Weighing on Senator Bassey Albert University Scholarship for Akwa Ibom Indigent Undergraduates
By: Anny MICHAELS
….It is no news that the Distinguished Senator representing Akwa Ibom North East (Uyo) Senatorial District and Chair,Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Obong Bassey Albert (OBA) is a large hearted politician, one given to lifting people up even beyond politics.
Obviously, they are testimonies of his expression of love to different people across the State and beyond even before having the privilege of his people to serve them in the red chamber for two terms without a blink in what stakeholders have variously said Senator OBA is a man for the job.
When he declared on assumption of office as the people’s Senator that hw will be spend a little above N15m yearly on 130 beneficiaries for his all school expense scholarship scheme to undergraduates studying in various universities across Nigeria from the Senatorial District then it added more flesh to his good hearted gestures that has become his very signature and has defined him as a selfless leader and man of enormous goodwill.
The Senator said at the time ‘‘We are going to spend a minimum of fifteen million naira yearly on the scholarship scheme. We will pay their school fees in whatever institution of learning around the country, then every semester each beneficiary will take home N20,000 as school upkeep allowances ”. He stressed further “This scholarship scheme is about Akwa Ibom North East (Uyo) Senatorial District of which I represent in the senate, the examination that brought about the beneficiaries was transparent, it was open to all, they applied online without the knowledge of the senatorial District Liaison office committee members and after their examination their scripts were swapped and marked by seasoned Lecturers from universities at conference accordingly. I have a foundation that is managing their academic progress, they must maintain their CGPA which must not be less than 3.5, so with that mindset they will continue to work hard at school”.
This scholarship initiative according to pundits including Prof Alonge of the Department of Agricultural Engineering of the University of Uyo by the Distinguished Senator is quite laudable especially at this period of low economic experience in the country where political office holders are looking for every excuse possible to neglect their connect and impact on their people. According to the university Don ”As a strong believer in education, transforming and empowering lives, this gesture by Senator Albert has assisted many of his constituents to assess university education to guarantee a greater and brighter future”.
What is even more interesting is the fact that with the commencement of the Distinguished Senator’s second term he has added to the number of his scholarship beneficiaries bringing the number to 381 now drawn from different parts of the State with the recent applications received, examination taken and winners selected through a very open process recently.
This gesture by the people’s Senator has endeared him more to the youths in particular and elders from the Senatorial District and indeed the entire State who see him as a beacon of hope for the future.
Several Akwa Ibom people have reacted to the Senator’s gesture, one of them is Chief Marcus Okuku , a community leader, grassroots politician and pioneer Chairman of Ibiono Ibom local government area “It is a good omen because he is encouraging our young people to go to school without stress, based on the current low economic downturn in Nigeria, they are a lot of elected public office holders who are unable to do what he is doing even in small measure but I pray God to reward the people’s Senator. Let me use this opportunity to thank the Distinguished Senator for adding value to the lives of young people through the scholarship programme, we can only ask for more of God’s favours upon his life and family, Amen’’.
The Senator undoubtedly is building a solid future for his people in the Senatorial District and beyond with a strong educational background. He stands out as a leader who is passionate about the future of the people of the State. For those who are not fortunate to benefit from the scholarship, the Senator’s football tourney opened another window for more youths to earn good money as they discover themselves. In December 2015 more than N20m was spent by the Distinguished Senator for the event which has boosted football in this axis.
To buttress the Senator’s passion for the youths, he sponsored two bills geared towards job creation and reducing the level of unemployment in the country of which the youths are the most affected during his first term in the Senate.
This is again greatly appreciated by Nigerian youths from a leader who thinks of them. It is left for the beneficiaries of this scholarship scheme to put in their best to study to give their future a brighter meaning. This is a proof of leadership which the Distinguished Senator has provided in Akwa Ibom North East (Uyo) Senatorial District of which many socio political groups have already shown via the media. One of them is OBA is the BEST Initiative who has been at the Vanguard of celebrating the lofty achievements of the people’s Senator. According to the International President, Augustine Ekanem, they particularly appreciate the Senator for his hardwork, sincerity, determination and commitment in the course of his effective representation. He called on the Senator to please continue in the good work even with greater zeal. They particularly thanked the Senator for his scholarship scheme which has helped a lot of youths to realize their dreams.
One of the significance of Senator Albert’s scholarship is that the beneficiaries are sure to have their education completely paid for throughout their stay in the university no matter the years or course of study as there are those studying medicine, Engineering, pharmacy etc unlike other scholarships you hear about were beneficiaries get quarter or half of the fees and have to source for the balance sometimes unable to and will have to forgo their educational pursuit. Beyond paying completely the fees directly to the university’s account, the Senator providing every semester school upkeep allowances to all of them no matter the part of Akwa Ibom they come from to boost their welfare is a big plus.
To showcase his ever compassionate disposition, Distinguished Senator OBA granted that all disabled persons from different parts of the State who sat for the second phase of his scholarship qualifying examination Should be given automatic scholarship as a deliberate way of assisting to give them a future.
This is unprecedented in scholarship arrangements by politicians from this clime.
To their worthy benefactor, one of the beneficiaries- Henry Okon of the Department of Pharmacy, University of Uyo (UNIUYO) said ”Senator Albert is a rare leader for having such a large heart to think of the youths particularly with regard to their education, it speaks volumes of his person and love for the people and we can only ask for God’s grace upon his life and family”. Okon noted that but for Senator Albert’s intervention he is not sure if he would have had the opportunity of acquiring university education.
This may just be a clarion call for other political office holders to look inwards no matter how small and see ways to affect the lives of people around them, this way the people will feel more of the dividends of democracy.
Away from scholarships, Senator OBA has trained several youths in partnership with SMEDAN in various skills during his first term and gave them start up capital after the training. OBA as he is fondly called by all lovers of his unique performance in office has also assisted several Akwa Ibom sons and daughters get employment in public and private sectors of Nigeria and has assisted in funding many post graduate students from Akwa Ibom in universities in Nigeria and Abroad because of his strong believe in human capacity.
The People’s Senator is promising to do even more in the days ahead. For Senator Bassey Albert (OBA) his being at the senate is about the people of Akwa Ibom, he naturally has this knack for humanitarian services and whatever is possible to add value to lives he will not hesitate to as he is more in politics for service. For the people of Akwa Ibom North East (Uyo) Senatorial District, they have seen nothing yet, they are in for a better deal with quality, inspiring, pragmatic, ebullient, brilliant, humane, articulate, selfless, cerebral and pro people representative. His superlative performance during plenary of Nigeria’s Senate as we all watch on TV is a testament of his cerebral status in legislative business.
Senator OBA is a trained Economist, Business Administrator, financial Advisor and a member of Chartered Institute of Taxation and holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Uyo, an MBA from the University of Nsukka and is also a graduate of Harvard Business School.
He started out as a colourful banker, worked in several banks including UBA and First City Monument Bank (FCMB) were he became Vice President (South South) operations, a former Commissioner for Finance in Akwa Ibom, former Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas Resources before his current bit as Chair, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream). One Akwa Ibom people are very proud of having truly shown capacity in championing their course in Nigeria’s Senate.
Let me also add, God will continue to bless our Loving and performing Distinguished Senator, Chair, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) and Leader ,Akwa Ibom Caucus in the National Assembly Amen.
We are proud of you Distinguished.