OpinionPolitics

Senator Albert: Uniquely Different

By Anny MICHAELS

 

 

Way back in 1917, Melvin Jones, a 38year old Chicago business leader according to reports told members of his local business club that they should look beyond business issues and address issues that directly benefit their communities. That they did and it paid off in their relevance to the people.

Like Jones, Senator Bassey Albert conscientiously feels that involvement in politics is a commitment to rendering greater service to more people across social strata. In fact for him, he believes that the downtrodden deserves the greatest reach out for their lifting. Perhaps that informed his recent hosting of the physically challenged were he showered love to them and felt their pulse. Interestingly, at that forum he formally announced a scholarship for the Co-ordinator who is currently studying law at the University of Uyo. I watched with emotions seeing the Distinguished Senator sit on the floor to be able to interact better with some of them who were crawling and on wheel Chairs and could only conclude that he is uniquely different.

I have been privileged to be in his entourage to events and other public engagements only to see him give exceptional attention to physically challenged and most times ensuring that their needs are completely met. At the recently organised aptitude test for those to enjoy his all school expense Scholarship programme in the second phase which has brought the total number of those enjoying it till graduation to 381, he had directed that all those physically challenged who applied for the scholarship and came for the exam Should be given automatic scholarship. Again this is rare of those in political office on how they treat the physically challenged. It must be understood that these members of our society are part of the society and in most cases it is not their fault that they find themselves in such situations and if they had their way they would have desired for normal health condition.

Distinguished Senator OBA gave out very quality cars and other empowerment items to his constituents across the nine LGAs that make up Akwa Ibom North East (Uyo) Senatorial District and that empowerment event has remained in the lips of many constituents and beyond almost two years after the presentation as a true sense of a serving representative/politician giving back to his people.

From a careful assessment, Senator OBA has been enjoying overwhelming support by his people and beyond primarily because of his tested and trusted deeds right from being in the banks to coming to public service.

He has been serving his people in Nigeria’s red chamber since 2015 till date and can be conveniently referred to as a Ranking Senator and laudably his representation is effective, highly commendable and the fulcrum rest solidly on sincere representation.

He stands out as one politician any sane human will admire for his pragmatic services to the people. That is why he recently said in an interaction with some like minds who came to say we appreciate your style of politics and representation “My being at the senate is for our collective good, it’s about the future of our people and giving them cause to smile confidently in the fact that they have someone who thinks and cares about them’’.

It is therefore not surprising to see the quality of legislative engagements the Distinguished Senator has put up at the upper legislative chamber so far right from his first term till date as if he is a long standing legislator, interestingly he is in his fifth year in the senate. He has sustained his impact on the lives of the people he comes across whether from his Senatorial District or beyond without minding their social status especially his constituents who gave him the mandate. He comes along as a true professional in politics considering his track record of being a colourful banker having worked with several banks including UBA, FCMB, several others and rose to become Vice President at FCMB in charge of South South operations. That he was Commissioner of Finance and Chair, inter-ministerial direct labour projects gave him an opportunity to bring his experiences in the banking sector to bear in serving the State conscientiously.

Today, Distinguished Senator Bassey Albert Chairs the esteemed Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources Upstream, is a member of several other juicy committees and is the Leader of Akwa Ibom Caucus in the National Assembly .

The Distinguished Senator has made the needed friendship with his colleagues to become an essential part of the senate committed to ensuring that issues bothering on the welfare of Nigerians are upper most in his agenda.

His industrial revolution bill readily comes to mind during his first term which essentially is to accelerate the build up of industrial capacity within Nigeria, increase manufacturing contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and drive the process of intense industrialization based on sectors where Nigeria has comparative and competitive advantages. Other benefits include to facilitate job and wealth creation, provide for economic and revenue diversification, ensure import substitution and export diversification as well as broaden government’s tax base. The other bills rolled out by Distinguished Senator OBA in my estimation are trail blazing especially the Gas flaring (punishment and punishment) bill among others.

Aside his very articulate legislative engagements, the Distinguished Senator has not forgotten that he needs to balance that up with humanitarian services to the people of Akwa Ibom North East(Uyo) Senatorial District and beyond, that is why his current N20m (conservative cost) annually university scholarship to indigent students from Akwa Ibom State is a big plus to his ever signature empowerment initiatives.

Of a fact this scholarship scheme is purely based on merit and is receiving widespread accolades across the Senatorial District and beyond. He has also built and tastefully so, furnished with split air-conditioners a constituency hall to serve as event centre for his constituents to enjoy their social interactions at no cost, be it marriage, child dedication, development related, business and entrepreneurship engagements just name it.

Ordinarily these constituents would have spent N300,000, N150,000 or N100,000 to have their events in halls around Uyo metropolis but this cost has been taken away by the people oriented Senator as part of his commitment to service for his people.

Obviously this has not been the story in time past. It shows a Senator who truly cares about his people. It might interest other constituents and beyond to know that the Senator has at least three personal Aides from each of the nine local government areas enjoying good take home packages and supporting their families. He has also seen the need to put in place his liaison office management team made up of astute politicians from the three federal constituencies that are in Akwa Ibom North East (Uyo) Senatorial District with Mr. Daniel Udoh alias Norh South as Chairman. That team successfully ensured the Senator’s U-20 football tournament and discovered hidden football talents who were adequately empowered financially at the end of it among other empowerment strides of the Distinguished Senator so far.

Beyond the scholarship scheme they are other constituents enjoying scholarship from the Distinguished Senator that are not reported in the media, recall the N40,000 each to 50 indigent constituents studying in various higher institutions during his accolades laden empowerment programme as education grants and N50,000 each to 50 widows from each of the nine local government areas that make up the Senatorial District not to talk of people he has assisted to set up businesses to be able to keep their bills paid.

Phenomenal Senator OBA has encouraged and facilitated opportunities for employment for countless youths from the Senatorial District into federal agencies and other good private concerns including post graduate studies abroad.

The Senator has had cause to donate 15 brand new desktop computers to the University of Uyo to enhance qualitative learning not to mention the drugs he donated to one health centre in each of the nine local government areas that make up the Senatorial District. Each local government area could boast of life touching projects courtesy Distinguished Senator Bassey Albert (OBA). His articulation in the red chamber especially as we all watch him at plenary on our TVs is quite encouraging and laudable.

Still on some of the strides of the vibrant Senator, Nigerian Senate Tuesday, October 15, 2019 adopted the Report of its Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Downstream and Gas presented by Distinguished Senator Bassey Albert (OBA), Chair, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream).

The Senate thereafter resolved into the Committee of the Whole to consider the Deep Offshore & Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts (Amendment) Act 2019 clause by clause and the Bill was passed into law after third reading.

Some Highlights of the new Act include: Nigeria to earn more revenues amounting to several billion of dollars resulting from the amendment, penality for violation of the provisions of the Act increased from N50m or option of 1 year to N500m or option of 5 years, provisions of the Act on royalty payable to government to be reviewed every 8 years.

Senator OBA also on Tuesday 19th Nov, 2019 intervened in a matter of alleged wrongful disengagement of one of his constituents, Mr. Peter Archibong by the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) by presenting his petition against NEPZA on the floor of the Nigerian Senate. This is not the first time the Distinguished Senator has intervened for Akwa Ibom people as one could recall of a police officer who was wrongfully sacked 21 years and Senator OBA came to his rescue by tabling his issue in the 8th Senate and got him back to work. It was more of a miracle vintage Senator OBA.

According to the petitioner in the case of NEPZA, his dismissal was mala fide and without due process and Senator ‘OBA prayed that the petition brings forth his reinstatement within the shortest possible time which again is Highly Commendable.

This is impact if you ask me, and at the pace the Distinguished Senator is going, the people are happier that he has represented them well and this is sequel to relating their pulses here and earnestly he will always cross their minds if people oriented representation and quality services to the people are what the people want even in the future in the capacity they will expect of him.

Give it to him he is a very good Man and has successfully created the expected impact, clearly over the years he has been on the side of the people, he fits into the political calculus and take it from me he is uniquely different.

Anny MICHAELS is SA Media/Publicity to Distinguished Senator Bassey Albert (OBA) and sent in this piece from Uyo.

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