“For decades, Mr President knows me for that and still respects me for that. It’s not everything the security agents do that Mr. President will know.

“Mr. President’s address to us was comprehensive and satisfying. Wishing him Lord’s blessings and good health in this historic mission to rebuild our great country. PMB is a leader we most need and deserve at this time,” the senator added.

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It was however gathered that it was Sani who met with Buhari before Ben Bruce was denied access.

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