“I have contacted the UK and US Embassy to revoke the visa of Senator Akpabio or anybody leading this assault on this institution. We will ask them to revoke the visas of their wives and that of their children. They will not be allowed to leave Nigeria to travel to any nation in Western Europe and North America” – Sen. Benedict Murray-Bruce
Senator Ben Bruce of Bayelsa East Constituency in the Nigerian Senate didn’t ask to be called the ‘common sense Senator.‘ He earned that name fair and square. If he had known the name would be like an albatross hanging on his neck…well, let’s just say he had it coming and there was nothing he could have done about it.
Back in 2015 after he had won the election under the PDP to become a senator, he started a campaign of educating Nigerians about how things, specifically governance, shouldn’t be complicated.
He released several statements with the underlying theme of common sense or simple logic. What he said made a lot of sense. We loved his ‘common sense’ messages back then.
He even wrote a book titled A Common Sense Revolution.
I rooted for him back then to shake up the National Assembly. He made a lot of common sense when he rubbished the insane salary and allowances of federal lawmakers.
As far as he was concerned, paying NASS members that sort of money wasn’t common sense in a developing nation with a decidedly third world per capita income and GDP.
For some reason though, he stopped singing that song. He didn’t even do anything as symbolic as rejecting some of his allowances and wages. I lost interest in him after that.
There must be something about getting power that saps the basic goodness and decency out of ordinary men.
Before he became Senator, Ben Bruce was a businessman who had a lot to say about how things should be done. He was the sort of person you listen to because he made it big without being a public servant or an elected official.
But few months after he became Senator, common sense seems to have become a strange bedfellow with the common sense senator.
Throughout the numerous crisis that’d dogged the 8th Senate, he had never distinguished himself by standing above the fray. Now, he is completely part of the political machinery of his party. And that is never a good thing for the ordinary man.
It wasn’t really a surprise when some weeks back, he tweeted a message that Senator Dino Melaye had been kidnapped on his way to Kogi. The message was unverified and was sent to him by somebody who, if his common sense was still intact, he ought to know was too invested in Dino Melaye to be a credible source.
Kidnapping a senator is not just another story. It is huge. Something like that would be everywhere before you can send out a 140-character tweet.
But without trying to verify the message he got from Dino’s younger brother, he simply broadcasted the message to the whole world.
Naturally, many people believed him.
Naturally too, many knew Dino was on another of his stunts to avoid going to court. It is kind of hard to believe a man who has staged his own attempted assassination a couple of times.
The statement at the beginning of this article was made by the common sense senator after the despicable invasion of the National Assembly by men of the SSS which was widely covered by Nigeria News.
The statement reeked of somebody who either was drunk on power or simply had no idea what he was talking about.
Suddenly, he figured he had enough political pull to order the US, UK, and other Western powers to revoke the visa of certain Nigerians.
I know Mr. Bruce is not a stupid man. You don’t get to build the Silver Bird Group by being thick in the head. He is smart for sure. But that statement sure came out of ‘foolsville.’
How did Senator Akpabio’s name feature so prominently there? Perhaps, he is ‘dragging’ a particular mistress with the Senator from Akwa Ibom State.
Everybody knows any order to invade the National Assembly could only have come from Aso Rock. Why didn’t he include any prominent name there in his silly statement?
There are so many power brokers to name but he decided to pick on Akpabio who I’m sure is still wondering if he had effectively killed his political career by defecting to the APC.
For the records, and Ben Bruce knows this too, an individual cannot request a foreign government to revoke somebody’s visa.
In the heat of the moment, let’s grant him that, he must have forgotten that these are countries where the laws and rules are always adhered to. Impunity doesn’t work there the way it does in Nigeria.
So Mr common sense senator simply lost it at that point in time. It must have been the trauma of the occasion that screwed with his head and made him spew that rubbish.