By Darlington Udobong
For being embodied with compassion, humility and accommodative heart, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, member representing Uruan State Constituency and Speaker of the Seventh Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, has been unveiled as the driver of the Assembly. He has been tagged the “Working Speaker.”
Rt. Hon. Bassey, fondly called Ani GemLodge, was born on the 30th day of August, 1978. He is a native of Ekim Enen Village in Uruan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. He attended Christ the King Nursery and Primary School (1984 – 1991), Uyo High School (1991- 993), Senior Science College, Abak (1993 -1996). He is an alumnus of the University of Uyo, where he bagged two Bachelor of Science Degrees in Chemistry, and Sociology and Anthropology. He is currently pursuing two Master Degrees in Sociology and Anthropology, and in Development Studies.
In 2015, Ani GemLodge heeded the call of the people of Uruan to represent them in the State House of Assembly, a mandate he got through the ballot. He served in the 6th Assembly as Deputy Leader, Chairman of the House Services Committee and Chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology. Given his superlative performance, his people returned him through the ballot again for a second term. And by the benevolence of God, he emerged the Speaker of the 7th Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
His service to community has been severally acknowledged and recognized by different groups and bodies. Hon. Aniekan Bassey in the last four years has provided quality representation to his people in the State House of Assembly. He has sponsored and co-sponsored a good number of bills and motions as well as matters of urgent public importance with direct bearing on the people of Uruan and the state in general. Co-sponsored several bills includes Bill to protect the Physically Challenged Persons against all forms of Discrimination, Bill to establish Constituency Projects Development Fund, Bill to establish Building and civil engineering construction Materials Quality and Control Centre, Bill to establish Akwa Ibom State Utility Infrastructure Management and Compliance Agency, Bill to establish Akwa Ibom State Social Housing Scheme and Bill to establish Akwa Ibom State Youth Development Fund among others. Motions and Matters of Urgent Public Importance includes the murder of Daniel Bassey Solomon from Ifiayong Usuk whose case is being vigorously pursued in court; the need for Akwa Ibom State Government’s Involvement in Agricultural Value Chain to Ensure Sustainable Food Security and improve Foreign Earning and the need to curb the invasion/annexation of Uruan LGA by marauding militants from Cross River state.
As Chairman of the House Services Committee, Rt. Hon. Bassey proactively supervised the renovation of the Assembly Chapel, VIP Lounge, the Assembly Chamber and Gallery, Conference Hall and the General Reception, etc. His coming as Chairman brought about a complete turnaround of the ambience of the Assembly complex.
He has trained more than 1000 youths in JAMB CBT and computer studies out of which he provided 60 JAMB forms to the beneficiaries. JAMB classes were organized for them and they were transported to their respective exam venues. For the first time, Uruan students recorded 90% pass in JAMB through his efforts. Also, in conjunction with National Directorate of employment, he facilitated the vocational training of more than 60 Uruan persons in phone repairs, hair dressing, fashion design, beads and hat making, computer studies and paint manufacturing and also provided starter packs for them at the end of the training. He has assisted scores of persons to be gainfully employed and start a business of their own in his resolve to entrepreneurially empower his people – teaching them how to fish than giving them fish.
Some youths from Uruan were sponsored to Turkey to further their football career in conjunction with the Vincent Enyeama Grassroots Sports Development. He also sponsored Uruan Football Club that came second in the 2016 Akwa Ibom Football Cup Competition. 50 Uruan women have been given grants to start a business of their own. He contributed immensely in the award of contract for building of the Ishiet Fish Market (Urua Ishiet) of which the Wife of the Governor, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel has graciously provided an industrial fish grill; and the Anua-Mbak-Ishiet road. Since Health is Wealth, he sponsored a four day free medical exercise as a fulfillment of his campaign promise thus contributing his quota to the medical wellbeing of his people where more than 5000 Uruan people benefitted from the exercise; 662 lenses were dispensed; 300 dental surgery and treatment took place, 73 general surgeries while 3000 others had diabetic, HIV/AIDS and hypertension screening and treatment. As a follow-up to the free medical treatment, a medical doctor at Anua Hospital has been kept on retainership and referrals are made to him as the need arises. Hon Aniekan Bassey has also attracted projects such as Renovation of Town Hall at Ekim Enen, Renovation of Town Hall at Use Uruan, Installation of 300KVA Electricity Transformer at Ikot Inyang Esuk Central 3, Installation of Electricity Transformer at Afaha Ikot Ishiet, South 2, Renovation of 4 Classroom Blocks at Ikpa Uruan North 1, Facilitated the upgrading of Nung Ikono Ufok Village Market, Construction of 6 Classroom Blocks at Akan Obio Uruan, Provided relief materials and cash to two warring communities (Anakpa and Nna Enin) to help resettle them.
In April 2018, Hon. Aniekan presented his scorecard to his people. During the said event, more than 300 persons were empowered with cars, mini buses, motor cycles, sewing machines, vulcanizing machines, grass cutting machines, hair dryers, deep freezers, barbing saloon kits generating sets and grants to more than 400 persons.
Before venturing into politics, Hon. Aniekan started business at age 17 and has garnered vast entrepreneurship expertise spanning two decades with interests in manufacturing, building and construction, security and surveillance as well as hospitality providing jobs to more than 300 Nigerians. Business firms he founded and co-founded includes Technocraft Contractors his first Company at age 19; a communications and securities outfit vested in sales and installations, Germain Products and Allied Services Ltd; leading producers of paints, resins, gum and vanishes, wood sealants, etc. There is also the gem grand Lodge and gem lounge; a reputable and award-winning hospitality outfit and Technogem; a civil engineering, architectural and quantity surveying outfit, etc.
He is an embodiment of achievements, an inspiring fellow, an entrepreneur par excellence, proactive business guru, institution builder, mentor, creative thinker, role model, outstanding and quintessential lawmaker of the 21st century. The sterling qualities that stands Hon. Aniekan out as a man of the people includes his unassuming and humble disposition; does not drive around in tinted vehicles and security aides, and most often drives himself to work. He is accessible to his people both at home and office.
While his life has been that of inspiration, development, empowerment and motivation, his actions have remained positive as they have helped to promote the greatest good for the greatest number. His leadership qualities and exemplary life is captured in the words of Admiral Stockdale who said that, “Men of service and impact are never out of job and never out of followers; they do not pass this clime often. They are part of a rare breed of whom service is life itself.”
His legislative interests include education, youth empowerment, entrepreneurship and grassroots development. He believes in the dictum that, “Only a life lived for others is a life well lived”. He has received numerous awards including Pillar of Legislative Business and the Peoples’ Voice in AKHA by South-South Students’ Assembly, Distinguished Service Award by Uyo High School Old Students’ Association, Certificate of Honour by Nsit Attai Council of Chiefs and Award for Effective Representation by University of Uyo Students’ Parliament, etc. Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey is an example of a true democrat, statesman and selfless representative of his people. He belongs to the Roman Catholic family and is happily married to Mrs. Itohowo Bassey.