Capacity building encompasses the ability, will and skills to initiate, plan, manage, undertake, organize, budget, monitor and evaluate human development potentials. Akwa Ibom since creation in 1987 has witnessed various capacity building programs put together by government at all levels with the aim of attracting development to the citizenry.
It is pivotal for us as a people to consider capacity building from a perspective that directly affects the common man who is with little or no education. In search of credible persons to fill the gap, one man who has over the years developed several models to this respect to drive capacity development across all facets of life is the immediate past commissioner for finance in Akwa Ibom State, Obong Bassey Albert Akpan.
An independent opinion poll recently conducted in the state by a team of research and development professionals has identified capacity building for the people as the key to unlocking economic potentials of the state. Obong Bassey Albert (OBA) through various interventions has developed and empowered numerous Akwa Ibom sons and daughters to become productive and dream oriented citizens.
From an analytical point of view, greater percentage of Akwa Ibom people believe that Obong Albert has the conceptual approach needed to fast-track development in the state, with particular focus on understanding obstacles that inhibit people, government and private organizations. These and many more were responsible for the realization of goals and objectives of the Akpabio led administration through the Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee which had Albert as chairman.
Having toured more than 95% of local communities in the state, OBA understands both the major and minor challenges of the people and appears very committed to enhancing opportunities that will create room for Akwa Ibom people to individually or collectively achieve measurable and sustainable results. His acquaintance with the problems of the people has driven him to label his proposed government as “government of the common people, by the common people and for the common people”.
In modern day Politics, security and safety of the principal is regarded as the primary focus, the situation is completely the reverse with Obong Abert, as he sees security as a secondary endeavour easily achieved by consistently investing in, and developing the people. OBA feels exceptionally free and secured at all times, thus being readily available and accessible to Akwa Ibom people irrespective of age, class or ethnic affiliation.
Albert’s capacity building initiative has helped tackled problems related to the policy and models of development with key considerations on the potentials, limits and needs of Akwa Ibom people. Through various empowerment programs, Albert has empowered Akwa Ibom-ites at home and in the diaspora. The leadership base of this finance managing professional has engineered and reoriented Akwa Ibom-ites to advance in knowledge and skill-based professional participation in politics which in turn affects their business, cooperate and social lifestyle positively.
As commissioner for finance, Obong Albert played a key role in the Akpabio administration through the development of a financial framework which redefined goals of governance. Such framework is needed to redesign functional and organizational attitude to promote strategic planning and research for utilization of resources available in the state for benefit of the masses.
OBA is considered by many as the bridge between the youths and elders in the state; this can be traced to his involvement of both classes of persons in his capacity building programs. He is an advocate of women participation in politics, this routes in-line with the policy of the present country leadership which encourages 35% incorporation of women in governance.
Albert’s romance with Akwa Ibom women has motivated women across the state under different umbrella organizations to come together to form a formidable front, all working together towards seeing to the realization of the “Akwa Ubok Abasi 2015″ project.
The former commissioner believes Akwa Ibom belongs to all of us. He believes all stakeholders of the Akwa Ibom project should be involved in the initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, control and analysis of developmental issues affecting the state so as to make way for efficient decision making through transparent and accountable processes.
As a leader with a humble beginning, OBA is one of the very few politicians with the patience and ability to give listening ears to the people at all times, and this allows him to key into issues affecting the masses. My recent encounter with a man, Mr Phillip Edouk gave me the conviction that Mr Albert truly have the people of Akwa Ibom at heart. The aforementioned Phillip Eduok, during the said encounter, had narrated how Albert’s financial intervention in 2003 had helped saved his academic career, as he was at the verge of dropping out of the University due to lack of funds. This testimony and many others, clearly signifies that OBA’s philanthropic attributes dates back to decades ago, even when he perhaps, had not considered any public office to be a better alternative to his banking job.
The raging stories of Albert’s generosity and human capital development within and outside the state has sent messages of hope to depressed Akwa Ibom people who have overtime been forced into relaxation owing to an unrepentant feeling of optimism that when OBA emerges as Governor of the state in 2015, capacity building will be a top priority in his administration. This has deposited trust in the minds of the people who believe in the “Akwa Ubok Abasi 2015″ project and even further forced the unbelievers to reconsider their stand.
Albert’s track record in the near future will serve as a benchmark for politicians within and outside the country. His name rings a bell even as acceptability grows exponentially beyond human comprehension. It has become increasingly disturbing that people who are yet to see the benevolence nature of Albert are singing his praises more than the people he has reached out to and motivated. This confirms the insinuation that the Akwa Ibom people are aware of the leadership potentials and development opportunities he will bring to the table once he assumes office as Governor.
As the 2015 political strings tune towards realization, one very critical question on the minds of the people is about who will provide them with the enabling environment for the genuine development and sustenance of their respective sources of daily bread, as well as protect their overall interests. Akwa Ibom people, indications reveal, had long found in OBA, an answer to this simple but profound interrogative- this simply proves OBA’s qualities, as one who engages in quality negotiations for both the government and the governed, thus protecting the interest of the common man who is not involved in key policy and decision making processes.
Considering major political developments in the state in recent history, the people deserve a leader that will show a pretence-free kind of loyalty to them in order to hasten development and create room for participatory politics. This is what Mr Bassey Albert stands for. As a loyal son of the present administration, Albert’s prayer at all times is that God should give Akwa Ibom people a Governor that will be loyal to the people both physically and spiritually.
Akwa Ibom people will be so pleased to have a governor who walks freely in the street, talks with street people, identifies their problems and proffer solutions to them. Albert fits squarely into the frame. He is determined to effectively engage common people, rejected and less privileged persons in key decision making processes, knowing that the common man is the end user of meals prepared from government policies.
As part of his capacity building package, OBA has consistently disengaged many youths from social vices and branded them to become useful citizens. If he has done all these, even then as a private individual, putting smiles on the faces of people, what then can we look forward to when he eventually takes charge of the state resources from 2015?
Obong Bassey Albert’s continued determination to reconstruct the stomach of Akwa Ibom people is the icing on the cake. This has been referred to by many as a much needed intervention to put an end to poverty in the lives of our people. In a state where greater percentage of the population survives with less than $1 per day, it is pertinent to address the stomach challenges of Akwa Ibom people. OBA is the only tested and proven individual that can bring forward quick solution to these pressing concerns.
Politics as a game of numbers hugely depends on the masses. Following Mr. Albert’s widespread acceptability within and outside the state, it is essential for Akwa Ibom people to grossly key into the capacity building strides of the Ibiono Ibom heavyweight in order to access and enjoy true dividends of democracy in the days ahead. Mr. Bassey Albert should be seen as a square peg in a square hole necessary for massive development of the state.
As the 2015 governorship race gathers momentum, Akwa Ibom people should encourage resourceful citizens like Obong Bassey Albert to continue to vie for leadership positions in the state. This will drive the inner mechanism within his nerves to sustain the status quo till when he takes over at the hilltop mansion by next year.
The former banker sure, deserves our mandate to lead the state, because he understands the problems facing both the common and uncommon Akwa Ibom people, shares in the pains and has capacity and willingness to address these concerns without exceptions.