Ben Murray-Bruce, a senator from Bayelsa State, has withdrawn his participation in the senatorial primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Mr Murray-Bruce said in a letter to party leaders that he was constrained by a zoning arrangement in his locality, which rotates senatorial seat by local government area at every election cycle.
The development comes 24 hours to the commencement of PDP senatorial primaries in Bayelsa and other states. Mr Murray-Bruce, founder of Nigeria’s entertainment firm, Silverbird Group, said the decision to step down from the race was a tough one, but he would rather do it than use his might to crush opponent in a manner that could be deemed unfair by some of his constituents.
“I do not want whatever reason to appear to have used my privileged position and influence to do anything that other than the well-being and the stability and the good of the people,” Mr Murray-Bruce said.
Mr Murray-Bruce has had one of the most remarkable tenures at the Nigerian Senate since he was elected to the upper chamber for the first time in 2015. He is known to regularly make contributions, and often took hard line stance against President Muhammadu Buhari’s policies.
Shortly after taking his seat as a senator, Mr Murray-Bruce launched his ‘common sense’ campaign, distributing video clips in which he could be seen proffering solutions to what he believed were the nation’s most critical challenges.
His frequent use of social media, especially Twitter, has earned him admiration amongst many Nigerian youth, and he often comes under vicious attacks from opposition handles who see him as pushing a populist narrative and lacking legislative competence.
In his letter to the PDP leaders, Mr Murray-Bruce did not immediately disclose his next political move after his tenure expires in May 2019, but he has been deemed amongst the top surrogates of Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and PDP presidential aspirant.
Read the full letter below:
LETTER OF WITHDRAWAL FROM THE BAYELSA EAST SENATORIAL RACE
I thank God and the good people of Brass, Bayelsa East Senatorial District who offered me the golden opportunity four years ago to represent them and the state in the Senate, Nigeria’s highest lawmaking chamber.
It is without doubt that I have tried to discharge my duties as a legislator and representative of my people creditably to the best of my ability so far.
My voice has been very loud on the issues that matter to our people and our country at all time.
My support to our party, my people and state government is unquestionable. I am humbled that the national leadership of my party supported by the State chapter in appreciation of my efforts offered to support my reelection to the senate to continue my service.
I have also intensified consultations in the last couple of week in the course of which I have come to realize an existing local rotational arrangement of over 20 years beginning with the late Great Chief Melford Okilo, by which arrangement the Senatorial seat rotates per local government area among the three councils for four years in the Senatorial District.
Even with the support of my party at the National and state levels with the full backing of my state government and leadership, as a man of honour interested in the well being of my people, I hereby announce my withdrawal from the Senatorial race.
I do not want whatever reason to appear to have used my privileged position and influence to do anything that other than the well-being and the stability and the good of the people.
I am in all of these for the people, not for my self.
Once again, I thank the former President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, my colleagues in the Senate and Governor of Bayelsa State, the Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson for their support and encouragement.
I also thank the leadership of my Senatorial District and state, for for being there for me.
I thank Specially the people of my constituency for their trust and confidence in me to serve and represent them in the Senate.
By trusting me with this mandate, I have come to know them and our people even better, an experience I will never forget for the rest of my life.
I am indeed grateful to My darling wife, my children, other members of my family for their support and prayers. I appreciate the efforts of my hardworking campaign staff for their support and dedication.
Again, I thank the leadership of the party for their continuing support. I also assured the party of my availability and readiness to serve at any capacity when the opportunity comes.
Senator Ben Murray Bruce.