Recently, I’ve been inundated with broadcasts of Mr Ben Murray-Bruce campaigning for the top political office in Bayelsa state of Nigeria. He is the chairman of the Silverbird group and watching his broadcasts daily got me piqued and I decided to research a little. Indulge me.
Born Benedict Murray-Bruce on the 18th February 1956 to Mullighan and Margaret Murray-Bruce in Lagos, Nigeria. He attended primary and secondary (Saint Gregory College)schools in Lagos before going to the University of Southern California to study Business Administration with emphasis in marketing. He started the own company that would later morph into the Silverbird group in 1980 and has never looked back since.
As a student and fresh graduate, Mr Bruce organized entertainment shows that were world class in Nigeria bringing into the country the biggest stars to entertain the people. He practiced, preached and inspired excellence in the people he worked with.
Over the years, I have had occasion to hear him speak (Most recently at the Silverbird man of the year awards gala). His passion for the people always triggering the cynic in me as I believed that like most of Nigeria’s leading men, he was blowing hot for the purpose of the people when he actually didn’t care. Recent events have changed that perception.
Whilst discussing with friends about his candidacy on the PDP platform and offering my pessimistic views that are not totally unfounded, one of them enlightened me. He told me he was an intern whilst Mr Bruce was still the Director General (DG) of the National Television Authority (NTA), claiming that he had started reforming the TV network, eradicating corruption and forcing out the bad staff of the media powerhouse before he was unceremoniously forced out himself.
I started listening more to him from then on, read up interviews he had granted and wondered what manner of man he really is. He seemed like a genuine article and I wanted to be sure of his personality and drive to better the lot of his people. I soon found that all my questions aside, Mr Ben Murray-Bruce typifies the type of politician that I would want to see in Nigeria. He reminded me of the senator who took the world by storm preaching the message of change and inspiring millions on his way to becoming the first black president. Mr Bruce got my attention and I listened.
He talks about the problems of the people, offering well thought out and clear cut solutions. No wonder he is a very successful business man. The figures he cited seemed big, his statistic mind boggling, yet this is a man known for excellence, so it was obvious to me that he had done his research well and thoroughly. And that his claims, bold and audacious as they may be, probably are accurate, so I researched Bayelsa state to find out the veracity of his polity.
Bayelsa State was created on the 1st October 1996 by then head of state, the late Gen. Sani Abacha. It had three local government areas which constituted the name of the state. They are Brass Local Government Area (BALGA), Yenogoa Local Government Area (YELGA) and Sagbama Local Government Area (SALGA) compounded as BAYELSA. The state was born. For more info visit http://www.nigeriagalleria.com/Nigeria/States_Nigeria/Bayelsa_State.html or http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayelsa_State
The state had it’s first executive Governor in Dr. Diepreye Alamiesiegha who was governor from 1999 till the unfortunate events that saw him lose his seat to his deputy who is now the president of Nigeria Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 2006. In 2007 Mr Timipre Sylva became the governor and his tenure is coming to an end. So the journey for the next man to lead the state begins.
With a large Television network aiding his cause, media mogul Murray-Bruce seems to be the man in the lead. But the peculiar workings of Nigerian politics has shown that the most visible candidates do not always win elections. (Anyone remember Jimi Agbaje?) And so as the race for the gubernatorial primaries on the 19th November heats up, it is left to see who the almighty Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will endorse as its flag bearer for the top political office in the state.
As events unravel, and media focus shifts to Bayelsa, one wonders: will the politics of people win against the politics of self? Or will it be the case of same old story. The days and events ahead will answer that question. Now, we can only watch with rapt attention as the key players seek to mesmerize and convince us that they hold the peoples best interest at heart.
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