SENATOR OBA ON HIS FIFTH YEAR IN THE SENATE: On The Flight Of God’s Faithfulness
On this day, one year ago, I took the oath of office into the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to represent Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District for a second term. That epochal feat on June 11, 2019 resonated God’s continuous faithfulness of a flight to the red chambers, God started with me in 2015 on the platform of our great party – the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) - and the tacit support and cooperation of the leader of the party in the State, His Excellency, Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel as well as our teeming, overwhelming and ever supportive constituents. Today therefore comes to re-echo the magnanimity of God and the supremacy of His will. We owe Him thanks forever and will continue to appreciate you my beloved constituents for ensuring my resounding victory at the polls on February 23, 2019 even against the will of some men. As we mark this anniversary, we cannot forget what we faced on our electioneering journey to the very day of the polls, and the post victory litigations, which we all surmounted and sailed through successfully only by the special grace and mercy of God. In all of that, our faith never faltered because we rested our hope firmly upon God’s assurances that “even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, He is always there for us.” – Psalm 23:4. Accordingly, we overcame all obstacles and triumphed. Without equivocation, the last one year of legislative services have witnessed achievements and exploits. As a mission that was well primed on service delivery, I have continuously stayed on the path of justifying the trust of you my constituents, and of course my State and the Nation – Nigeria. From the bills/motions presentations, committee assignments and all the proceedings of the 9th Senate nay the National Assembly as a whole, I am happy to report with all humility, modesty and thankfulness to the Almighty God, that my diligence is well felt and appreciated as a worthy representative of our people based on the judgement in the court of public opinion and to the best of my knowledge. Let me acknowledge that our successes in the 9th Senate anchors on the sound leadership of His Excellency, Senator Ahmed Lawan as President. As a ranking member and as Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), an appointment which was made possible by the confidence of this Senate leadership, I have spared no effort in executing my task dutifully. The first test in this regard was the responsibility of championing the amendment of the Deep Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act, which by the special grace of God was executed perfectly and a job well done after over 30 years unattended as well as over $20 billion loss in oil revenue to the federation. Today, our nation is benefitting immensely from our little effort. I still remain ever grateful to my colleagues and leadership for their trust and confidence and promise never to betray same, God helping me. It is pertinent to point out that in the Senate, our workings and contributions at all levels centres on Nigeria’s collective interest devoid of partisanship or the occasional boisterous demands of party politics. The leadership and members have elected to serve our respective constituencies and our nation responsibly and with good conscience. This has boosted our collective developmental milestones so far. My dear constituents, I cannot fail to highlight a major vindication of my assiduous service in the Senate which echoed nationally and internationally on Thursday, January 9, 2020. On that day, our dear nation, Nigeria honoured me with an Award of Excellence through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the heroic role I played in ensuring the resolution of a decade old dispute between NNPC and Chevron Nigeria Limited over the Escravos Gas to Liquid (EGTL) Project. 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 our dear country and Chevron Nigeria Limited respectively with a cost savings of over $6 Billion. This I say, to God be the Glory. As we know the process was a long and tedious one. It dragged through the 6th and 7th Senate without success until the 8th Senate, where I had the opportunity as the then Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas Resources to work on it and ensured the eventual successes. While the award was conferred on me, it however stands as a tribute to the men, women and youths of my constituency who bought into my vision, believed in me and gave me their mandate and have remained consistent and steadfast in their support to date. To you all, I remain eternally grateful. Within the year in view, I have continued to consolidate on my constituency programmes as well as sustaining those ones which predated my sojourn to the Senate. All these programmes are coordinated by my constituency Liaison Office at Ewet Housing Estate, Uyo. Evidently, the 94 Wards in the nine (9) local government areas of my 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. These empowerment details, covering scholarship awards to 381 students of Akwa Ibom State origin in universities across the country, where 100% of tuition fees are paid plus N20,000.00 upkeep stipends to each beneficiary annually. I am happy and excited to announce that over 120 students beneficiary have so far graduated from this scheme, some with the best grades and are currently adding value to themselves and society. This programme has cost us over N45 million from 2015 to date. The beneficiaries can attest to the effect and impact of this initiative. We will ensure that we see through the graduation of all beneficiaries no matter the costs, God helping us, as this is our little efforts and contribution towards man power development. Also, our focus in SMEs, Infrastructural development and intervention on roads, pipe borne water, electrification, employment placements, medical support, sports development, provision of transport and utility vehicles, amongst others, will again be encapsulated and made public in due course. The advent of coronavirus pandemic otherwise known as COVID-19 came with great challenges and economic strains not limited to our clime but globally. In exercise of care and concern, we reached out with palliatives through cash transfers to constituents and beyond as well as followed up with supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to health workers, government and private offices, unions, socio-cultural bodies, market women, transporters, and medical institutions amongst others. My beloved constituents, you may wish to recall my earlier Constituency Briefing and Empowerment with the theme: Celebrating God’s Faithfulness held on Friday, April 20, 2018 at the Uyo Township Stadium during the first leg of my membership in the Senate. As rich as the content of that outing, which is still adjudged as the best ever witnessed of such endeavour; we have even surpassed and doubled it through our regular empowerment as coordinated by the Senatorial Liaison Office. For me, it is service above self. I am bonded to serve and justify your confidence. This is the pact and I shall continue with same zeal in all responsibilities bestowed upon me, trusting that that same God is capable of doing all things. Let me assure our dear Governor, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel of my loyalty and cooperation, and that of the Akwa Ibom Caucus in the National Assembly under my leadership. That same love that ensued and kept me to stand by our great party, the PDP, even when I was the only one remaining out of the trinity in the Senate, is beyond compromise. Together, we shall continue to serve our people faithfully to the glory of God and to the best interest of our dear State.
Thank you our dear constituents. God bless us all.
SENATOR BASSEY ALBERT AKPAN
Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources Upstream