2023: Senator OBA…Our Bastion of Hope



“Always pray to have the eyes that see the best in people, a heart that forgives the worst, a heart that forgets the bad, and a soul that never loses faith in God -Anonymous

The Gospel according to Mark has in it many revelations about our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As a good Bible student, I live by the dictates of 2 Timothy 2:15:
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

I find particularly interesting the recording in Chapter 8 of the Gospel according to Mark. Here we are told Christ fed the multitude twice, sighed deeply in the spirit, healed a blind man instructing him not to go to town and tell no one, and He also told His disciples that He would be subjected to suffering, get killed and after three days rise again. Also worthy of note in this chapter, He also rebuked Peter, calling him Satan and admonished His disciples as recorded in Verse 34:

”And when He had called the people unto him with his disciples also, He said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me”.This is today regarded as the ultimate and most important step to being a Christian.

For the sake of this epistle, I will lay emphasis on Verse 27 of Mark Chapter 8 and it reads: “And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way He asked his disciples, saying unto them, WHOM DO MEN SAY THAT I AM?”

It is very important we note here that this question came to the disciples after they had witnessed Christ perform a lot of miracles, most significantly the feeding of about four thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fishes and a record of twelve basketsfull of leftovers just hours apart.

Now, we will have to deal with the answers the disciples gave Him and Peter’s opinion when Christ redirected that same question to them during Sunday school classes…For now, WHO IS SENATOR BASSEY ALBERT (OBA) & WHO DO PEOPLE SAY HE IS? Let’s attempt to reflect people’s opinions on this.

Some say he is their FATHER. No doubt he is a father, husband, brother and a relative. Distinguished Senator Bassey Albert (OBA) is happily married to his heartthrob, Pastor (Mrs) Imaobong Nkeiru Bassey Albert. Their marriage is blessed with six lovely children. Etan Thomas in an attempt to define a father in his book, Fatherhood: Rising To The Ultimate Challenge, had this to say: ”I would define a leader as a person who puts the welfare of a group above himself. It’s the same thing with fathers.”

Senator OBA has demonstrated that indeed he is a father to many. He has on various occasions spanning years, taken up the responsibility of getting things done. Having paid medical bills, school fees, house rents, feeding and clothing of so many people too numerous to mention and running into several millions of Naira.

RELATED: 2023 is in God’s Hand- Bassey Albert

When Erika Cosby said ”You know Fathers have a way of putting everything together”, I strongly believe he was referring to fathers like Senator OBA.

Our Friend: Recently, Sen. OBA played host to the physically challenged in our dear Akwa Ibom State. Being a good father entails being a good friend to deepen the bond and expand the conversation. When he sat on the floor of his constituency office to interact with his friends and foster better communication, it became evident that he understood what Hubert H. Humphrey meant when he said ”The greatest gift of life is friendship”.Senator OBA’s friendship with the physically challenged persons dates back several years to when he was a young lad. His elder brother once recounted his ordeal with a cripple on wheelchair on their way home from school, where he volunteered to assist by pushing the wheelchair as they discussed despite being exhausted after engaging in an inter-class football match. His elder brother also said at one point he couldn’t help but wondered what they were discussing as they looked so happy and laughed all through their long walk together.

“There is nothing I wouldn’t do for those who are my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” -Jane Austin.

This must be one of Senator Bassey Albert’s driving force as he has not only engaged the less-privileged persons in trading and craftsmanship through training and business start-up grants but has also awarded scholarship to all those who have indicated interest in furthering their education. A good number of them are in higher institutions of learning. Prominent among them is one Miss Blessing, a blind law student of the University of Uyo.

As a Banker…Senator Albert has demonstrated capacity and will get things done. His goal-oriented approach towards legislative business simply connotes his professional background. Having worked with several banks, he rose through the ranks and files of the banking system to become the Vice President at FCMB; and he is considered to be one of the most refined politicians in Nigeria today.

David Maister in his book, True Professionalism, had this to say and I quote: ”Professional is not a label you give yourself- it’s a description you hope others will apply to you”.

His years as the Commissioner of Finance and Chairman, Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee projects during Chief Godswill Akpabio-led administration availed him the opportunity to bring his experiences in the banking sector to bear in serving the State conscientiously.

In Spanish we say “Distinguido Senador OBA esta banquero por excelencia.”
Meaning…Distinguished Senator OBA is a Banker par excellence.

A Team Player: Obong Bassey Albert (OBA) having tasted the murky waters of politics for more than seven years as a commissioner and decided it was time to serve his people in a different capacity has been confronted by the people. His outstanding performance as a commissioner endeared him to his people, hence as the most accepted and popular candidate as at the time, he gained tremendous support of almost every class in the society. The streets were agog whenever OBA’s name was mentioned and whenever his entourage berthed the shores of the 31 LGAs in our dear Akwa Abasi Ibom State. What else did you expect from the populace who witnessed OBA transform thousands of boys to men, girls to wives and mothers as well as created chief executive officers (CEOs) and business moguls.

OBA’s shot at the Hill Top job couldn’t see the light of the day despite being the most preferred. A good party man, he hearkened to the decision of his political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which zoned the governorship seat to Eket Senatorial District. As a well grounded and grassroots politician; and having won almost all the hearts of everyone in the state, his party decided he rather contested for the Uyo Senatorial District seat. I must also state here that he won that election convincingly.

Henry Ford, an American industrialist, business magnate, founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production, in his wisdom said, and I quote: ”Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success”.

Obong Bassey Albert’s decision to abide by his party’s decision and to support Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel’s candidacy was indeed the beginning of many successes to come. The duo came together, won their elections convincingly and were subsequently sworn into office – Mr Udom Emmanuel as a Governor and Obong Bassey Albert as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They both stayed together afterwards and recorded what seems to be a significant progress as both of them were returned elected to serve a second term in office. It is our belief that both will continue working together to ensure a successful transition from one to the other in a few years time.

Senator OBA: The Voice of Uyo Senatorial District in the Red Chambers of the National Assembly. The tall, heavily built, vocal and outstanding legislator’s sojourn to the Senate spanning about five years now has recorded several jaw-dropping performances best described as Pragmatic, Impactful and Goal-oriented Legislation, and of course Efficient & Effective Representation. His industrial revolution bills in his first term was mainly aimed at accelerating the build-up of industrial capacity within Nigeria, increase manufacturing contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and drive the process of intense industrialisation based on the sector where nation has comparative and competitive advantage. Other benefits include to facilitate jobs and wealth creation, provide for economic and revenue diversification, ensure import substitution and export diversification as well as broaden government’s tax base. It is also very significant to note Sen. OBA’s Gas Flaring (Punishment) Bill, among others.

Few months into his second term in office saw the distinguished Senator sponsoring and co-sponsoring life-changing bills, and most especially brokering a deal for Nigeria: The Multi Billion Dollars NNPC/Chevron EGTL Project. Senator OBA played a great role in the settlement of the Escravos Gas to Liquids dispute which had plagued the oil and gas sector for over a decade.

These historic and outstanding contributions of Senator OBA to the growth of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria earned him an honorary award and of course lots of encomiums from key players in the industry; notably from the GMD of NNPC, Mr. Abba Kyari and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva.

Senator Bassey Albert Scholarship Schemes: The first and second phases of the scholarship awards have seen about 400 students in different fields of the various tertiary institutions in Nigeria systematically selected from the 31 LGAs in Akwa Ibom State as beneficiaries. The Senator Bassey Albert Educational Fund has also sponsored about 20 students to study overseas, facilitated more than 100 students to Law School including providing a laptop to each of them, sponsorship of inter-secondary school competitions, as well as provision of several educational materials to both primary and secondary schools across the Uyo Senatorial District.

It is also worthy of note that the multi million naira Senator OBA’s Educational Fund dates back to when he was the Commissioner of Finance.

Youth Empowerment: Arguably Senator OBA’s empowerment scheme has been adjudged the best in the history of our state having been able to impact positively on the lives of over 20,000 persons.

Just recently, December 2019 to be exact, he gave out 22 cars to his constituents. This movement so far has recorded the distribution of over 200 cars, about 80 mini buses, 350 tricycles, more than 600 motorcycles, thousands of hair dressing equipment ranging from hair dryers, generators, barbing accessories, and many others too numerous to mention.

It is also on record that the Senator has given out grants, small business start-up loans, big business support initiatives worth over hundreds of millions of Naira.

Talent Hunt & Skills Acquisition Initiative: The Senator OBA’s Skills Development Initiative is said to be one of the best in the country today. This ranges from a well developed ultra-modern sports facilities, promotion of the annual talents hunt festivals in the various local government areas in Akwa Ibom State in football, handball, volley ball, field and track events, and many more. This initiative has availed our youths the opportunity to grow their talents and compete for top sports in our national teams and outside the shores of this country.

Over a thousand youths have benefitted from the skills acquisition training programme sponsored by Senator OBA. These youths have been trained and on completion, given the necessary equipment needed to kick-start production or earning associated with their new found skills/training. These youths are trained in welding/fabrication, underwater welding, carpentry/ furniture making, hair dressing/fashion designing, make-up/pedicure & manicure/scarf making (Gele), mechanic/driving, eletrical/electronics repairs etc.

It is therefore very pertinent to state here that this feat has only been attributed to Distinguished Senator Bassey Albert (OBA)…I stand corrected.

The Simple, Accessible, Cheerful & People-Centred Senator OBA. When people describe him in this light, it only means that they have thoroughly watched his actions both closely and from a distance and also to a large extent from people’s accession.

These attributes have endeared him to the people. I make bold to say that we all know that one of the most simple and accessible politicians in our state is Senator Albert. Whenever he is in his residential home in Shelter Afrique, Uyo, his gates are thrown open to everyone, providing his constituents the opportunity to interact and draw his attention to the happenings/challenges in his constituency and Akwa Ibom State at large. Let’s not forget that Senator OBA’s love for his people goes beyond sharing a drink or a meal together to singing and dancing to songs of praise to the Almighty God, the author and finisher of our faith as recorded in the Hebrews 12:2.

The hard-working and result-oriented Senator, despite his tight and engaging schedule associated with the demands of his office as a Senator and Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), still finds time to attend several functions in the state, ranging from birthdays, funeral services, marriage ceremonies, child dedications, football competitions, and other social engagements. Remarkably, in some days he attends not less than 4 of such occasions in a day, and most of them uniquely placed in all the three senatorial districts of the state. And at every point whenever he is introduced by the Master of Ceremony the loud cheers from his supporters would be deafening and when he makes his way to the microphones, the atmosphere is charged as everywhere is agog and only brought to normalcy when his soft voice hits the loudspeakers. The tall, handsome Senator, who is always perfectly dressed for each occasion has a unique style of capturing the hearts of the populace.

Senator Bassey Albert (OBA) is so loved by his people. The breathtaking joyous atmosphere is always a sight to behold.

Henri Bergson in his wisdom noted, and I quote: “The eye only sees what the mind is ready to comprehend”.

I cannot agree any less with Bergson. Despite Senator OBA’s outstanding performance and mind blowing contributions to our growth as a people and a nation, some very ambitious, self-centred and low budget politicians and political pundits have chosen to mislead the gullible public. We have come to understand that they have only resorted to cheap blackmail instead of matching his outstanding records as a result of their pitiable disposition as noted by Lisa Mishra…”Some people have so low IQ that they think confused diplomatic hypocrites Means Straightforward”.

In conclusion, I ask ye like Christ in Mark 8: 18, 21
“Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?…How is it that ye do not understand?

And like Peter professed “…thou art the Christ.” likewise we say, Distinguished Senator Bassey Albert (OBA) is a father to the fatherless, a selfless public servant and our bastion of hope.

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