“The value of my wealth is the magnitude of impact I create on people around me. That’s why I see every platform to serve as a call to duty” –Senator Bassey Albert
Obong Bassey Albert’s record of pragmatic leadership and people-oriented representation has gone beyond fine prose and neoclassical poetry! This can be said without equivocation in the comfort of overwhelming evidence and material impact.
When it was confirmed on an independent investigation that the Senator representing Uyo Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Obong Bassey Albert Akpan (OBA), so far, has no fewer than 481 students across all levels, with an expenditure volume of about N170million, on his singlehanded scholarship scheme in approximately six years, it made it easier to see why Akwa Ibom people do not want to hear any other name as the next governor of the State in 2023.
481 is one quarter or half the total student population in some Nigerian universities and polytechnics. Only a man determined to expend himself for the masses and impact and change lives could bear such a huge load without begging off.
This is in addition to other emancipatory and empowerment models for other demography of the populace sustained with an astonishing commitment that has given him a steady front-page banner in local and international media.
Heaven and the earth are so pleased with his selflessness. The cynosure of the scholarship initiative is the fact that it has, by today, produced about 26 first-class graduates and other high flyers across Nigerian universities who are potential catalysts on the conveyor belt of chain-effect on the society. This is exactly the utilitarian philosophy and leadership revolution Senator OBA tenaciously advocates and champions.
So it was neither sophistry nor grandstand exaggeration when the distinguished senator said the words that formed the superscription to this article, during a recent interview. His benevolence already has made him an avuncular father of a thousand foster children.
If as a senator, lacking the ultimate power to source or appropriate resources, but depending solely on what trickles down, could create this impact on individuals and society, we can only look forward to more when he becomes, as he will, the governor of the State, with statutory powers of discretion to decide what happens where, when, and what goes to whom, for the desired aims.
Therefore, to Akwa Ibom people in general, the question is not about what OBA has done with the opportunity(s) he has been given, but what more can be expected when he is given more opportunities on a broader platform where he will be the captain in the cockpit, piloting the destinies of over seven million Akwa Ibomites to the real Promised Land.
One can now better understand why Akwa Ibom people were so excited when the former two-term Commissioner for Finance in the State, with phenomenal fiduciary competence that remains a recurrent feature in the socio-economic growth and development of the State, officially declared his ambition to run for the office of the governor in 2023. It was a populist request granted at last.
If OBA had not daringly taken that step in defiance to all manner of persecution by the system, the people, have been hoping and waiting for him for years, he certainly would have had too many questions to answer from the voting masses, like what happened in 2015 when he nobly and patriotically conceded that aspiration to Governor Udom Emmanuel.
He did that in obedience to his iconic and pacific nature, for peace to reign, waiting for the bargained time and gratuitous consensus that Itu/Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency shall have a shot at the Hilltop Mansion in 2023. Every other federal constituency in the Senatorial District had taken its due turn by the extant principle of zoning for the governorship slot, which has made for inclusion and rapid senatorial development over the years.
Those today in the habit of pretentiously denying OBA’s memorable concession, which of course was no capitulation but a hallmark of circumspection of a selfless politician and emerging statesman, must be seen as unfaithful students of the political sociology of Akwa Ibom State. They nonetheless must be forgiven for the self-inflicted amnesia.
So, when Sen. OBA finally declared to run for governorship in 2023, it was a reactivated ambition earlier paused for the fullness of time. This cannot be said of others in this contest: Some merely came as opportunists, jokers, and strange fellows tied to the apron strings of godfatherism from which shackles Akwa Ibom is seeking deliverance from by Senator Bassey Albert.
Having obediently subjected himself to the fundamental tutelage of stewardship and the economics of pragmatic representation for the public good, Sen. OBA has fully studied the ropes and prepared himself for this historic moment on his political calendar.
There is nothing you would look for in a visionary leader of the 21st century to lead the new Akwa Ibom of our common dreams that OBA does not have in abundance, and has practically demonstrated with enviable distinction with opportunities that have come his way.
So he boldly threw his hat into the ring, motivated by his untainted service credentials and personal conviction in his capacity to deliver for a people he loved without pretensions.
Perhaps this is why his antecedent record and sparks and sparkles in the unfolding momentum have unsettled opponents and insatiable political contractors and profiteers whose sole aim, we know, is to build a dynasty of plutocrats and oligarchs to whom the proletariat must remain perpetual victims of their inadequacies.
How well then shall we reward a steward like our quintessential senator who has been distinctively productive, selflessly generous, and ungrudgingly faithful in what is least than in giving him bigger space and greater responsibility as incentives for more service? That’s why the strongest weapon we have on hand against the jokers and their Trojan Horses is our PVCs. We all must secure that, to drive home our point on the D-day.
Because this OBA governorship has been long-awaited; because he is so widely accepted; because the movement has been so well planned with contagious optimism; and propelled with the strength of a racing horse with 500 heart chambers, the dream is not what any true Akwa Ibom person should sit on the fence and listen to detractors on rickety bandwagons. It is the beginning of reality for the prototype Great Akwa Ibom Project.
Obong Bassey Albert never said he is the best. But the people have said he is the most trusted and dependable based on his service philosophy and antecedents. That’s why they unanimously and longingly want him.
And he has offered himself to serve that purpose. A curious fellow the other day asked me if I see OBA as Hobson’s choice. I told him, “Not really. He is a necessity”.
So whatever your altitude, if you believe in the dream, you must join the exodus to that future we all can visualize in our mind’s eye. The discourse here is not ‘if” OBA will become but ‘WHEN” he becomes the Governor on his throne on May 29, 2023.
His victory at the pools is not contingent on probabilities. It is fait accompli.
Destiny Akaiso wrote in from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State