Bayelsa state senator-elect Mr. Ben Murray Bruce spoke on issues relating to accountability and transparency in government. He said:
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.
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.
The level of poverty and unemployment is devastating. We need to focus on laws that protect the poor. What is the biggest problem in Nigeria today? It is consumption versus production. Our leaders are guilty of consuming the resources of the majority. What do we have for the poor – the millions of people living on two dollars a day? And then you have governors in large convoys, commissioners driving N20m cars, flying first class in states that cannot pay salaries. The governors fly private jets. Commissioners live like kings. If three policemen guard a commissioner, how many policemen do we have in Nigeria? Less than 200,000. So who is policing the poor when they are being raped, maimed and killed, their goods stolen?
In Bayelsa, sea pirates steal from boats. They steal N200, N500, fishing nets; they attack people and rape their women. There is poverty and frustration everywhere in the land. And then people we voted into offices are living like lords. Does that make sense? Is it legal? Is it ethical? Is it moral? Can you justify that consumption behaviour because they voted you into office? In most states, the only employer of labour is government, the rest are jobless.
Some government officials will wake up one morning like monarchs and dash money to the people on the street because they see them as beggars. You turn your people to beggars and you get scared that they could kill you. Why won’t you live in fear? What if you consume less and distribute what you have to the rest of the people so that they can be happy and you can live in peace?
It is a class war between the rich and the poor. I have said it for 35 years and I am saying it again because it is worse today. Boko Haram in the North, militancy in the South-South, kidnapping in the South-West and South East; raping, paedophile, maiming and stealing everywhere, what does that tell you? We have a problem in our hands and everybody must be held accountable.
President Buhari, who I like, is leading by example. He is a simple man and, because he is a simple man, I expect him to appoint people who will live simple lifestyle, people that will not consume the resources of the people. As lawmakers, we will checkmate their lifestyle. I will remind every minister and appointee of the need to live moderate life.
I am fighting against the corrupt elite. I am 59 and you only live once. The worst they can do to me is to take me out, so what? When the corrupt elite see me, let them know I am fighting them. When they drink that bottle of champagne that can educate a child, let them know I am fighting them. When they fly first class with tax payers money, let them know I am fighting them. Let them know that I am totally against their lifestyle because it is destroying the economy. We are broke, the elite deserve to be fought and they should be ashamed of themselves going by the way they live.
You go into government and fly first class but in your private life, you fly economy. You go into government, one man carries your phone, another opens the door of your car, another carries your bag, another reads the newspapers to you and you have ten policemen protecting you, what for? Were you born to the world as a king and everyone of us must worship you? They should apologise to Nigerians for looting the treasury and destroying the economy.
We don’t have distribution of wealth in Nigeria but the apportioning of wealth by the small minority and nothing else for the poor majority. There is no wealth distribution and that is why we don’t have the middle class. There are the poor and the champagne drinking super rich.