My attention has been drawn to a rather unsavory write up on my person by one David Takon, DG of the PDP Vanguard meant to tarnish my hard earned reputation and present me in bad light before my teeming supporters and Cross Riverians who have known and associated with me over the decades. Reading the highly disrespectful article and considering the level of ignorance displayed by the writer, I cannot but say categorically that the wrongly scripted piece does not in any way, resemble my person and the values I stand for.
As a principled politician and value-adding Cross Riverian, I have never deviated from the norms of personal grace and respectability, edged on by my flawless upbringing.
My political career which David Takon attempted to diminish, has remained permanently itched in the minds of the electorates that cuts across the entire state. I ably represented the good people of Calabar Municipal/Odukpani Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives from 2003-2011 and thereafter, elected Senator for the Cross River Southern Senatorial district on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Due largely to some political and irreconcilable variables in the party and after due consultation, decided to pitch camp with the All Progressives Congress (APC) and emerged as the flag bearer of the party in the 2019 general elections. In all my years of representing my people, I have made deliberate efforts to draw developmental projects and programmes to my people and my constituency and the results are still so visible and appreciable. Even before venturing into politics, I was engaged in farming, banking and the petroleum sector where I made my mark and employed a cross section of Cross Riverians, thereby giving them a veritable means of survival. My political career has been a richly rewarding experience, occasioned by many sterling achievements in both the lower and upper chambers of the National Assembly.
I equally served as chairman and member in many high profile committees in the National Assembly such as Chairman Senate Committee on Finance, Chairman Senate Committee on Banking and other Financial Institutions, Chairman House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Vice Chairman House Committee on National Population and member of committees on power, Ministry of Niger Delta, Inter-parliamentary Relations, Inter Intra Party Relations, Environment, Water Resources and Defence. My various bills, vibrant contributions to debates and sponsored bills which became working modalities in the various committees are too numerous to elaborate on here. For instance, I worked on a draft amendment bill that has significantly repositioned the Petroleum Technology Development Fund as a veritable vehicle for capacity building in the oil and gas sector. I was equally instrumental to the Nigerian Content Development Act, in fact I sponsored the Bill that gave birth to the Nigerian Content Development Act and at the risk of sounding immodest, I can confidently attest to the fact that my humble opinions, views and contributions made a great difference in revolutionizing the petroleum industry to the greater benefit of the generality of Nigerians. The UNICROSS administrative building was facilitated by me and that remains the biggest building in the entire institution.I also gave uncountable scholarships to students and jobs to multiple Cross Riverians in different sectors across board.
My membership of the National Assembly was made possible by the popularity I enjoy from our electorates and I would not have been elected in the first place if I was not popular and accepted by the people.
In spite of these, David Takon and his cohorts will want people to believe otherwise. On how beneficial my empowerment programmes have been, he needs to carry out some research on my person and what I stand for. Attempting to tarnish my image and being used as a tool to engage in destructive journalism is not only reprehensible but also immature and infantile. A cursory look at the tabulation of my achievements in public and private lives debunks every rough point of David Takon.
It has never been my take to disparage anybody or organization but on the contrary, I have suffered bad media onslaught by mud slinging individuals like David Takon. I wholeheartedly forgive his indiscretion as well as all those directly and indirectly connected with the attempt to tarnish my image. My reputation, recognition and endorsement for re-election by the Buhari Youth Organization is a telling signs of my acceptability across many political and social spheres. In 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari saw my sterling qualities and appointed me into the Board of the National Health Insurance Scheme, I have received many organizations, both at the state, federal and international levels and I cannot but deeply appreciate all those who have recognized me over the years.
At different local and international fora, I have endeavoured to enliven discourse on the potentialities of Cross River State becoming an investment haven and centre of commerce and business in Nigeria.
I certainly do not present the picture of a failed politician and all those sponsoring David Takon are deeply aware of my antecedents and the entire state is aware of my capabilities. As a front line gubernatorial aspirant in our dear state, I relish and cherish the idea of engagement with other stakeholders in the building of Cross River State of our collective dreams. Needless to say, my political sagacity, patriotism, personal passion for developmental initiative, capacity for hard work, honesty, unbribable characteristics, flawless upbringing and trustworthy public persona, I remain grateful to all Cross Riverians and I strongly hold onto my gubernatorial ambition which remains solidly on course.
For David Takon and his group of mercenary writers, I invite them to change from their evil ways, embrace goodwill and join the new bandwagon of positive difference in our body polity.
Senator (Prince) Bassey Edet Otu