SIX YEARS OF STEWARDSHIP: Celebrating God’s Marvellous Works
Today, June 11, 2021, berths my sixth year of eventful service in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having been first elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2019 to represent Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District.
This anniversary comes with solemnity; a time of deep reflection of my service to my beloved Constituents, nay the State, Nation and humanity as a whole. In all, I count it a great joy and privilege that God’s Mighty Hands have been upon me to effectively deliver on the mandate and even to the greater expectations of my people.
In this regard, I wish to re-echo the Holy Scriptures in Philippians 4:13 which aptly states, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” Truly, my stewardship has been emblazoned by the immutable grace of the Almighty God and I give Him all the due glory.
As I reflect on the successes attained and the challenges duly surmounted, I wish to acknowledge the immeasurable love and backing of my beloved wife, Pastor Imaobong Nkeiru Albert and my Family for their understanding and support; the Senate President, His Excellency, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, the Senate Leadership as well as my Distinguished Colleagues for their comradeship, trust and cooperation. Such affable atmosphere has sustained the momentum of services since our ascension into the upper chambers of the National Assembly. I also cherish my Constituents in Akwa Ibom North East and well-wishers across borders for their overwhelming support, prayers and goodwill.
Manifestly, the journey so far is enlivened with six years of monumental achievements and exploits covering legislative duties and the well-being of my Constituents and others in Akwa Ibom State and beyond. The bourgeoning scorecard attained so far, anchors on the fact that the mission, having been well situated on service delivery from the outset, has been meticulously kept alive through commitment and sacrifice despite the economic meltdown and the global COVID-19 pandemic.
However, I am happy to report with all humility and thankfulness to the Almighty God, that through due diligence, I have sustained the hopes of my constituents, likewise of my State – Akwa Ibom and Nigeria as a whole. My performance reflects in the bills/motions presentations, contributions, various committees’ assignments and all the proceedings of the 8th/9th Senate nay the National Assembly as a whole.
As a ranking member and as Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), an appointment which was made possible through the confidence of the Senate leadership headed by His Excellency, Dr. Ahmed Lawman, as President, I have kept on, assiduously, in carrying out my tasks.
AMENDMENT OF THE DEEP OFFSHORE AND INLAND BASIN PRODUCTION SHARING CONTRACTS ACT
It is worthy of note to recall my contribution and sponsorship of a Bill for the amendment of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act, CAP D3 LFN 2004 to enhance the country’s oil and gas sector, leading to its passage by the Senate and the concurrence backing by the House of Representatives and eventful signing into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, in my first five months of Second Term. A Law that has not been amended in almost 40 years was done in less than a month owing to its national significance. By the reason of this intervention, our country has regained its lost ground from a whopping estimated loss of over $40 billion (Forty billion dollars) in oil revenue.
RESOLUTION OF NNPC/CHEVRON ESCRAVOS GAS TO LIQUID DEAL
It is very significant to list the resolution of the cost contention dispute between NNPC and Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) which had lingered for over a decade and seemingly defied solutions by previous sessions of the National Assembly as one of my signature achievements. Through the intervention of the Senate Committee on Gas then chaired by me in the 8th Senate, and later Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) in the 9th Senate that also I chair, gave me the privilege, through the cooperation of the Senate, to ensure the historic resolution of the disputed NNPC/Chevron Escravos Gas to Liquid. That breakthrough in negotiation led to the historic signing of the NNPC/Chevron EGTL Revised Agreement, which provided an instant leap for Nigeria in her energy sector and led to the reversal of the Joint Venture sharing ratio of 25:75 % to 60:40 % in favour of Nigeria and Chevron Limited respectively with a cost savings of over $6 billion (Six billion Dollars).
These achievements led to the Presidential approval for both the Ministry of Petroleum Resources /the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to honour me in recognition of my noble contribution To Oil and Gas sector. Of course I had earlier dedicated this award to the great people of Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District, who did not only give me their mandate in 2015 but re-echoed their trust and confidence in me in 2019.
Currently, I and my other colleagues in leadership of the Petroleum Resources, as well as Oil and Gas Committees in collaboration with same Committees in the House of Representatives are championing the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) 2021, which will revolutionise the country’s Oil and Gas sector and place it as a globally competitive industry and as a preferred destination of choice for investors. I am also working on other outstanding Bills which are receiving attention of the Senate. These include: “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”; “Federation Account Amendment Bill 2021”: “The Public Complaints Commission (PCC) Act of 2021” and “The Gas Flaring Prohibition and Punishment Bill 2020.” All these bills are currently undergoing various legislative processes.
LIAISON OFFICE/HUMAN EMPOWERMENT
In furtherance of my passion towards charity and empowerment of constituents, I had, two months into the Senate, built a model Constituency Liaison Office at Ewet Housing Estate, Uyo, the State capital, with full complement of staff to attend to Constituents and provide feedbacks on impact and services. The centre has a-500 capacity Hall, which is used by our Constituents free of all costs for their various events. Within the last 72 months, my office through the Centre has impacted the lives of constituents in the Senatorial District to the tune of over N360million in allowances and general services.
I recall with gratitude to the Almighty God, our open Constituency Briefing & Empowerment Programme held on Friday, April 20, 2018 at Uyo Township Stadium, Akwa Ibom State. With the spectacle of its success, the event was dubbed “Mother of all empowerments not only in Akwa Ibom State but beyond.” We have continued on that very streak till date. Our constituency empowerment and human development programme have given succour to over 5,000 indigenes. This covers allocations of over 110 Cars including Jeeps. We have also given out hundreds of Motorcycles, Tricycles, Sowing Machines, Hair Dressing equipment and various Trade/business empowerments to enhance the living standard of our people. We have also carried out skills acquisition trainings, inclusive of free starter packs to beneficiaries.
It is worthy to note that our projects in the nine (9) local government areas in the Senatorial District cover facilitation of roads construction/ Flood and Erosion Control, Market Stalls/Toilet facilities, Solar-powered Water Schemes, Fish processing Plants/Equipment, Skills Acquisition Centres, Swimming Pool, amongst others. Clearly, the 94 Wards in the nine (9) local government areas of the constituency form the focus in all of these primary empowerment programmes while our secondary phases cover institutions, bodies and indigent persons across the entire State.
MULTIPURPOSE EVENTS CENTRE
Our Multi-purpose Events Centre at Ifa Ikot Akpan, Uyo, located within the state’s capital city which is few kilometres to the Victor Attah International Airport will be commissioned by October 2021. The multi-million naira project centre sits on a1.5 -hectare of land and has a 2,000-capacity Events Hall, Recreational Centre, a standard football pitch, lawn tennis and basketball Courts and Skills Acquisition Centre as well as children playground. It will primarily serve our Constituents and others as well and is free of all cost. This, I believe, is our noble contribution towards enhancing the healthy standards of our people. I do this with all excitement because in giving back to a people that have shown me so much love and support; I will always give without looking back.
Furthermore, our scholarship scheme for indigent students in the Senatorial District and across Akwa Ibom State as a whole covers 381beneficials studying in various higher institutions across the country. The scholarship covers 100 % of tuition fees plus N20, 000 upkeep stipends to each beneficiary annually.
Upon the advent of COVID-19 pandemic, my office showed love and care across homes, institutions and bodies in the state. Apart from reaching out with cash transfers to constituents and others in the state, we also supplied palliatives and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to health workers, government and private offices, unions, socio-cultural bodies, market women, transporters, and medical institutions amongst others. The exercise gulped over N100million. We also expended substantially to touch lives across the State during Easter and Xmas Seasons/Celebrations throughout these years.
I wish to reassure you – my Constituents, that the same enthusiasm exhibited so far will be sustained to the very end of this Phase of Service. I share in the wise words of Sunday Adelaja that “Stewardship is the hallmark of life on earth.” As a leader, I am invariably your steward and I will continue to do so, standing with you always as we seek to advance our wellbeing for a more prosperous polity. We cast our hope as ever on the supremacy of God, knowing that He alone holds the key on all matters.
Let me at this juncture reiterate my appreciation and loyalty to my party – the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Leader of the party in Akwa Ibom State, my brother, His Excellency, Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel and wife, Dr. (Mrs.) Martha Udom Emmanuel. Let me also further congratulate His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel on his six years of fruitful service to our dear State. As ever, I assure the Governor of the cooperation of Akwa Ibom State Caucus in the National Assembly under my leadership. We must continue to implore the spirit of togetherness and mutual trust to advance our party’s interest to higher heights in order to ensure a just, equitable and fair society.
Once again, I remain very grateful to my constituents and stakeholders and assure you of my commitment, loyalty, and effective service delivery as we enter the last phase of my journey in the National Assembly. I wish to end with the Holy Scriptures as recorded in Isaiah 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
God bless Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District
God Bless Akwa Ibom State
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
I remain yours in continued service
Most Distinguished Senator Bassey Albert Akpan (OBA)
Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream)
Leader, Akwa Ibom State National Assembly Caucus, Abuja