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Promoting Media Ethics And Legislature Collaboration For Good Governance

By Senator Bassey Albert Akpan


This is not my formal coming to NUJ; it is just a visit to celebrate Christmas with you. So, I am not going to speak much. Surely, at a period like this, NUJ is visited by well-meaning Nigerians. Since others may have or will come, I have also come to pay homage and to also let you know that I’m still very loyal.

I know that I have been with the media for a very long time and you are quite familiar with me. So even when I am criticized, I take it in good faith. You are the watchdog of the society especially those of us in public office. The constitution enables you to hold us accountable and without you, the world will not know what is happening. So I encourage you, but wish to advise that you let your criticism to be constructive and not destructive.

The only way your criticism can be constructive and not destructive is for you to try as much as possible to balance your reportage. Don’t say you called my phone when you did not call me; sometime saying that my phone was off so I could not be reached for comments. If you can’t reach me, you can reach my media person; he’s here and he’s also one of you.


I see myself as a very responsible public officer who holds nothing against any journalist who writes negatively or positively against me because all these things are part of the process of refining you to be an effective representative of your people; it’s as simple as that.

However, as I said earlier, this is not a day for a long speech because I know I have a very loaded day. I can recall that since I found myself in public office in 2007 as a Commissioner, there is no Christmas season since then (2007) till date that I don’t show love to my people. Even when I was sacked as a Commissioner in April 2014, I still did it. I can only say to God be the glory!

My story is well known to all of you. Anybody who does not understand my story means he or she is not from Akwa Ibom State. So I have nothing new to add to what you do know about me. However, I have stayed very faithful to the promise I made to my people as their senator that I was going to give them a very effective representation. The judgement is up to you, whether I’ve done well or not but if you want to ask me in my own little opinion, I think I have done well.

The National Assembly is not like the State House of Assembly, it’s a different ball game although it’s still a parliament. The truth is that national politics is not like local politics. As I always like to say, I always tailor my contributions towards national development and I know that in the last Senate, I was a major voice and in this 9th Senate, I’m also a major voice if not, there’s no way they will make me Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Up Stream if I am not valuable. So it’s about how God works out His things. Let me add that I see myself as a true reflection of the Akwa Ibom spirit. I see myself as an ambassador of this State. That’s the reason why, when I found myself in a position where we had to amend one law in this country that had remained un-amended for over 20 years and causing the country to lose over 60 billion dollars, I did not hesitate with my colleagues to act. What is more, I did reasoned that if on the basis of that amendment for example, two billion dollars comes into the coffers of Nigeria, I know for sure that about 300 million dollars or more will go to derivation and out of that, about 60 million dollars will come to Akwa Ibom.

So like Stephen Covey said “Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve success.” Accordingly, by the time we start seeing the effect of what we did in this 9th Senate under the able leadership of His Excellency, Senator Ahmed Lawan, is when people will appreciate the magnitude of our foresight and selflessness. Hopefully, by January/February, Akwa Ibom State will start seeing increasing growth on its derivation and the Governor will have more money to develop the State. These are some of the things we do but it remain in the background. When you see the State’s revenue increasing, you may not know that it’s as a result of the handwork of my humble self. The fact is, as we are working collaboratively with the Governor, we need not blow our trumpet. We just know that whatever we need to do on our own part, are being done since it is geared towards the wellbeing of Akwa Ibom State.

The truth is, it’s not easy to develop Akwa Ibom at such a time as we are when resources are very limited but the demands are excessively unlimited. In this regard, it is required that things have to be prioritized to ensure effective leadership and delivery of good governance to the people for better dividends of democracy.

I don’t need to overflog the issue of hate speech because I have stated that already even on my social media platform. I can recall that a Human right activist, Barr Inibehe Effiong at one time urged me to declare my stand on it. I don’t see it (Hate Speech bill) as anything. It must be noted that when things come into the public fora, people jump into it expressing fears. In the process of lawmaking, those things happen, a bill that comes in must run its full course whether it is popular or not.

We (legislators) must let it go through its full course. For some of us, we had stated our position clearly from the first day. We had even wanted to stay away from the session as a way of registering our protest but doing so could be disastrous. It is not good to run away from sitting because the day you don’t come something, like the bill in question might be passed. So I can say that the bill will not see the light of day. Already, the Senate President has stated clearly what the focus of this 9th Senate is. If we are people-centered, then the sentiments and emotions of our people must not be taken for granted. Of course, I’d not be a senator today without the people of Akwa Ibom North East (Uyo) Senatorial District. So, I must represent you, I must be your voice, I must say what you want me to say because I am your mouthpiece.

On NUJ, I want to thank the State Chairman, Amos Etuk, my brother, for fitting into the shoes of Patrick Albert. Sometimes in leadership, it’s always very disturbing that you begin to wonder if you have started well, whether you’re in the right footing. I must appreciate the seamless transition in NUJ between Patrick Albert and Amos Etuk; such makes for continuity. In a system, someone that has grown with you should rightly and seamlessly fit into your shoes. Don’t allow the turbulence surrounding your emergence as the state NUJ chairman to bother you. The most important thing is that you wanted to become NUJ chairman and God has made you NUJ chairman, so you move on. Someone like me, I don’t care who fights or who doesn’t fight, it is about the will of God for your life. God did not tell you that they will not fight you, if no one fights you it means you are not worthy to be anything in life because it is the tougher your battle, the greater and higher your miracles and of course your testimonies. So man must fight another man, some out of envy; some out of jealousy, some maybe out of closeness to somebody.

In all of this, leave everything to God because I’ve seen God work in miraculous ways. That’s why the Bible says that those that do know their God they shall be strong and they shall do exploits. Always let your confidence and your trust be in God. So I thank NUJ, and like I said when I made a speech in your annual dinner during the NUJ Press week, do what you think is right and build your character because it is your character that defines who you are. It is unfortunate that some members of NUJ thrive in blackmail and they feel that all those blackmail will sell their newspapers. This must be discouraged. The media must partner effectively to develop the society. I will encourage the leadership to promote media ethics for better legislature collaboration towards good governance.

Let me again thank you all for your support. I’ll continue to work with you. My phone numbers are very open. Despite the economic challenges, I will always like to share whatever I have, because if there’s anything I hate, it’s to see another man suffer or to see another man hungry. Hunger wanted to kill me at some point in my life but God saved me. So it takes a man that has gone through the wilderness to take another man through the wilderness. If you have not been hungry before, you will not understand when another man walks up to you and says he has not eaten for two days because you’ll think it’s a joke. That is why anytime I’m in Akwa Ibom my gates are thrown wide open. If not for anything, when you come, you must eat something and you’ll have transport money. I may not meet any other demand because I know that if you solve the problem of hunger; that man can be stable to think for himself and might be useful at some point in his life. So I want to encourage each and every one of us. If and when the time comes, I’ll come to you and talk to you, you know what I mean? I know that at some point in this life, we all need somebody that was why when the issues came that my leader (Senator Godswill Akpabio) defected, I refused to go anywhere. I said let me stand with the Governor (Mr. Udom) and by the grace of God, I stood by the Governor because I knew he meant well for the State and that was exactly, what my people of Uyo Senatorial District wanted me to do. Today we have seen the benefit of that support.

Finally, I thank you and I want to assure you that I will not disappoint you. In the spirit of this season, I came to celebrate Christmas with you. Also, once I leave here, I will host the people of Uyo Senatorial District.

I thank my brother, Amos Etuk for the way and manner he has led the NUJ. I have challenged him in secret and I’ll always challenge him in the open, he must leave NUJ far better than he met it. God bless you all in Jesus’ name.

– Being remarks by Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, Senator representing Akwa Ibom North Senatorial District during Xmas visit to Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Akwa Ibom State Council, on Monday, December 23, 2019

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