He speaks of common sense regularly sending out tweets on social media and well-rehearsed positions regaling us with what was once thought of as logical and well thought out positions on national issues. He has since his election positioned himself as one of the most ‘exposed’’ Senators with a remarkable grasp of the issues and an expert know-how of social media and its role in nation building especially in ensuring the corralling of our teeming youths and getting them involved in the political process.
He is no other but the legendary Showbiz impresario who today is representing a much-dominated people in the Senate. He is Senator Ben Bruce. I for one have always looked up to him with a certain admiration not for his past life where he has contributed so much to the development of the entertainment industry but in his positions which he righty termed common sense talk. This marked him out as someone that is really connected to the aspirations of the rest of us.
But alas, I am beginning to think that the common sense talk is just branding as prescribed by his PR people – a kind of differentiation that would mark out his brand and better position him for either a re-election or a more visible role in national politics. Some of us have begun to think that even the so-called common sense positions have been well researched and well-rehearsed showings that would immediately cave in the face of an unexpected and impromptu engagement.
This came to the fore just this last night when we unwittingly invited the great Senator into a vibrant WhatsApp group. This group is made up of some very prominent Nigerians like the great Rueben Abati and Pat Utomi who would soon announce his plans for Delta State. We also have three influential aides to sitting Governors, two gubernatorial candidates – Gombe and Ogun, several bank directors, a former Senator and former Chairman of NDDC and also a former top aide to a former Chairman of PDP. If you now mix this up with some very young and vivacious professionals who are doing well in corporate Nigeria and then you throw in Fayose’s Lere Olayinka and Omoyele Sowore plus Fela Durotoye, you begin to imagine the level of discuss in the group.
We had just come out of a four-hour robust discussion on the Malabu debacle and the level of clarity I personally got from that can be better imagined. We got an international lawyer, a top official of Shell who also is an expert in International corporate governance to join in the discussions. It was badddd as they say it on the street.
So on a wimp, we decided to invite the great Senator on the group. To be fair to him, he was not given a notice and he did not know who these people were. For all he knew, these could be Boko Haram trying to poison him via WhatsApp, so we would give him that excuse.
He entered the group, listened to the questions and promptly left without saying a word. My people, we were aghast. The questions were clean and honest. They bothered on his position on the restructuring of the country, the recent revelation by Senator Shehu Sanni on the monthly running cost, bills he has moved to ensure better representation of youths in the political process, his position on the clamour for a return to regional government amongst such very simple questions. Our man read all and just left.
Well, we do not know the reasons for his escape, but it left us all with a bitter taste in the mouth. This was supposed to be one of the most erudite politicians who should be looking for such avenues to better engage the electorate. The fact that his responses would have been typed thereby giving him the opportunity to keep and record his responses thereby removing the possibility of being misquoted and increasing his confidence level still did not stop the oga from running away.
Well maybe because we did not officially invite him. Maybe we were faceless and as such for security reasons or fear of kidnap, he did not say a word – maybe it was not even his real number. We would give him the benefit of the doubt to serve him this official public invite to come into our group once again to kindly answer these our queries and redeem himself.
We are 140 responsible Nigerians drawn from all over the country and representative of our collective aspirations. As Nigerians sir, we await your immediate return and urgent.