That Presidential Handshake
Senator Ben Bruce has perennially been in the social media spotlight especially since his emergence as a Senator, albeit oftentimes for ridiculous reasons. He has now accused a DSS operative of preventing him from greeting the President at a dinner hosted by the latter to commemorate the one year anniversary of the APC led Federal Government. He claims that he was singled out for this condescending treatment ostensibly because of his trenchant engagement of the Federal Government. He alleges that President Buhari watched on while the ignoble episode lasted.
You know a politician by the quality of his antics and Senator Bruce has almost become legendary for his puerile theatrics. Everything isn’t entertainment, at a time when burning issues plague our nation, we should bother about his being denied a presidential handshake? In a season when the traditional ruler of a village in Gbaramatu Kingdom says that he is virtually barred from even using his bathroom and his subjects are in hiding as a consequence of military invasion, lack of exchange of executive/legislative banter is what troubles our boisterous Senator. The ordinary Nigerian gets slapped by his councillor’s thugs, Ben Bruce even has the privilege of access to the inner recesses of our seat of power. It can only be veritable news if he is denied entry into the National Assembly, that’s were he has constitutional rights of ingress and egress. Though a different picture from the one so dramatically painted by Senator Bruce has since emerged, it was even doubtful from the outset that the President who sent Alhaji Lai Mohammed to represent him at the senator’s birthday will be one to snub him in such a tactless manner.
Bruce, often one to cite his famed parsimonious lifestyle and self-proclaimed think-home philosophy as evidence of his patriotism needs to be cautioned in no uncertain terms to act and speak with greater circumspection in deference to the exalted office he occupies. On a more visceral examination, one even wonders just how much of this nationalistic zeal he truly possesses. He utilizes every opportunity, however inauspicious, to regale us with tales of his love for made-in-Nigeria goods, his avowed abhorrence for first class air travel and total disdain for ostentatious living. All well and good, but he conveniently forgets to intimate us about his fifteen million dollar mansion tucked away within the bourgeoisie and extremely indulgent Beverly Hills neighborhood in California.
It will actually be interesting to read the pristine narrative of how his metamorphosis from regular affluent businessman to a walking financial behemoth was achieved soon after his tenure as Director-General of the NTA. Beyond parading scantily clad women on stage and putting up exotic structures commanding obscene rents, what has he done as an individual to improve the lot of the average Bayelsan whom he represents and periodically visits by helicopter?
Ben Bruce doesn’t love exotic items but he provides accommodation for the shops that retail them, how ironic? As a man that “loves” Nigeria, how many shopping malls dedicated to made-in-Nigeria products has he built or which part of the existing ones has he dedicated to such goods? Or does he expect home made items to be sold profitably at his malls which attract the highest premiums in Nigeria? It isn’t enough to render pedestrian platitudes, where is the demonstrable evidence of this love of country?
Seeing that he adores locally produced goods so much, how many does he manufacture? Patriotism shouldn’t just be about making a profound spectacle while buying Innoson vehicles, neither is it just to castigate those who love exorbitant fashion apparels and lifestyles while his home in California alone can set up a multiplicity of cottage industries in Bayelsa.
For a man who seeks cheap public acclaim by constantly attacking the Buhari Presidency, it will be quite enlightening to also have him make a public declaration of his assets. That however wouldn’t confer purity on him for in the immutable words of Senator Shehu Sani; “Asset declaration does not make one a saint but avails the public of the level of one’s sin”, but it’s a necessary start.
With all of his sanctimonious posturing, it sure will be most entertaining to know the level of Senator Ben Bruce’s sin, wouldn’t it?
Okey Joe Emenike
Web Developer and Administrator at HN Initiative