Leadership for many is defined as the acquisition of power to command, enforce and ultimately prove to the weak that they are no more than the weaklings they are. Many leaders in the past and present have often delighted in banging orders and giving directives to their followers without recourse to the effects of such authoritarian attitude toward them. But for others, leadership is the opinion of the masses, the conscious attempts at solving their dire problems and the empathetic concern shown to them in times of need.
This explains Senator Bassey Albert’s perception of leadership; it was therefore not surprising that the Senator, who represents Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District, made news again recently, on account of his humanitarian gesture, leading to the reinstatement of Mr. Celestine Williams, (now ASP Celestine Williams).
As soon as the news of ASP Williams hit the air, the joy of his friends and well-wishers knew no bounds as they took to various communication platforms to congratulate the glorious elevation of their own whose hitherto sad story has become a testimony.
Abandoned by his wife and only daughter, and rejected by his family and friends, the story of the reinstated Ini Local Government indigene after 21 years of being wrongfully dismissed from the Police Force is one which would best be described as that of faith, grace, determination, hope and glory.
According to Francis Paul of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Celestine Williams joined the Nigerian Police in 1993 as a Constable, serving in Lagos State Command before his redeployment to the Cross River State Command.
In the course of his duty, Celestine and a team of State CID were detailed to carry out an investigation into the death of a Commissioner in the State; an assignment the team successfully carried out, recovering arms and arresting suspects. One of the suspects who was highly placed was said to have used his connections to deal with his arrestors and so, Celestine and his team members were thereafter detained for 11 months without trial and later dismissed from the Force.
Celestine’s situation became pathetic as his wife and relations abandoned him, all blaming him for a crime he never committed.
In 2016, Celestine approached Senator Bassey Albert, popularly know as OBA, with a petition requesting him to look into his cause. Consequent upon the petition presented to the Senate by Senator Albert via a letter dated April 13, 2016. The petition was referred to the committee on ethics, privileges and public petition, which recommended his re-instatement, payment of his entitlements and promotion to the rank of ASP.
Thus, the Police Service Commission, after another investigation, approved the reinstatement of Celestine Williams in May 2017, but without his due rank. He was however promoted to the rank he is due as recommended by the Senate, paid all his outstanding entitlements has being posted to Calabar to continue his service to his fatherland.
Notably, Senator Albert who presented his petition and followed it to a logical conclusion was on hand at the most important day in Celestine’s life to decorate him and crown his victory with a car.
For ASP Williams who is yet to come to terms with his present glory, the feeling is that of awe and wonder. “At this moment, the joy I have has removed every form of bitterness and I believe God must have touched the heart of everybody that has been involved in this”, the newly decorated ASP said.
His joy knew no bounds as he wrapped his arms around the Senator in a tight soul-gratifying embrace.
On his part, the Akwa Ibom North East Senator who was only satisfied to have been instrumental in the course of justice was glad to see his 5-year struggle at the Senate come to fruition.
“I know him as a very bright officer who is very passionate about serving his country. And I also understand and underscore his patriotism, and he never lost hope that he did nothing wrong. He had lost everything; his wife, family etc, so I thank God for giving him back what he lost”, Sen. Albert said.
The message put out by Senator Bassey Albert therefore, is that which gives hope to the helpless, downtrodden and voiceless members of the society.
Reactions trailing this magnanimous act already have received high-sounding commendation from quarters with good prayers for the Petroleum Resources Senator.
Unknowing to many, it is not the first time the Senator is standing up for the people of his State. OBA had also opposed the illegal conversion and diversion of salaries and allowances of Sgt. Peter John by the Nigerian Police Force as well as the victimization of Mr. Aniekan Umoh by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, not excluding his frown at the Wrongful dismissal of Debongs Ndem Anietie from the services of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Port Harcourt.
Notably, the Directorate of Technical Cooperation Africa (DTCA) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will not forget the quick intervention of the Senator when they tried to victimize and prematurely retire one of their staff, Ntia Thompson from service, for exposing the corruption and rot within the Directorate.
The committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions investigated the matter, and thereafter recommended his reinstatement courtesy of OBA’s advocacy. Even the wrongful dismissals of one Mr. Peter Solomon Archibong by the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and Ex Cpl Imo Sunday by the Nigerian Police Force did not go unnoticed as the Senator had ensured that their cases were revisited and justice administered appropriately.
These instances and more were cases involving citizens of other constituencies across the State and nation, many of whom the Senator knows nothing about.
In his resolve to get across other areas of the State, OBA had launched a scholarship scheme for his constituents in 2016 but changed its terms to accommodate indigenes of other local government areas across the State in 2019. A whopping 10% allocation was given to each LGA of Akwa Ibom State, while all physically challenged students irrespective of tribe and origin who applied were also enlisted into the scheme, courtesy of the distinguished Senator’s waiver to ensure that they do not go through the qualifying examinations.
It would be recalled that the scholarship offers full payment of tuition to the scholars as well as stipends for their upkeep every semester. Moreso, the transparency for which the scheme has earmarked has remained superb with positive improvements added daily.
These, not excluding numerous constituency projects, are again, testaments of great imprints on the sands of today.
In a clime as ours where political leaders are primarily aimed at amassing wealth for themselves without looking back to the needs of their followers, let alone their constituencies; Senator Bassey remains one of the leading voices at the Red Chambers of Nigeria, if not the first. Overtime, his singular voice has led to cooperative moves, bringing about communal and national denouement on several pressing developmental issues.
Call him the only Senator Akwa Ibom has and you would not be making a mistake; the Senator representing Akwa Ibom North East has proven his mettle as the people’s representative whose motive was and is to serve the people selflessly.
One of Akwa Ibom’s finest representatives, Senator Albert has helped project strongly the goodwill of our dear state and maintained a stance portraying us as enlightened and thorough people before the eyes of big nationals. His Bills, Motions and Petitions at the floor of the Senate has often showcased the people of Akwa Ibom as humane, environment-conscious and selfless problem solvers who would not rest until their cause is well considered.
Even more, the Senator has not ceased to better the lives and lots of his people, both in his constituency and the general Akwa Ibom populace.
May leaders present, see reasons to tap from this laudable example for the onward positive projection of our people and for the advancement of the Akwa Ibom course.
…Priscilla Christopher, a journalist, writes from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State