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By: ONOR, Victor Obia.
Writes from Canaan City, Calabar.
 “….the definition of life lies only in the experience you get….”
No matter how many degrees we have or what kind of education we received, there are some thing that only life can teach us; lessons that we only learn in the school of life.
Experiences stay with us throughout our lives. Not only do they shape who we are as human beings, but also help us connect with and build relationships with others. Clearly, we as human beings care about experiences because we are willing to spend our hard-earned time and money on creating them.
Life is a continuous chain of experiences. These experiences are both good and bad but both help us live a more educated and productive life. Experience is a key ingredient to success on the job. Experience is the key element to being successful at a job or earning a more desired job.
Distinguished Senator Gershom Henry Bassey, an accomplished Engineer and businessman is the only man on the plough for Governorship in 2023 with the requisite experience to bring Cross River State back from the forest of dilapidation to the road of development. He is the only one with the experience and expertise to revamp our bastardised Civil Service. This very distinguished gentleman has through practice, exposure and involvement acquired humongous knowledge on the runnings of Government and we can be rest assured that he shall bring his wealth of experience to bear on governance.
Experience is the foundation of life. Thus Senator Gershom Bassey has over the years built a foundation that can withstand the test of time. He has built a foundation that is necessary for Public service. The first and most important experience Senator Gershom Bassey has garnered is the experience of time. He started politics and public service from a very tender age. It is a known fact that Senator Gershom Bassey was part of Dr Clement Ebri’s team way back in 1992. This is a man who has experienced politics in different republics. Also, it is worthy of note and counts for experience that Senator Bassey was among the original persons who birthed the PDP in Cross River State in this present republic. Thus, we can say he has the experience of a foundation member. He also has the experience of consistency. Since 1998 till date, the Senator has remained a member of the PDP and has never slightly contemplated political prostitution as some other aspirants a wont to do. He has remained steadfast in PDP come rain come shine and  contributed immensely to the development of the party and entrenchment of PDP in our State and the country at large.
When one has an experience of anything, it means the person has gone through the required understanding the work requires. It also means the person has faced every reality that is necessary to begin and complete the task. The more experience you have, the more you are near to the reality and opportunities of gaining good skills from it. This means you have already been through the reality side of the task when you say you have the experience. Senator Gershom Bassey has gathered the experience of reality of governance. This is so because he has always played an active role in past government’s economic policies. For instance, the Distinguished Senator was the Chairman of Strategic Policy Action Committee (SPAC) throughout the 8 years of Senator Liyel Imoke’s Government. Through this office, he was the real brains behind the economic policies that made the Imoke era such a huge success.
Still on the experience of reality, Senator Gershom Bassey has cut his teeth in public service as Chairman of Cross River State Water Board Limited. It was under his watch that Cross River State attracted humongous grants for provision of public water works and this resources were applied critically to provide pipe borne water to all of Cross River State. He led the company to achieve outstanding recognition in the water sector within the country and in diaspora. Those glory days of water in our taps are still green in our memories and this nostalgia brings to mind the man who made it possible – Senator Gershom Henry Bassey. As testimony to this adept public service experience, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Civil Engineers (NICE) with an award of recognition from the Nigerian Society of Engineers.
Diversity they say is the spice of life. Distinguished Senator Gershom Bassey has garnered experience in all aspects of governance. His Legislative experience is intimidating and daunting to say the least. As Senator representing the good people of Southern Senatorial District, he has proven track record of public service. If we must look at specifics, the man has experience on the way around power at the national level. This is evident in the fact that even as a PDP Senator, he is Chairman of the FERMA Committee which is considered by the APC led administration as their brainchild. In terms of legislative rating, Senator Gershom Bassey is at par with the Deputy Senate President. In the Senate, he keeps pilling up experience with the diverse Standing Committees and Joint Committees he serves in. Some salient ones are:
1) Chairman, Petroleum Resources (Upstream) Technical Su-Committee on Policy, Process & Procedure and Compliance.
2) Joint Committee on Finance, Trade & Investment, Gas, Banking Insurance & Other Financial Institutions, Judiciary, Human Rights & Legal Matters, Petroleum Resources (Upstream), and Customs, Excise & Tariff
3) Joint Committee on Poverty Alleviation & Social Welfare, National Planning & Economic Affairs
4) Joint Committee on Gas, Petroleum Resources Upstream, Finance and Appropriation –  To work on the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP)
5) Vice Chairman, Senate Committee: Petroleum Resources (Upstream).
6) Member, Senate Committee: Water Resources.
7) Member, Senate Committee: Defence.
8) Member, Senate Committee: Federal Character & Inter-Governmental Affairs.
9) Member, Senate Committee: National Planning & Economic Affairs.
Let’s be honest, who amongst the Governorship aspirants can beat this record of experience, non methinks. These are life experiences you can never get from the four walls of a school. No Doctoral or Professorial seat can give you such daunting experiences.
Senator Gershom Henry Bassey has also garnered experience internationally. With these international contacts, he will attract direct foreign investment into our state to boast out economy. Definitely, as a member of the ECOWAS Parliament, he is better positioned to harness international interest in our state. Also of advantage is his membership of GLOBE (The Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment) Nigeria. This is an international network comprising of parliamentarians from over 99 countries committed to developing and overseeing the implementation of laws in pursuit of sustainable development. The Distinguished Senator is also a member of the NIGERIA-MOROCCO Parliamentary Friendship Group which is a working platform for actualising the implementation of the bilateral MOUs signed between Nigeria and Morocco in 2016.
Internationally, he has also garnered experience in the education sector. Senator Bassey is a distinguished alumnus of the Cardiff University, Manchester University and Brunnel University, all in the United Kingdom. He has also attended other prestigious academic institutions such as the Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States of America as well as the prestigious London Business School. No Professor can beat this experience.
The man Senator Gershom Bassey has also pilled up more social experience than any of the other aspirants. To begin with, he is Chairman of the Cross River State Basketball Association and an active participant of the Carnival Calabar through his championship winning band Masta Blasta. He has received many awards including The National Disabilities Vanguard: Excellent Person Personality of the Year Award 2016, Federal Government Sokoto Golden Jubilee Award for Old Students’ in recognition of his services to his Alma Mata, the nation and humanity, National Youths and Women Patriotic Front Award of Recognition for His contribution to Youths advancement and protection of youth and women in Nigerian politics. These are all testaments to a selfless, people oriented person commited to liberating and emancipating our dear state.
When it comes to what is essential in life, knowledge, and experience both give a tough debate against each other. No doubt, knowledge holds a vital role in the life of anyone, but without putting that knowledge into action, and getting an experience out of it, it is of no use. It is also highly observed that people with knowledge but without experience are less capable of achieving goals compared to those having experience. Hence, Cross Rivererians must not be deceived by another professorial razzmatazz. We are still wallowing in the deceit of Degrees for the past 7 years. Let us not curse ourselves to another 8 years of Professorial ineptitude. Let us hold on to experience, competence, capacity, tenacity, doggedness, selflessness and intelligence. Let us hold on to Distinguished Senator Gershom Henry Bassey as our Governor in 2023.

Amawu Cletus Albert Amawu

I'm a Journalist, Host/Producer of The Verdict, your voice of conscience on FAD FM 93.1, Calabar, Public Affairs Commentator, Social Change Agent.

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