By George Odok Jnr
Mfon Bassey was appointed and sworn into office as the Commissioner for Environment in Cross River State by Gov. Ben Ayade on December 24 2019.
Upon assumption of office, the energetic and smart politician began the role of overseeing the restoration of the environment on a clean note.
After a meeting with management staff and workers of the Ministry, he clearly informed them that it “was time for field work”. He set the ball rolling with the distribution of cash and rice to street sweepers, whom he identified as critical stakeholders in the cleanliness of the state capital. A gesture, many described as the first in the history of the Ministry of Environment for a Commissioner to shower such love for the women who wake up every morning to sweep the streets.
Desirous to restore sanity on commercial vehicle activities in Calabar, Mfon Bassey embarked on a demolition exercise of illegal structures and containers in Etim Edem motor park with a view to clear the highways off illegal motor parks and return them back to the Etim Edem park where they were originally operating from.
This particular move attracted wide commendations from residents in Calabar and a House of Representatives Member, Rt. Hon. Essien Ayi, who lauded the giant stride of Mfon Bassey for his action in making the park viable again.
In order to ensure free flow of running water along the gutters with a view to curb flooding, he embarked on massive desilting of gutters and culverts in Calabar Municipality and South respectively. Most residents of these areas where engaged temporarily to make some income for themselves. With this, there is free flow of running water to the appropriate channels.
For the aesthetic of the City, Mfon Bassey also embarked on the cutting down of dead trees within Calabar metropolis and planting of new ones. He did that to avoid the indiscriminate felling of trees on people’s houses and on moving and parked vehicles along the road.
Today, the city of Calabar is witnessing timely cutting of grass and general sanitation following the commitment of the Commissioner; little wonder he is been described by his boss, Gov. Ayade as “Action Commissioner”.
To sustain the beauty of the iconic images in Calabar, he also carried out the remodelling of the monuments in Calabar in order to give the city a facelift. Today, the roundabouts in Calabar are wearing a new look with aesthetic designs and Sparkling colours.
Within the period under review, Mfon Bassey has held several meetings with traders’ union to sensitise them on the need to always keep their surroundings clean and green always. He has equally moved many traders selling along the highways back to the markets with a view to avert traffic along the highways, especially along the watt market and NIPOST axis.
In trying to make wealth out of the dump site in Calabar, Mfon Bassey attracted the visit of the Minister of Environment who came to Calabar for a two days working visit. The Minister, who visited the Governor in his office, commended Mfon Bassey for his dogged efforts in restoring the beauty of the environment. The Minister donated 1million trees to the state and also pledged the Federal Government’s intervention in recycling the waste at the dump site to wealth.
While opening up and clearing the garden behind the Central Bank, (the little path that leads to the nursing school), the team recovered a locally made gun which was hidden by criminals who usually disturbed the area at night.
One of the nurses, Ms. Maria Edet, who saw the Commissioner and his team clearing up the path, stopped by and commended them for the good work, stating that most of the robbery cases they usually encounter along the area at night was largely caused by the dark path where the “bad boys” hide in to carry out their criminal act.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commissioner distribution hundreds of sanitizers to the Police Command in Calabar and to a large number of residents in the state with a view to enhance the prevention of the virus. He has also recorded many other achievements, too numerous to mention.
No doubt, Mfon Bassey is a team player, an easy going personality with a touch of smile always. He is accessible and always in the field getting the job done in line with specification and time.
Mfon Bassey is one of the shinning aides of Governor Ben Ayade. Indeed, he is a round peg in a round hole.
I sincerely commend Gov. Ayade for giving him this role to play and equipping him accordingly. Truly, Mfon Bassey has done exceedingly well in the Ministry of Environment.
As we step into a New Year, May you achieve more. Bravo!