By Eric Elezuo
All through his legislative career which may come to an abrupt end on May 29 or June 8, 2019 or paused as the case may be, the senator representing Bayelsa central senatorial zone in the upper legislative chamber, Mr. Ben Murray-Bruce, may not have seen as much disappointment and let down as he suffered during the plenary of Wednesday, April 17, 2019 in the Senate.
Under his very eyes, his two proposed bills were roundly defeated on the floor of the House by his colleagues, most of whom unfortunately were members of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who gave infallible and impeccable reasons why it must not see the light of day.
The business tycoon senator couldn’t do much but emotionally asked his colleagues to ‘close your eyes, and imagine you are in the 21st century’. A request which was greeted with disdainful laughter and haughty looks.
The bills sponsored by Senator Murray-Bruce was read for the first time on the 10th of April, and within seven days was thrown to the dustbin. They centred on phasing out petrol vehicles by 2035, and replacing them with electric cars, and granting Nigerian citizenship to privileged Africans.
Highlighting the reason for the bill, Murray-Bruce had said: “Combustion engine cars have continued to cause deaths through uncontrolled pollution.” He noted that car pollution is one of the major causes of global warming and warned that passing the bill will nigerians escape pollution linked deaths.
He continued: “Secondly, we have been spending over N1 trillion annually subsidising fuel in this country. By introducing electric cars, fuel subsidy will automatically be gone and those funds will be used for infrastructure and education.” To an onlooker, Ben Bruce, as he is popularly called, was making sense.
Further in his argument, the senator known as Mr. Common Sense because of his regular mono-talk show on STV with the same name, said: “To charge your electric cars, all the filling stations will be replaced with solar charging stations. Thankfully, this country is blessed with sunlight 365 days in a year.
“Electric cars are outselling petrol cars as witnessed in Norway a few weeks ago. It makes more sense to build Nigeria’s biggest power plant than refineries.”
Ben’s common sense reasoning immediately came under a barrage of attacks from his colleagues. Leading the onslaught was Senator Barau Jibrin, though who thinks the proposition is environment-friendly believes that “it is not doable.”
He further patronised Senator Murray-Bruce saying “I sympathise with the mover although it has good intendments, the fact is the economic perspective, let us put this on hold and allow time.”
Towing the line of Senator Jibrin, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, noted that there is no need for legislation for Nigerians to make use of such cars if need be.
In his explanation, he called out Senator Murray-Bruce, using his common sense logic: “What is not common in the sense of looking at the lead debate for a legislation to introduce electric cars. Before now, we were using donkeys for transportation then we started using cars. We did not require any law.
“Secondly, section 41 on freedom of movement covers it.”
Ekweremadu also stated that the bill should be discouraged because Nigeria is an oil producing country, “we must do everything to frustrate electric cars.”
Senator Andrew Uchendu remarked that the bill failed to meet requirements of order 77 of the Senate standing order in failing to state “financial implications.” The lawmakers saw everything wrong with the bill.
“In a few years time, combustive fuel cars will not be manufactured. It doesn’t cost much to maintain. You (Senators) do not belong to the 21st century. I understand,” an obviously disappointed Murray-Bruce submitted.
In his second bill, which also met waterloo, Murray-Bruce sought to amend the 1999 constitution in a bid to give Nigerian citizenship to African origins.
Considering the vehemence with which Senator Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West, rubbished the bill, it would look like no one wants to have anything to do with the Bayelsa senator who will definitely not be returning to the 9th Senate.
“Does it mean we will leave our borders open and porous for every African citizen, and in the next few years, our population will hit 500 million,” Senator Melaye reasoned.
If there were bad days in the four years for Murray-Bruce, that day was not just one of them, it was certainly the worst. He could only shook his head, retract the bills and sat back dejectedly. It was one day Mr. Common Sense failed to make common sense!
Napoli Consider Renaming Stadium after Diego Maradona
Napoli are considering renaming their stadium in memory of Diego Maradona after the club legend died aged 60.
Maradona, regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, forged a strong bond with the Italian club and its supporters during his seven-year spell between 1984 and 1991.
The forward, who inspired Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986, joined Napoli from Barcelona and won their only two Serie A titles – in 1987 and 1990 – along with the Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup.
Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis confirmed following Maradona’s death that the club will discuss renaming their stadium in his honour, combining its current title with his full iconic name, Sky reports.
“We can consider the idea of calling our stadium San Paolo-Diego Armando Maradona,” De Laurentiis told French sports channel RMC Sport.
Naples Mayor Luigi De Magistris supported the proposal that the city’s San Paolo Stadium be renamed for Maradona, who scored 81 goals in 188 appearances for the club.
“We are already putting it together this morning, taking the first steps to dedicate Naples stadium to Maradona,” De Magistris said.
The Mayor added: “We’re hoping to make it coincide with the resumption of games with fans.”
Fans gathered outside the stadium, which was lit in memory of Maradona’s time at the club, in the southern Italian city on Wednesday evening.
Tributes have poured in from the world of football and beyond, with three days of national mourning underway in Argentina.
Implement People’s Demands Or Set Nigeria on Fire, Wike Tells Buhari
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to prove to Nigerians that he is ready to do the people’s requests.
The governor said the President will set the country ‘on fire’ by not implementing some of the requests voiced out by leaders during the recent discussions with the presidential delegation led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari.
The PUNCH had reported that Gambari led ministers and federal lawmakers to meetings with leaders of the six geopolitical zones as a way of addressing concerns raised in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests.
Gambari and the presidential delegation had met with governors and leaders of the South-South geopolitical zone in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Tuesday.
At the meeting, the South-South leaders including the Rivers State governor demanded the restructuring of the country in line with the principle of true federalism, saying it will guarantee peace, security and stability in the country.
Giving an update on the meeting on Thursday morning, Wike said the President still has time to implement the will of the people and etch a legacy for himself.
The governor spoke today on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme monitored by The PUNCH.
He said, “I am not a pessimist. I don’t believe that because you didn’t do what you agreed to do yesterday, therefore, you will not do what you agree to do today. Even if he (Buhari) has not done what he told Nigerians he would do, he can say, look, I promised Nigerians yesterday, I didn’t do that and that is affecting my integrity and so, for people who know me, I will implement what I have said.
“People have raised the issue that they don’t think anything will come out of the dialogues. I don’t agree with them. I believe that if the President does not do it, given the opportunity he has now, he will be putting Nigeria on fire.”
Continuing, Wike said political will to implement what the people want is key in governance.
According to him, the President has to show leadership by listening to Nigerians and by implementing the people’s requests.
“He may not necessarily implement everything the people may want but let the people see the concrete evidence that under President Buhari, he has been able to implement one, two, three, four demands by the people.
“If he (Buhari) doesn’t take this opportunity now to implement some of these requests, I don’t think it will be very good for Nigerians and for his legacy,” the governor added.
Legendary Football Star, Diego Amando Maradona Dies at 60
Diego Maradona, one of football’s greatest-ever players, has died. He was 60 years.
The 1986 World Cup winner had surgery to remove a blood clot on the brain earlier this month. The Argentine Football Association confirmed he had died this afternoon.
“The Argentine Football Association, through its president Claudio Tapia, expresses its deepest sorrow for the death of our legend, Diego Armando Maradona. You will always be in our hearts,” they said.
Another of football’s greats, Pele, has led the tributes to: “Certainly, one day we’ll kick a ball together in the sky above.” Follow latest updates and reaction here.
Dr Leopoldo Luque, Maradona’s personal physician, said the former player had shown signs of improvement after a successful operation three weeks ago.
Dr Luque said Maradona “laughed” and “grabbed my hand” just a day after he had the procedure.
“Diego is without any type of neurological deficit, without any type of complication associated with surgery,” Luque said, addressing reporters at the clinic’s door.
“He has an excellent post-operative period, the laboratory parameters even improved.
“The first impression is it is favourable, but it is difficult to evaluate.”