“I am convinced that this action will enable me to take the next positive step to meet the hopes and expectations of Akwa Ibom people” – Senator Bassey Albert
By the rapturous jubilation that trailed the resignation of Obong Bassey Albert (OBA) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday, July 15, 2022, it can be said that all that Akwa Ibom people were waiting for, in contemplative silence of the hangover enveloping the Akwa Ibom State PDP, was this bold step by the distinguished lawmaker of unassailable record.
To wit, for a considerable long time, the electorates have expressed in action and words their loss of faith and place in governance in the State as well as their disaffection and apprehension in the ominous uncertainties PDP is trapped in.
OBA’s formal resignation, therefore, caught his supporters in frenzied readiness to go with him wherever he goes; use their PVCs in a protest vote in the 2023 governorship election; and consequentially change the dynamics of leadership in the State, against State actors’ manipulation to foist their will upon the people by surrogacy and arm-twisting.
This shared discontent is succinctly represented in OBA’s resignation letter. “As you are aware, my aspiration to serve our dear State in the office of the Executive Governor is not personal or selfish but rather the collective ambition of our people, based on the principle of justice and equity, to achieve a better and prosperous Akwa Ibom State”, he stated.
OBA, therefore, comes as a game-changer and catalyst; generally seen by all as the master key and leeway to a new dawn. Apart from personal conviction in his innate and acquired capacity and leadership philosophy, the Senator’s ambition is neither an impulsive thought of a desperate man nor a chanced slice of opportunism.
This burning desire was first made most manifest in 2015 after he knew he had closely studied the rubrics of public affairs and made to pass through the crucible series of leadership internships under high and demanding offices of responsibility, exposure to the dynamic of governance, and full knowledge of the commonplace concerns and wishes of a people he has lived with all his life.
The resignation letter which was addressed to his ward Chairman in Ibiono Ibom Eastern Ward 1, categorically states:
“Consequently, guided by sentiments, concerns and worries of our people so expressed on the need to take immediate steps for the actualization of their aspirations, I am therefore compelled to resign my membership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) forthwith”.
You must be a complete outsider to imagine that the Senator representing Uyo Senatorial District in the National Assembly has lost steam in his ambition because of recent developments. Even as you are reading this line, you can be sure that OBA’s camp is increasingly becoming a beehive of activities and a groundswell of pragmatic strategies in anticipation of the next move.
In a prompt pep-up response following a Federal Court ruling sitting in Abuja, today, on the sexed “status quo ante bellum”, Chairman of the Akwa Ubok Abasi Campaign Council, Sir Emem Akpabio, told supporters, “We are marching on!”. That says it. Indeed, the judgment, as is commonly said, is “as it pleases the court”.
Observers have however commended OBA for his bravery in weathering the storms; his contagious tranquillity amidst constant persecution and blackmail; his exemplary respect for the rule of law; and ultimately resigning as the true gentleman and party man he is.
Political analysts are however of the opinion that the State PDP has hit itself below belt because of the boomerang politics of acrimony and exclusion. They said OBA’s exit has caused a serious crack in the foundation and walls of the PDP.
This resonates with a recent piece I read recently. In his eponymous column on Tuesday’s back page of ThisDay Newspaper, July 5, 2022, Reuben Abati observed: “There’s indeed a new brand of madness growing like marijuana in the PDP. The big problem is that it has…men who think they are larger than life”.
OBA’s name is already written in gold in the annals of the PDP. His invaluable, selfless, patriotic and multi-dimensional contributions to the history and evolution of the party at State and national levels in the past twenty years can never be obliterated.
In particular, no matter how they may pretend, the Akwa Ibom Government House will only fight in futility to forget OBA’s memorable sacrifices that made possible the emergence of the past and the incumbent governor of the State, even at the risk of his life in the infamous “Warsaw”. Nor can we safely forget the obvious panic of the prime beneficiary of that historic solidarity.
Like in politics like in life, the existentialist irony remains that, those you held a ladder for to scale a wall may kick it down on getting to the top. But there is always a nemesis. I cannot agree less with pundits that OBA’s resignation may be an obituary note for the PDP in Akwa Ibom State!
The book, Playing to Win, jointly authored by A.G. Lafley and Roger Martin, says: “Winning should be at the heart of every strategy”.
That is the underlying message in this OBA-inspired “revolution”, to free Akwa Ibom people from the shackles of plutocracy and oligarchy.