It seemed like a reckless boast when news filtered into town about his interest in the hilltop mansion. It was one piece of news that raised a lot of dust and reverberated across and beyond the state.
The news of Bassey Albert’s interest in the ‘Hiltop Mansion’ spread like wild fire, owing to his personality and magnanimity, when it became excruciating, his sack from the cabinet of Godswill Akpabio where he served as the Commissioner of Finance became inevitable by the powers that be, an office that was once occupied by Mr. Umana Okon Umana- who hails from Onofiok’s Local Government Area- Nsit Ubium.
The new bond between Honourable Barrister Onofiok Luke and Mr. Albert is one news piece that has taken a swipe in the local media recently. I have had the privilege to meet with some of the high ranking contenders for the hilltop mansion (Akwa Ibom state’s seat of power), and he is one of them, some of whom our relationship was more of personal, than official based on their current or previous appointments or political offices. So for me, having them contest against each other and taking sides with any of them will help me to create animosity, rather than harmonize relationships.
Who is Bassey Albert?
Mr. Bassey Albert Akpan is an economist and financial expert with over a decade experience in private and public sector; he was the Commissioner of Finance in Akwa Ibom state from 2007 till 2014.
If you live in Uyo, you will be intimidated by the loyalty of a section of the citizenry to Mr Bassey, although a giant bill board is yet to be erected with his face, news has it that he has been consulting secretly, his followers have painted the town red with ‘OBA’ stickers carrying his name and declaring their support for him.
Fund management in government requires a person who is trust worthy with good character, ability to create policies, organisation and planning to maintain a continuing positive program so as to secure the necessary goodwill and understanding of the public, also making sure funds are utilized in the most efficient manner.
Before politics, the quintessential Bassey was a consummate banker; he resigned from First City Monument Bank with awards of honour to serve the state. Bassey manned several offices while with FCMB, which saw him overseeing the activities of 15 branches spread across Akwa Ibom and Cross River state having under him an average of 300 staff, he developed key market penetration strategies for the sustainable share and growth the bank is enjoying in the zone today.
Mr. Bassey Albert has also sponsored the annual Ibiono Ibom Carnival which unites the 5 clans of West Africa’s biggest Local Government Area.
An Ibibio son, Bassey is Ibiono Ibom’s pride; he is loved and respected in every home, maybe because of his scholarship give-aways which runs into millions of naira, knowing the value of the education of his people, also knowing as an investor, that the greatest investment is in human beings and as a politician, dividends have to be felt directly by the people before true democracy can be said to be in practice.
What Onofiok said…
I was part of the E-101 Magazine team that had the rare privilege of an exclusive and uninterrupted interview with Hon. Barr. Onofiok Akpan Luke: as prelude to his 35th-year’s-birthday-celebration.
A year after, (2014) as he turns 36, I ran into him and his bosom ally-Mr Bassey Albert, litigiously and personally, I still remain astonished by Hon. Onofiok’s statement to me on that fateful day (his birthday).
It was an unnecessary introduction to a man I already knew and had dined with in his abode. It seemed like a discussion that was not ripe, or one that was brought up at a wrong location. But this day, I had to read between lines that were never available.
And I am still yet to unravel the pact between them, although recent speculations and revelations now have it that ‘Onofiok is OBA’… by this I mean “Owo Bassey Albert” (translated as ‘Bassey Albert’s person).
Onofiok said to me; “Leader, these boys are some creative minds of the state, you need to work with them’, afterwards he turned to me, within a split second, Mr. Bassey retorted; ‘I know them’ and I added ‘He is already our partner in progress’ others gazed in shock and misunderstanding of the origin of such discussion, in the premises of Methodist Church on Oron road.
The 2015 general election will manufacture and rupture relationships, but I hope my people will not give in to such misdemeanour; instead, I recommend that as a people, we consider an accord that will consolidate all indigenes of the state irrespective of tribe or political affiliation.
I hope to host all Governorship hopefuls for a debate (wake up), so one can really understand their motives and manifesto for the state, instead of an ambition that will only be inspired by their place of origin or the fatal zoning system in our politics.
Until then, I will be touring states in the federation to prepare Nigeria’s independent election opinion poll platform which I will introduce to you soon.
Nelson NseAbasi is a Journalist, Public Affairs Analyst & Ambassador of the European Union- 08131318414