Senator representing Bayelsa East Senatorial District Ben Murray-Bruce has gone to war. He is fight against corrupt elite due to the disheartening rate of poverty and inequality in Nigeria.
“The level of poverty and unemployment is devastating,” he lamented in a report published by Vanguard.
“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.”
To ensure that things change, Mt=r Bruce has taken it upon himself to fight the corrupt elite in the country.
“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?” he asked.
Mr Bruce said looters should apologize to Nigerians for taking for themselves, what belongs to everybody, 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,” Bruce said.
Mr Bruce believes one of the first things Presiudent Muhammadu Buhari must do is to deregulate the oil sector.
“First, we must deregulate the oil sector but we must have a mass transit policy. In other words, if it costs you N100 to go to work, when you deregulate, it will still cost N100. We have been subsidizing the rich; now, subsidize the poor. Nobody cares for the cost of petrol but the cost of transportation. Focus on the cost of transportation and I have a blueprint that I can give to President Buhari. If you subsidize mass transit, you will deregulate and become a hero.
“Second, light – you want everyone to have light in the country but with the way we are going, in 100 years, not everybody will have light. Give them solar power and inverters in the villages and create a billion dollar budget every year. In five years, all Nigerians will have light. We only have electricity for the rich because it is too expensive to have transmission lines across the country, too expensive to generate it and there is nobody to pay the market value for light, so the best way to go is solar power.
“I bought a car that is electric, I don’t use light. If I can drive an electric car through the use of solar power, why can’t the government do same?
“Then you focus on a $100m a year grant to universities of science and technology so that they can start inventing things. We are a nation of traders. The richest people in Nigeria today are traders, people giving handouts from government. If you look at the list of the top 100 richest people in Nigeria today, how many of them created wealth because they invented something? They all made money from trading – buying and selling. So how can you develop when you don’t create anything? We are buying and selling, expecting patronage from government. If you go into a village, all the hotels are usually owned by former commissioners, governors, former deputy governors, they own all the assets in the state. It is never owned by businessmen, always owned by people in government. The economy will not grow like that. A nation of traders will find it difficult to grow because you need inventions to grow,” Mr Bruce said.