Senator Benedict Murray-Bruce of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), representing Bayelsa East has said his “wardrobe allowance” will be donated to the unpaid workers in Osun state and widows in his community at Akasa, Bayelsa state.
The workers in Osun state has been owed their salaries and wages for 7 months and despite their outcry and protests to get the government attention to address their plight, nothing has been done to alleviate their suffering and Mr. Bruce, who have always taken a pose against the high cost of governance and corruption in government in social media platforms have waded into the situation to offer succor to the people of Osun state.
He also will give half of the said funds to widows in his community. “As soon as my wardrobe allowance is paid, I will divide it into two. Half will be publicly given to the NLC Chairman in Osun state and the other half will be publicly given to the head of widows association in my community of Akasa,” he said.
Senator Bruce, who is also the chairman of Silverbird Group said yesterday that his action is necessitated by the state governments inability to pay public service workers, thereby increasing the sufferings of the workers and their families who depend on them for their livelihood. He also expresses his desire to go beyond Osun state to other states of the nation, whose workers are going through the same plight.
Read tweets below:
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’ve not been paid in other states. I call on all my friends and followers on Twitter and Facebook to donate NON PERISHABLE food items for these our brothers in need. As soon as my wardrobe allowance is paid, I will divide it into 2. Half will be publicly given to the NLC Chairman Osun. The other half will be publicly given to the head of widows association in my community of Akasa.
The seeming goodwill by Mr. Bruce did not go down well with all, especially the government of Osun state. The governor of the state, Rauf Aregbesola has blasted the senator on his alleged plan to donate his wardrobe allowance to the civil servants in the state, describing it as a “mockery” and has therefore asked him to stop his antics, which he has aimed at only the state.
In a statement from the office of the governor, titled “Why is Senator Murray-Bruce mocking Nigerian workers?” which was released by the director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, the governor questioned the choice of Osun state, which was an APC state by the PDP senator as against other PDP who are suffering the same plight.
Read full statement below:
My attention has been drawn to a tweet by a member of Upper chamber of the National Assembly Senator Ben Murray Bruce of the Peoples Democratic Party from Bayelsa saying he will not reject the alleged hefty pay for members of the National Assembly but collect it and donate to Osun workers.
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 an 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 into why is it that it is Osun he wants to take his pay to? This is certainly playing to the gallery and nothing but a mockery in the faces of Nigerian workers and not only of Osun extraction. It is not only wicked but ungodly to play politics with the suffering of the people.
If the Senator’s conscience tells him his pay is too high especially in the face of the prevailing economic predicament of Nigeria the most honourable thing to do is to lead a protest for reduction and not a self serving philanthropy only in the direction of Osun workers.
Nigerians on the social media have been reacting to this gesture by Senator Ben Bruce. While some cheer him on and applaud him for his charitable disposition, others see it as a blatant act of hypocrisy, claiming he should have rejected the money from the government and clamor for a huge pay cut on the floor of the National Assembly. Some even say, it is his own way of preparing for, probably the presidency in 2019.
Says a lot about pleasing humans, right? So, what do you think? What’s your own take on the matter? Do you give Mr. Bruce a ‘thumbs up’ or a ‘thumbs down?’