Thursday, June 23, 2016

HMMM! Ben Murray-Bruce, common sense or hypocrisy?

Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, representing Bayelsa East senatorial district is always in the news trying to make common sense. However the social media savvy senator did not make much of what he preaches as the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) on Thursday, June 23, took over three companies belonging to him and his family.

The assets are being seized following the failure of Bruce and his brothers to settle an N11bn loan owed Union Bank and acquired by AMCON. Bruce and his brothers used the companies as collateral in 2005 and 2007 to borrow various sums of money from the Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and failed to pay back as promised which is long overdue. AMCON purchased the loan in 2011 to save the bank from collapsing. AMCON takes over Silverbird properties The companies affected by the takeover are Silverbird Galleria Limited, Silverbird Promotions Limited, and Silverbird Showtime Limited. READ ALSO: AMCON: 5 things that will happen to Ben Bruce businesses AMCON had, by notice of appointment dated April 18 appointed Muiz Banire as Receiver/Manager over the sprawling assets of the three companies located at 133 Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos, Plot No 1161 (Silverbird Galleria); Central Area Cadastral Zone AOO, Abuja; and Abonnema Wharf Road and Abali Park in Port Harcourt City of Rivers State. The takeover followed the interim orders granted by Justice Cecilia Olatoregun-Ishola of the Federal High Court, Lagos, on June 17 which allowed the receiver/manager to take possession of the said properties. The properties were seen locked up by the agents of the receiver/manager in an exercise carried out under the supervision of men of the Nigerian police as directed by the Court order. When AMCON realized Bruce was not ready to pay back the money, a receiver/manager was appointed the to recover the loan. 

Common sense or hypocrisy?

As a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Nigerians would question the common sense in owing so much money when the senator receives huge allowance as wardrobe perks. This is even more so when he comes on social media to preach common sense revolution and act holier than thou. One would have thought he use part of the his allowance to pay up his debt. So much for common sense indeed! 

A senator in Nigeria reportedly earns N12,939,549 million in salaries and allowances per annum. Bruce had called for reduction in allowances of members of the National Assembly which received widespread commendation. A number of lawmakers followed suit, giving support to Bruce’s proposal. But no such reduction in emoluments have so far been effected. Ben Bruce reacts to AMCON attack The common sense advocate in a swift reaction to the incident said the situation is being resolved and things will be back to normal. Senator Bruce said in 36 years, Silverbird has grown and it will face challenges like anybody, adding that it is possible to fight corruption and grow the economy at the same time. Bruce, who is not happy with the poor state of the Nigerian economy, said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was more concerned about fighting corruption and is not paying attention to what’s going on with the nation’s economy. Some of the Bayelsa state senator’s followers in reaction said he was right. Others even asked him to hide because they will soon come for him like they have done with other people criticising the government. Ben Bruce the social media critique Ben Bruce, unlike the Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose and Fani-Kayode applies tact and subtlety in his criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. Most times he takes to the social media platform, to voice his dissenting views of the policies of the government in power. 

He focuses more on the promises made by the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress during the election and how the party has continually failed to live up to them. The senator however said he never criticizes anyone but he raises good government and policy issues as a way of driving change. 

“I have not criticised any government. I have not criticised APC. I have not criticised PDP. I have not criticised Goodluck Jonathan, neither have I criticised Muhammadu Buhari. I have raised good government issues and policy issues,” he said.

 Some people have wondered why the senator has not spoken until now. Bruce said he had always spoken about these issues.

 “These are issues that I have raised all my life. Maybe these people on social media have just discovered Ben Bruce but, go and check the speeches I made two years ago, three years ago, twenty years ago, even in front of President Goodluck Jonathan to ascertain whether they are different from what I am saying now; maybe they just discovered me. Go on youtube and see my speeches,” he said. 

Hopefully this serves as lesson to politicians so they practice what they preach but whatever happens I like the fact that his critics comes with good facts.

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