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Hon. Aniekan Bassey: converting doubters into believers

In the jungle, lion is arguably the king. At first impression, a lion is a calm and reserved creature, but woe betides anyone who underrates a lion. Beneath the gentle mien lies a high dose of unequalled abilities. Also, a lion, unlike other creatures in the animal kingdom, does not make unnecessary attention seeking noise but once it roars, the entire forest must pay attention. Such is the prestige which a lion commands.  

In the human kingdom, many beings courtesy of their actions and inactions have carved a niche for themselves as loudmouthed but slothful fellows. Also, there are few others who work hard in silence, refuse to blow their trumpet, and in the process groom a lion-like reputation.

From the foregoing, it is safe to pen that Hon. Aniekan Bassey, who represents Uruan State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, belongs to the category of cool-headed but hardworking people, who avoids undue attention but revels in touching lives positively via effective service delivery.  And I am penning this piece with a heart overflowing with joy. Happy because Hon. Bassey, who is the Deputy Leader of the state parliament, has succeeded in converting a legion of doubting Thomases (myself inclusive) into believers. As a leader, Hon. Bassey is surely a soul winner.

Recall, a couple of weeks ago, I painstakingly chronicled the antecedents of Akwa Ibom lawmakers even as the first legislative year slammed shut. I categorized lawmakers into two cadres: The Performing and Non-Performing {Sleeping} Lawmakers. Before drafting my verdict, I sought for the scorecard of the various representatives. Getting the scorecard of this young and ebullient legislator wasn’t an easy task.

I was quite aware of the fact that he is one of the vocal legislators in the House of Assembly, but how the vibrancy during plenary translates into dividends for Uruan people was relatively shrouded in unknowingness. I won’t say that Hon. Bassey was perhaps waiting for the piece which was published in few tabloids and blogs to hit public sphere before ferociously reeling out the seemingly uncountable achievements recorded during the period under review. As I received the document, I went on a fact finding mission to Uruan where those claims were verified beyond reasonable doubt. Dear readers, join me and other members of the league of Thomases as we eat this humble pie.

Contemporary history is replete with tales of leaders who led well and those that performed dismally. This is summed up in this Yoruba proverb: “A people don’t forget the king that led well and the one that impoverished them.”

When the young Aniekan expressed intent to occupy the Assembly seat on behalf of Uruan people, little did the constituents know that he is a political messiah. Uruan needed a jinx breaker. Uruan needed a man with a golden heart. Above all, they needed a man who will seamlessly blend into the political equation of the state and even the relationship between his people and the government at the centre. And Hon. Aniekan Bassey courtesy of litany of verifiable achievements has started reciprocating the confidence reposed in him.

Again, let me emphasize that the achievements are myriad. The achievements span almost every sphere of endeavours. Attempt is hereby made to summarize and fit them into this piece.

In the area of empowerment, this lawmaker in his magnanimity has been ensuring that several constituents are employed in lucrative establishments both at the state and federal level. He has also given grants to 50 Uruan women to start or expand their businesses.  It is on record that he has facilitated the employment of over 50 constituents under the “Hon. Aniekan Bassey Entrepreneurial/Skills Acquisition Scheme.” The foundation which partners with the National Directorate for Employment (NDE) offers training in paint production, hair dressing, beads and hats production, fashion designing and computer training.  To complement and fast-track the success of the programme,  a 4-day training of trainees on Bookkeeping and Business management was held, and each trainee was given N70,000 as starter pack.
These are in addition to undocumented financial grants he doles out to people to cover various needs.
Still on empowerment, he has sponsored ten constituents on internship in various federal ministries in partnership with the National Directorate of Employment. After one year internship, they will be absorbed.  Four people have benefited from his Agricultural Empowerment Scheme where financial assistance was offered them to set up poultry farms.

This piece would be incomplete if I fail to mention that Hon. Bassey has employed fifteen Uruan people from the eleven wards, including a physically challenged individual, as aides.  
In the area of healthcare, he recently organized a four-day free medical programme to his constituents. Several Uruan people who could not afford to pay for treatment at hospitals poured encomiums on the lawmaker for the gesture.
On education, his intervention in the pat one year has been quite laudable.  Under the Hon. Aniekan Bassey Education/Empowerment Support Scheme, over 1000 students from Uruan extraction were sponsored for the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) CBT Training. Upon completion, he bought and presented JAMB Forms to them. To crown it all, the best 10 students with highest scores in the have been offered scholarship. Several Uruan students studying in several tertiary institutions have also benefited immensely from his magnanimity. He pays their tuition fees.

On sports, Hon. Bassey knows that sports are another source of empowerment. This explains why he deemed it fit to cough out several millions in sponsoring two Uruan youths to further their football careers. The duo: Godwin Okon Edet from Ekpene Ukim and George Effiong Asuquo from Ikot Ido are now plying their trade in faraway Turkey. Hon. Bassey sponsored Uruan football team which finished in second place at the recently concluded Akwa Ibom State FA Cup Competition.

On constituency development, he facilitated the award of contract for building of Ishiet Fish Market. The road leading to the market has also been awarded. He also assisted with the engineering design, technical and environmental impact assessment and other consultancy cost of the 2 billion Naira market which is the largest fish market in the South-South region of Nigeria.  Checks revealed that the market when completed will comprise of a marine police post, four cold rooms, toilet facilities, banking facilities, office complexes, fire station and parking lot.
Several Uruan people shall be gainfully employed in various roles at the ultra-modern market.

On the heels of the fire outbreak in Ekim Enin community, Hon. Bassey doled out financial support ad relief materials to the victims -this was in addition to medical bills and other succors he provided to robbery victims at the Adadia Beach Market in September, 2015.

At the Assembly, being the Chairman of House Services Committee, he was spearheaded the renovation of the Assembly Chapel, VIP Lounge, Conference Hall and the reception lounge. Bassey has promised to always steer the affairs of the committee diligently.

As someone who loves his constituents and values human life, he drew the attention of the House to the beastly murder of Daniel Solomon Bassey, an Uruan son, by a certain Stephen Anoma from Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State. He condemned the brutal murder in strong terms and called on the House to pass a resolution demanding relevant agencies to investigate and ensure that the suspect is brought to justice. The motion was well received by his colleagues.

In performing his oversight functions, he waded in and ensured that the people of Ndon Ebom and Ibiaku Uruan received succor when their properties were drowned as a result of erosion menace.  He alongside Prince Idongesit Ituen, who heads the Committee on Works, visited the various sites and proffered remedial\ lasting solutions to the victims.

Hon. Aniekan Bassey’s goodness is not confined to the length and breadth of Uruan. Realizing that tenants in the Akwa Ibom State do experience torrid plights when it comes to paying rents spanning two years or more, he sponsored a Bill to Regulate House Rent and Recovery of Premises. The Bill seeks to eliminate frictions between tenants and landlords. It will make it mandatory for landlords to collect a year’s rent from tenants.
He has co-sponsored a Bill on protecting the physically challenged against all forms of discrimination. Of a truth, Hon. Aniekan Bassey is a cerebral figure whose contributions during plenary are always taken into consideration by the House in its decisions on issues brought before it.

Dear readers, yours truly can continue reeling out his achievements ad infinitum but for want of space and avoidance of verbosity, I beg to pause. However, the germane lesson deduced from the exploits of this fine gentleman is that the legion of doubters has been converted into believers via sheer dedication to service. Constituents of Uruan unanimously elected him for a four year tenure, and in one year the dividends have been numerously numerous.

Verily, this is marvelous in the sight of his people. He has raised the bar so high. And as the second legislative year commences, the expectation is for him to scale the height. Yes, he cannot afford to relent. Now that he has proved many wrong, he needs to be more determined.

Hon. Aniekan Bassey, your believers are like the proverbial Oliver Twist –they want more!

{Ofonime Honesty is a journalist and general affairs analyst. +2348025286082}

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