Andy Esiet, Calabar
Sen. Gershom Bassey
As the 9th Senate came to an end on June 10, the Chairman of the Cross River state caucus in the National Assembly, Senator Gershom Bassey has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to assent to the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency Act 2004 (Amendment) bill.
In his address to mark the end of his tenure in the senate as the senator that represented Cross River South senatorial in the upper chamber, Bassey said, “a version of this bill is still awaiting assent. Mr. President please sign this bill.
“I advocated for and continue to advocate for at least 70% of FERMA’s budget to be allocated to recurrent expenditure until the FRA bill becomes law”.
He commended the he 9th Assembly for passing 162 bills of which 104 were assented to by the President and “this surpasses any previous National Assembly…the next Assembly must address the unfinished business ahead. It is important for the Executive to enact legislation like the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act (Repeal & Re-enactment) bill, the National Roads Fund Bill, and the Federal Roads Authority bill, which will lay the foundation for an efficient infrastructure system and promote public-private cooperation that will meet the needs of our growing population. Mr. President, please sign these bills.
“The 10th Assembly has a unique opportunity to lead alongside an Executive Branch headed by peers. The President, Vice President, and First Lady, SGF, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are all Senators. This presents a unique opportunity for exemplary leadership, strategic foresight, efficient policy-making and cooperation between the arms of government, to deliver the country Nigerians have been yearning for” .
Giving a brief of his stewardship, Bassey said, “being a senator is a responsibility I took seriously. Leadership is a privilege, and serving the people is a gift. During my two-term tenure from 2015 to 2023, I am proud of the 35 bills and 55 motions I sponsored and/or co-sponsored, demonstrating my commitment to legislative excellence.
“Among the motions I sponsored, were the need for value-addition and domestication strategies for sustainable economic growth; the deplorable state of Nigeria’s federal roads and the necessity of combating illicit financial flows through a legal framework and tax amnesty review for voluntary repatriation of funds to Nigeria.
“I introduced landmark bills such as the Federal Road Authority bill, aimed at providing a solution to the deplorable condition of our federal roads and improving the management and maintenance of federal roads”.
Despite their diverse backgrounds and political affiliations, the astute politician said, “we worked together for the collective good of Nigeria and Nigerians. We achieved significant milestones, crafted laws for justice and progress, and provided a platform for dialogue and collaboration. I commend your dedication, your passion, and your unwavering commitment to the service of our nation’.
Bassey who debunked claims that the 9th National Assembly was a rubber-stamp, pointed out that “our legislative reforms have had a profound impact on various sectors of the nation. Among our successes are the passage of the Electricity Bill, 2022 and the enactment of Constitution Amendment Bills.
“In addition, the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 stands out as a major accomplishment. We also further democratized the electoral process through the Electoral Act, 2022, with measures aimed at ensuring freer and fairer elections and to ensure the seamless delivery of justice in the courts and tribunals. Landmark corporate regulatory reforms were made with the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020, reducing compliance burdens and fostering a more business-friendly climate”.
Recognizing the importance of the technology sector, Bassey said, “we enacted the Nigeria Start-up Act, 2022, promoting a vibrant start-up ecosystem. We also improved the ease of doing business for MSMEs with the Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2023”.
He expressed his profound gratitude to the people of Cross River South Senatorial District and indeed Cross River State, saying “your support and trust have guided my legislative functions. The baton is being passed to capable hands, and I have full confidence in my successor to work tirelessly on your behalf.
“As I transition from the role of Senator, I am reminded of the Efik saying “Otom obio iyeneke utid” which means that service to the people has no end. Let us continue to serve our communities, uplift the marginalized, and strive for the progress and development of Nigeria”.