Obong (Senator) Bassey Albert Akpan is generally known and called OBA in Akwa Ibom State. For the benefit of those who do not know him well, it is either you describe him as the man with gap tooth, or the ever smiling senator, or you call him the man that Deacon Udom Emmanuel hates to love.
OBA is truly generous with smiles. That means he must be a happy and fulfilled person. But misfortune has been at his doorstep in the recent past. As commissioner for finance in Akwa Ibom State under the government of Senator Godswill Akpabio, OBA must have been a very happy man. He was in charge. He was in charge of the finances of the oil-rich state. That is how he was able to help himself with some pecks of the office. No, some dividends of democracy. He acquired property here and there. He lived large and became politically and economically influential.
After serving in that office, OBA decided to move up the political ladder. He sought for and got a seat in the senate to represent the Uyo Senatorial District. In the senate too, he was not doing badly. He headed a choice committee-the upstream committee. He got into the senate in 2015 and was given a second chance in 2019. He has been happy ever since.
Having been there for eight years, he decided to find happiness somewhere else. So, he indicated the interest to challenge Senator Udom Emmanuel, his state governor, who had since been informed by God, that a pastor, not a mere senator, would succeed him.
The PDP where OBA and Udom belonged therefore became too hot for comfort. OBA knew that he would choke to death if he remained there. So, he left and pitched tent with the YPP, an unknown political party in Akwa Ibom, and seamlessly picked their ticket for the governorship race. That was, perhaps, the beginning of his political travails.
But just as he was battling with the oddities that came with his political decision, tragedy hit his family. He lost his younger brother. He lost a police orderly. He lost one other aide. They all died in one day, leaving behind four children each.
OBA was obviously devastated. That was in October, on a Thursday-the fourth day of the week. A perplexed OBA was going through hell. Everything around him was abnormal, just like his blood pressure, that had hit 286/140. He was a moving corpse. But he was still breathing. Luckily so.
According to him, “Imo (Isang, his chief of protocol) left behind four children, Robert (Albert, his younger brother) left behind four children, and (Linus) Odey (his police orderly) left behind four children. I have now added twelve children to my family. “That I am alive today in itself is a testimony.
While still in the mourning mood, he had his pending court case to attain to, as well as his campaigns. He had to wipe his tears and move on. And, on Thursday, the first day of the last month of December, the unexpected happened. OBA earned an unexpected title of convict. Yes, he is now a convict and will remain so until a higher court purges him of that shameful appellation. He is therefore unhappy and his gap-tooth can’t be on a display, anymore, in the meantime.
He has since relocated to his new home at the Ikot Ekpene Prison. There, his freedom is lost. His happiness is lost. His choice of what to eat and when to eat is lost. The desire to plan for and think of how to succeed Udom in 2023 will certainly wane. And painfully, all the 12 children left behind by his three aides are now hopelessly in trauma. Until OBA comes back, everything will remain on attention. Life is no longer at ease for OBA, his campaign organisation, his dependants, his fans, his followers, all those who have been looking to him for whatever, will also remain at attention. Sad. Very sad indeed.