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Senator Bassey Albert’s Prolific Legislative Feats

By Uko Etim

Indeed, some people seek leadership positions for several reasons. While some do so for transient and selfish interests, others consider it as a platform to serve humanity and promote the well-being of their people.
Jack Lew, an American Attorney and Politician must have had Distinguished Senator Bassey Albert Akpan in mind when he opined that “there is no higher calling in terms of a career than public service which is a chance to make a difference in people’s lives and improve the world.”
After about two decades when hope was almost lost on PIB, it took one jink breaker, Distinguished Senator Bassey Albert Akpan (OBA) the game-changer to invigorate the process leading to its passage in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly.
Worthy of note, is that when the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources Upstream was inaugurated on Wednesday, October 9, 2019, Obong Bassey Akpan Albert (OBA) was appointed as the Chairman. Being a man of vision, he rolled out the agenda of the committee geared towards repositioning the country’s petroleum sector.
Like a leader that sees tomorrow from today, OBA, in his address at the meeting, first regretted that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has lingered over the years without passage into law, but, vehemently assured industry stakeholders that the 9th Senate will surely resolve the apparent bottleneck which engulfed the Petroleum Industry Bill.
To match words with action, OBA first engineered an engagement process with the Executive and later with Host Communities for their inputs on the final touches of the bill before it was laid in the National Assembly for passage into law.
What makes this particular Bill so exceptionally exceptional amongst many other Bills he has sponsored and co-sponsored,  according to the people Senator is that the PIB will attract global investment and bring unparalleled development especially in the Niger Delta Region and other host communities; this is because the passage and implementation of this Bill will enable host communities to receive and manage their money as well as benefits from “Host Communities Trust Fund” thus, fostering developments within the region.
The victory and good news for the people came at the time when the country is replete  with reports of insurgency, killing, kidnapping, and adoption of school children, etc.
According to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources Upstream, Senator Albert, the PIB has sent the right signal, notifying the world that Nigeria is ready for development, adding that the bill when fully implemented will address a greater percentage of the Niger Delta agitations. He further stated that the PIB, apart from ushering tremendous economic benefits  to the whole country,  will also promote unity and peaceful coexistence.
Bassey while appearing on the National Television (NTA) to extensively explain the numerous benefits and positives of this bill, acknowledged the contribution of all the National Lawmakers both in the Green and Red Chambers who worked collaboratively to seeing that the PIB is passed as expected.
It could be recalled that Distinguished Senator Bassey Albert’s representation has brought so many positives to humanity. Top of it was the reinstatement of a dismissed police officer, Celestine Obot Williams after 21 years of wrongful dismissal recently, amongst others.
With a heart that rejects injustice and focused on honour, equity and justice, Senator Bassey on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, presented a petition on behalf of Akwa Ibom State Caucus in the Senate alleging marginalization of Akwa Ibom State in terms of Federal appointments.
By this move, Mr. Celestine Obot Williams from Ini Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State whose appointment was unjustly terminated, was immediately promoted to the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP).
The promotion took effect from June 11, 2020, and he is to earn his salaries and entitlement for the period covering 21 years. Indeed, it takes a man of selflessness to neutralize this odd circumstance.
Rolling on the rails of competence, OBA with deep love for the development of our dear nation, Nigeria, sponsored  AMENDMENT OF THE DEEP OFFSHORE/ INLAND BASIN PSC ACT which according to the history of legislation in Nigeria remains the fastest bill ever to be passed into law.
To show how fast the bill was passed, it was read the first time in the Senate on Thursday, October 3, 2019. Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, who was the sponsor of the Bill, played a leading role in the process, and on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, the Bill was passed into law. Just exactly 12 days which is one week and five days. This is historic.
The Bill sought to review and recover additional revenue accruable to the government of the Federation from the Production Sharing Contracts under the Act of 2004. The Bill was subsequently referred to the Joint Senate Committees on Petroleum Upstream, Gas, Finance, Judiciary, and Human Rights chaired by Senator Bassey Albert Akpan for further legislative work
The amendment of the act was to maintain a good and healthy competitive environment for the oil and gas sector to thrive and to serve as a precursor to passing the Petroleum Industry Bill. Upon passage, it was eventually signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR.
He has also sponsored a Bill to Amend the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (Establishment) Act, CAP N166 LFN 2004. This bill seeks to amend the principal Act to provide for additional funding of the Sovereign Wealth Fund through a statutory allocation of funds from the monthly revenue accruing to the Federation Account. The Bill has passed the second reading.
To further add fitting caps to his head, OBA is currently working on other important bills that will help boost almost all sectors of the country’s economy. Amongst them are; “The National Youth Employment and Development Bill”; “The Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan Bill,”;  “Constitutional Amendment to make Sovereign Wealth Fund, as a first-line beneficiary of the Federation Account”;
Others include; “Federation Account Amendment Bill 2021”: “The Public Complaints Commission (PCC) Act of 2021” and “The Gas Flaring Prohibition and Punishment Bill 2020.”
Note that these bills are gaining serious and desirable attention at the red chambers as they are undergoing various legislative processes.
Ken Blanchard, an American author, who wrote “Leading At A Higher Level,”  submitted that  “Servant leadership is all about making the goals clear and then rolling your sleeves up and doing whatever it takes to help people win.”. Truly, OBA is a perfect explanation for this assertion.
Unequivocally, 6 years in the red chambers have been very rewarding, profitable, and impactful both at the Federal and State levels. Senator Albert has done surgical operations to what legislative work demands and inject more life into the dying economy.
The Holy Scripture says it all in the book of Proverb 29: 2. that “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoiced.” OBA understands what governance entails. He has never used a position of trust for self-aggrandizement.
Truly Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria at large need an all-around groovy achiever like OBA equipped with high-level wisdom to positively alter the old narrative of how things were being grossly done.
…Uko Etim is a journalist and public affairs analyst based in Uyo
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