The Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, and the Senator representing Bayelsa-East senatorial district, Mr. Ben Murray-Bruce clashed on Thursday over Aregbesola’s inability to pay workers’ salaries.
The faceoff started after Murray-Bruce, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, said on his official Twitter handle that he would donate his wardrobe allowance of over N500,000 to the unpaid workers in Osun State and widows in his home state of Bayelsa.
Murray-Bruce, who is the Chairman of the Silverbird Group, said he would give the money to the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress in Osun State who would distribute the money to the unpaid workers.
He wrote, “I, Ben Murray-Bruce, will not sit down idly while my fellow citizens die because salaries have not been paid. As a first step, I am immediately donating my wardrobe allowance to unpaid workers in Osun State and widows in my constituency.
“We are starting in Osun but we will not end there. I will do as much to help workers who have not been paid in other states. I call on all my friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter to donate non-perishable food items for these our brothers in need.
“As soon as my wardrobe allowance is paid, half will be publicly given to the NLC chairman in Osun State while the other half will be given to the head of widows association in my community of Akasa.”
However, Aregbesola described Murray-Bruce’s statement as the height of hypocrisy.
The governor, in a statement by the Director. Bureau of Communication and Strategy Office, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, said it was unfortunate that the senator could trivialise such a sensitive issue.
He wondered why it was Osun State – out of the over 15 states that had not paid salaries – that Murray-Bruce wanted to donate his money to.
The statement read, “My attention has been drawn to a tweet by a member of upper chamber of the National Assembly, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, of the PDP from Bayelsa, saying he will not reject the alleged hefty pay for members of the National Assembly but collect it and donate to Osun workers.
“It is saddening and tragic that Mr. Murray-Bruce whom many had accorded a lot of respect is too early in the day joining the fray of politicisation and trivialising the salary issue affecting more than half of the states of the federation in this ridiculous manner.
“While Nigerians are in hot debate over the alleged jumbo pay and the mood of the country, Murray-Bruce seems to have turned the plight of Nigerian workers to a thing of entertainment. Of all the states in the federation who are battling to pay salaries as a result of the precarious economic situation his party, the PDP, threw Nigeria, why is it that it is Osun he wants to take his pay to?”