The recent honour bestowed on the distinguished senator representing Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District, Obong Bassey Albert Akpan (OBA), by the prestigious Face of Democracy Nigeria Projects (FDN), organisers of the 2020 Democracy Heroes Award, seventh edition, is seen by many public spirited Nigerians, Akwa Ibom in particular, as an honour well deserved.
Senator Bassey Albert’s performances at the National Assembly in the last five years, have gone ‘beyond the expected’ landmark in carrying his three-pronged legislative responsibilities which are: sound legislative engagement (lawmaking), oversight function and regular constituency feedback —responsibilities that many, including the senator’s hardest critics, have rated OBA very high.
His sojourn into Akwa Ibom political space over a decade ago has been characterised by innovations and milestones that have impacted directly on the lives of people around him and beyond.
Senator Albert has demonstrated sound leadership acumen and competence at every level of responsibilities, leaving unbreakable legacies and record of a five-star politician, who believes strongly in the socio-economic development and advancement of his people, Akwa Ibom and Nigeria in general.
As a detribalized politician, the “Most Outstanding Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has created many opportunities for people across party and ethnic divides without sentiment and biases.
As a loyal and committed party man, Senator Albert has proven his mettle as a tested and trusted public officer including when all hell was let loose and opportunity provided by the opposition APC during the 2019 election. Rather than seize the occasion for personal gratification, he stood firm on the side of the people and the PDP, in the face of intimidation, threat and federal might without betraying the trust and confidence of those who offered him their mandate and the platform when it mattered most.
Beyond Akwa Ibom, Senator Albert’s pan- Nigerian tendencies found its way out like the proverbial golden fish without a hiding place and was called upon to chair some very sensitive Senate committees that many believed have a direct connection and bearing on the economic live wire of the country.
During his first term as member of the 8th senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator OBA as he is fondly called by supporters and admirers, has successfully written his name in gold by sponsoring four key bills among other achievements, namely the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, National Youth Empowerment and Development Bill, the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan Bill and the much talked about Gas Flaring Petroleum and Punishment Bill, which according to impeccable sources, is Nigeria’s first legislative attempt to seek total end to gas flaring in the country since independence.
The senator, who is also the chairman, Akwa Ibom State Caucus in the 9th National Assembly, equally posted an impressive scorecard in his second term mandate, having made unassailable and substantial impression on Senator Ahmad Lawan’s 9th Senate leadership who found him capable to chair the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) due to his in-depth knowledge of the oil and gas sector and the many reforms he has valiantly brought to bear in the sector.
Today, Senator Albert has not only performed excellently beyond the expectations of the Senate leadership whose unalloyed confidence was reposed in him, but has also midwifed unfolding agenda for a robust petroleum reforms that would reposition the country’s petroleum sector.
Outside his sterling legislative attainments, the regular human empowerment scheme and constituency projects instituted by the senator in the last five years have continued to bring respite and succour to well over 2,000 constituents of Uyo Senatorial District.
The over 381 students’ ongoing scholarship programme of Senator Bassey Albert Akpan has presented a better opportunity to commend the pan -Akwa Ibom spirit embedded in the character traits of the distinguished senator, who, though represents Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District, gives no consideration to tribal, ethnic or party affiliations in the selection of beneficiaries which cuts across the 31 local government areas of the state.
What is more assuring and convincing about the man’s quality leadership content are his untiring zeal, passion and undiluted zest for human centric representation with a complimentary democracy dividends for the good of his constituent members.
As one of the tested and trusted home-grown politicians who enjoys an unflinching support and admiration of Akwa Ibom citizens and residents alike, even the doubting Thomases would agree that indeed Akwa Ibom electorate have discovered in Senator Bassey Albert a willing servant leader who would, as the biblical Joshua, usher them from the land of promise to the destination of choice as the present political dispensation is gradually winding up.
(C) Nelson Enyieting is an Uyo-based journalist and public affairs analyst.