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GOV DICKSON COMMENDS INTERNAL SECURITY OUTFIT, AS COMMANDER IS DECORATED WITH NEW RANK

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has decorated the Commander of the State’s internal security outfit “Operation Doo Akpo”, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Bello Ahmed with his new rank of Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police.

Speaking in a brief ceremony in Government House, Yenagoa, Governor Dickson described the newly promoted officer as a brilliant, dedicated and selfless officer, who has always performed his duties to the best of his ability.

He noted that, Bello Ahmed has proved himself worthy of the new rank, especially through his heroics as the helmsman at the security outfit in the State.

According to him, “All of us are aware of what “Operation Doo Akpo” has become in Yenagoa.  Operation ‘Doo Akpo’ is synonymous with peace; it has proved itself to be a partner for stability and for our development.

“If you go across the streets of Yenagoa, people will tell you stories of how the security outfit has been helping out, even to the point of carrying their pregnant wives to hospitals at late nights”.
Hon. Dickson commended the Commander and men of Operation ‘Doo Akpo’ for their services in the state, noting that, aside from rendering security services, it also renders essential humanitarian and other intervention services.

He attributed the success it has recorded since it came into existence last year to the effective leadership of DCP Bello Ahmed in conjunction with the officers and men of the state Police command and other security agencies.

While expressing appreciation to the Police authorities for rewarding diligence and hard work, the Governor said he was optimistic that DCP Ahmed will continue to be a shining example for others to emulate.

He congratulated him for his elevation adding, “You have proved to be a dependable partner in our quest to rid the state of criminality, violence and brigandage, and going forward, we know that with what we are seeing and what you are doing here, the sky will be your limit”.

The Governor used the occasion to welcome the new Commissioner of Police, Mr. Tonye Ebitibituwa  to the state, explaining that the relative peace being enjoyed in the state is due to the hard work of the very committed, dedicated and efficient men of the Police force who have collaborated effectively with the state government to make Bayelsa a haven of peace, security, stability and prosperity.

In his remarks after being decorated, the new Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police, Bello Ahmed expressed appreciation to God Almighty for the honour bestowed on him as well as to the
Inspector-General of Police for finding him worthy to be posted to Bayelsa State to serve.
According to him, the establishment of the security outfit by the state government was a worthy development that has helped to stem the tide of criminality and violence as well as restored night life in the State.

This development DCP Ahmed noted, was made possible by Governor Seriake Dickson because of his zeal and will to serve his people, as well as the logistics and other necessary support given to the outfit to enable it succeed in its given mandate.

Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Bello Ahmed joined the Nigeria Police Force in 1984 and has served in different capacities and operations with distinction.

He hails from Bauchi State and has a degree in Criminology and Public Administration from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and University of Abuja.

DICKSON, CLARK, YAKASSAI ADVOCATE UNITED NIGERIA, EULOGIZE LATE MAJOR BORO

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson on Friday in Yenagoa led prominent citizens in the Country, including the foremost Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark and Alhaji Tanko Yakassai in calling for a united and formidable Nigeria devoid of ethnicity, terrorism and religious bigotry.

Reminding the people of the historic collaboration that existed between the Northern and Southern axis of the country, Hon. Dickson at the 2013 edition of Major Isaac Adaka Boro Anniversary stressed the need for its re-establishment, adding that it would assist in addressing issues of terrorism, ethnicity and religious bigotry.

The alliance, according to the Governor has brought about positive developments such as creation of Rivers State and the election of a minority in the person of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as President of the country.

“I want to thank you through our leaders, Alhaji Yakassai of the support and the solidarity that our people have enjoyed from our brothers in the North. I will like to on behalf of our people urge the
leadership of the North to remember the historic alliance between them and the people of the Niger Delta.”

Describing the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) as the only formidable party in the Country with due consideration for both the majority and minority groups in the Country, the Governor thanked Nigerians and the Party for giving the Niger Delta region the opportunity to produce the leadership of the country.

“I like to thank my party, Africa’s biggest party, the PDP which first gave presidential nomination to our brother, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. This is important because from my little knowledge and perhaps by the time I interact more and benefit from the experience ad knowledge of people like Alhaji Yakassai and our Ijaw National Congress Board of Trustees Chairman, Chief Edwin Clark, we will know whether before PDP, any National political party thought it proper or expedient to
nominate a so called minority politician as its Presidential flag bearer. To the best of my little knowledge, only the PDP did that.

From Left:  Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, INC President, Sen.(Dr) Tari Sekibo, Elder Statesman, Chief E.K Clark, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, Mrs. Abisola Sodipo-Clark, Visiting Former US Presidential Candidate and Civil Rights Activist, Rev. Jesse Jackson Snr., Senator Nimi Barigha Amange, Former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha,and  Ambassador Lawrence Ekpebu during the 2013 Major Isaac Adaka Boro Day Anniversary, at the Government House, Yenagoa.

From Left: Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, INC President, Sen.(Dr) Tari
Sekibo, Elder Statesman, Chief E.K Clark, Governor Seriake Dickson of
Bayelsa State, Mrs. Abisola Sodipo-Clark, Visiting Former US Presidential
Candidate and Civil Rights Activist, Rev. Jesse Jackson Snr., Senator Nimi
Barigha Amange, Former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief DSP
Alamieyeseigha,and Ambassador Lawrence Ekpebu during the 2013 Major Isaac
Adaka Boro Day Anniversary, at the Government House, Yenagoa.

Now, we hear that there are alliances and coalition coming up and they go by several names. We wish them the best but there is a challenge that you must beat. The PDP has already led the way. Nigerians and all lovers of Nigeria are waiting for other political formations that truly aspire to national power that believe in the genuine integration and unity of our Country and have the capacity to march the example of the PDP by giving their presidential ticket to somebody the “bloc”

I agree completely that our nation has moved by far more integrated today but we have a challenge of forging the various national and ethnic or tribal identities and collapsing all of these into one
coherent single Nigerian identity.

My message to all of us and friends is to see how we can work hard and build bridges of understanding and solidarity.

In his address, the Ijaw foremost leader, Chief Edwin Clark drummed support for the re-election of President Jonathan in 2015, adding that he has the right to seek re-election. His re-election, according to Chief Clark will afford him the opportunity to complete the good works he has already started in the Country.

Stressing the need for a united Nigeria, Chief Clark stated, I desire one Nigeria where no one will be superior to the other as we have in the case of the United States of America where President Barack Obama was elected for the second term.

Commending Governor Dickson for recognizing the selfless efforts of the past heroes, Chief Clark noted that this would be the first time Boro Day would be celebrated by the Ijaws in Yenagoa.

In his lecture titled, Oil and Peace; Compatibility for sustainable growth in Nigeria, two time Presidential aspirant of the United States of America, Rev Jesse Jackson identified violence, greed and jealousy as the bane of socio-economic and political development of any nation.

He noted that God has bestowed Nigeria with both natural and human resources, adding, Nigerians are a brilliant people. They are at the heart of the economy in the Diaspora. Many of the World’s greatest scholars, scientists, teachers and engineers are from Nigeria.

Nigeria won its Independence-but it’s not enough to be free, the people will not rest until there is economic justice and equality. It is a sin in this Garden of Eden for such inequality and poverty to
exist alongside such riches and oil resources.

It is not the lack of resources but greed, jealously and violence that hinders our development. We cannot allow the oil companies to denigrate our Garden of Eden, to pollute our air and water and land and violate the preciousness of the Niger Delta with environmental warfare.

Also speaking, the former Special Adviser on National Assembly matters, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai said the activities of the dreaded Islamic sect-Boko Haram predated the present political administration.

He stated that the sect became active in 2001 when it attacked five states in the North, arguing that it was not aimed at undermining the government of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as being assumed in some quarters.

 

2013 BORO DAY CELEBRATION: GOV DICKSON LAYS FOUNDATION STONE FOR ADAKA BORO MEMORIAL INSTITUTE AS BORO TOWN ROAD ATTAINS 90 PERCENT COMPLETION

In fulfillment of his promise, Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has laid the foundation stone for the construction of the Adaka Boro Memorial Institute at Boro Town in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of the State.
Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson laying a wreath at the cenotaph of late Major Isaac Adaka Boro in Kaiama, the ancestral home the fallen hero during the 2013 Boro Day celebrations in the area. Photo by Lucky Francis

Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson laying a wreath at the cenotaph of late Major Isaac Adaka Boro in Kaiama, the ancestral home the fallen hero during the 2013 Boro Day celebrations in the area. Photo by Lucky Francis

Governor Dickson who described the project as symbolic, said it would form part of the measures his administration has lined up to properly immortalize the late Ijaw hero, Major Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro.
When fully developed, the institute will comprise a mausoleum for the late freedom fighter, residential estates with houses for deserving personalities.
He noted that the project when completed would not only stand in honour of Late Adaka Boro, but also serve as a befitting venue for subsequent celebrations.
According to the Governor, the road linking Boro Town has reached 90 percent completion and would be commissioned in a couple of weeks, noting that the Ministry of Works would be mobilized to the site to facilitate the project.
While commending the traditional rulers and the people of Kolokuma/Opokuma for supporting government in maintaining peace, Hon. Dickson urged them to cooperate with the contractors handling various projects in the area, such as the model secondary school and the permanent orientation camp for the National Youth Service Corps.
In an address presented on behalf of the Kaiama Community, the Chairman of the 2013 Boro Day Planning Committee, Appah Walson Gbeinpei, appealed to the Governor to declare a day as public holiday in honour of Late Adaka Boro.
Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (2ndleft) inspecting a guard of honour mounted by a detachment of the Nigerian Legion, Kolokuma / Opokuma Local Government Area chapter during the 2013 Late  Major Isaac Adaka Boro Day celebrations in Kaiama. Photo  by Lucky Francis.

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (2ndleft) inspecting a guard of honour mounted by a detachment of the Nigerian Legion, Kolokuma / Opokuma Local Government Area chapter during the 2013 Late Major Isaac Adaka Boro Day celebrations in Kaiama. Photo by Lucky Francis.

Mr. Appah noted that the ideals of the late hero would continue to inspire the Ijaw Nation in its quest for justice, fair play and equity in the country.
He hailed the Governor for the construction of the NYSC orientation camp, general hospital as well as a model boarding secondary school in Kaiama community
The Governor later visited the palace of the Ibedaowei of Kolokuma Kingdom, King Mozi Agara, where he commended the traditional institution in the State for their desire to collaborate with Government in the execution of development projects in their domains.
The event also witnessed the laying of wreaths by Governor Dickson, Ijaw National Congress (INC) President, Senator Tari Sekibo, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who laid a wreath on behalf of Chief Edwin Clark and the first son of Late Boro, Felix as well as the firing of three canon shots at the cenotaph of Isaac Boro.
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GOV. DICKSON COMMENDS BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION FOR DEEPENING BILATERAL RELATIONS BETWEEN BOTH COUNTRIES, WANTS SUPPORT FROM DEV PARTNERS

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has commended the British High Commission in the country for deepening bilateral relationships between Nigeria and Britain.

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State (left) and the Political Counselor, British High Commission, Abuja, Mr. Hooman Nouruzi, during a courtesy call on the Governor by a team from the British High Commission at Government House, Yenagoa.

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State (left) and the Political
Counselor, British High Commission, Abuja, Mr. Hooman Nouruzi, during a
courtesy call on the Governor by a team from the British High Commission
at Government House, Yenagoa.

Governor Dickson made the commendation when he received the Political Counselor, British High Commission, Abuja, Mr. Hooman Nouruzi at Government House, Yenagoa.

He recalled the various developmental programmes initiated by the British Government, geared towards enhancing economic and political stability in the country. The Bayelsa State Chief Executive renewed his call on the British Authorities and other developmental partners to support the state towards the realization of its enormous potentials in all sub-sectors of the economy.

According to him, the state has made tremendous progress since the present administration came on board, especially the massive investments in the education sub-sector as well as security as a
deliberate policy to make the state safe for local and foreign investors as well as boost its tourism potentials among others.

“Here, the government is trying to make a difference. We have been funding education in an ambitious way and investing in security. The state is now enjoying relative peace and we are hereby calling on our visitors and other partners to come in and invest.”

While admitting some few challenges, that were not peculiar to Bayelsa State, Hon. Dickson stated that the partnership with the various British agencies will go a long way in stemming the tide of
environmental degradation which have impacted negatively on the ecosystem of the state mainly due to the activities of militants which have snowballed into pipeline vandalisation and illegal oil
refineries.

“We want the environment to be salvaged from degradation due to oil and gas activities. It is one area of partnership we desire because of its effect on climate change and pollution,” he stressed.

The Governor said his administration’s zeal to boost the State’s economy beyond oil and gas led to the establishment of the Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC), which is expected to among others, attract local and foreign investments to the state.

Disclosing that the state government has just opened the BDIC regional office in Johannesburg, South Africa, Hon. Dickson said similar visits will be undertaken to London where the BDIC International headquarters will be opened.

To this end, the State Chief Executive pointed out that the presence of the BDIC office in London will create confidence in the minds of investors as well as help dispel the negative opinion being bandied in the media concerning security issues in the state.

Earlier, the Political Counselor of the British High Commission, Mr. Hooman Nouruzi said the visit was to explore the political and security issues facing the state and the Niger Delta region with a
view to developing a partnership between the state government and the United Kingdom Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP).

Expressing his willingness to enhance the partnership, Mr. Nouruzi said the visit was also to demonstrate his confidence in the state Government and other parts of the Niger Delta.

Also speaking, the Senior Conflict Adviser and Development Secretary, Department for International Development, British High Commission, Mr. Marcus Lenzen and Deputy Programme Manager, NSRP British Council, Dr. Ukoha Ukiwo, in their separate remarks said the partnership will focus more on issues of security for the people to benefit as well as ensure that violence do not return to the Niger Delta region.

According to them, the NSRP initiative is intended to support the Nigerian institution at both the state and federal levels in four key areas namely in coordinating relationship between security agencies, youth empowerment programme, promoting women in politics and reduce
women related crimes and policy advice on government.

WE WILL NOT GIVE IN TO TERRORISM …GOV SERIAKE DICKSON

Against the backdrop of security challenges confronting the country, Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has underscored the need not to allow acts of terrorism re-define the country’s values.

Governor Dickson made the remark when the Consul General of the United States Consulate in Lagos, Mr. Jeffrey Hawkins paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.

Commenting on the travel advisory being issued by some Western embassies for their nationals not to visit parts of the country, the Governor observed that in spite of the development multinational oil companies still operate in Nigeria.

According to Governor Dickson, there is a lot of stereotype and negative reportage of issues concerning the country, particularly the Niger Delta region to scuttle the developmental efforts at both the state and federal Governments.

“There is a lot of stereotype and negative reportage of out there of issues of safety that are of genuine concern to you and us. You have your nationals working and doing business and making money for their shareholders in this state and other similar places.

So the truth is that we all must not give up to terrorism because if we say people should not visit areas that we consider to be unsafe, and they don’t come, I consider that to be surrendering to terror, which is one thing we don’t want to do. We have to confront terrorism; we should not allow it to re-define our values and we want to live our lives and what we want to do for our people”

He therefore requested the United States government to reconsider its stance on the travel advisory, noting that his administration was sparing no effort in creating a congenial business climate for investors in Bayelsa State.

Hon. Dickson explained that one of such efforts was the establishment of the Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC) with its African regional office in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“Bayelsa is safe and ready for business. At the business level, we have established the BDIC which African regional office I went to open last week in Johannesburg. We intend to do similar things in other critical economies of the world because we want to be on ground to be able to tell our own story. The truth is that we cannot move our economy or attract investment to create wealth and develop skills that will turn around the economy and break the vicious cycle of poverty,
illiteracy, unemployment and un-employability.”

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (left) presenting a souvenir to the Consul-General of the United States Consulate in Lagos, Mr. Jeffrey Hawkins (right), during a courtesy call at Government House in Yenagoa. Photo by Lucky Francis

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (left) presenting a souvenir
to the Consul-General of the United States Consulate in Lagos, Mr.
Jeffrey Hawkins (right), during a courtesy call at Government House in Yenagoa. Photo by Lucky Francis

As part of efforts to make a difference in the lives of Bayelsans, he said the present administration is taking pragmatic steps to promote good governance, develop manpower and improve security.

Earlier, the Consul-General of the United States Consulate in Lagos, Mr. Jeffrey Hawkins said he was in the state to find out the state government’s vision on governance, especially in the area of security in the Niger Delta area and the country as a whole.

He noted that his country was particularly interested in what the future holds for the Niger Delta, adding that 2015 elections though far away has greatly impacted on the security of the country.

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BDIC: NEW ECONOMIC ROADMAP FOR A NEW BAYELSA By Daniel Iworiso-Markson

Driven by the likelihood that in the next 20 to 30 years we may experience dry oil wells all across the Niger Delta, which portends very dire consequences for all of us as a nation, particularly to those of us in the oil bearing states, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State only recently took the bull by the horns to begin the process of planning for a future without oil by setting up the Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC).

bdic sa screenshot

In the wisdom of Governor Dickson, with the advances in science and technology in the majoroil consumer economies, it is imperative that we take the issue of diversification of our economy seriously. So BDIC was set up to drive investments, create skills and develop a robust economicbase that can withstand the shock that will come the day after oil, which is why his administration is serious about investing in agriculture and tourism, among others, as alternativesto oil and gas.

The BDIC initiative is an integral component of the new Bayelsa that Governor Dickson often talks about. This new Bayelsa, many will readily admit, is fast becoming a reality. Virtually every facet of governance bears eloquent testimony to the emergence of this paradigm with distinct focus. It is all about the future. Intrinsic here, however, is that the critical pillars and catalyst that will enable us arrive fully at the new Bayelsa of our dream lies in our economic prosperity. And the strategic vehicle designed to convey us to that destination of economic prosperity is the Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC).

Speaking at the Inaugural Board Retreat of BDIC held at the weekend in Yenagoa, Governor Dickson pointed out that the new Bayelsa that we all crave, the new Bayelsa that we actually deserve, can only be founded on prosperity and security. “Government is building roads and bridges, schools and so on, but in vain do we do all of this, if these activities do not translate to economic prosperity and opportunities for our people”, he declared.

As the visioner and brain behind the BDIC, Governor Dickson was very clear about his expectations of the role of the body when he said, “We will like the BDIC to turn Bayelsa to the new Dubai of Africa and we can do it because we are a resilient and resourceful people.”

Even more profound, Governor Dickson did not mince words when he said that the restoration government under his watch is a believer in free enterprise. He believes that the private sector is best suited to promoting enterprise, creating wealth, sustaining development and government should therefore have very little business in running businesses. Hence, he believes from the work of BDIC that the people of the state will experience sustainable growth and development.

Giving insights to his conviction in setting up the BDIC, Governor Dickson had this to say:  “the actual job of creating wealth, developing skills, that has to be driven by a body of people put together in a way that can enable it to compete and do business is a private sector driven initiative. That is why we have come up with this body in this state. We have instances of the Odua Group, Ibile Holdings by the Lagos State Government, the  NNDC of old and other similar bodies in this country. Outside the country, you have sovereign entities like the IDC of South Africa, the one in Rwanda and so many others; those models exist and that is where we want to take our state to.”

In what may appear as setting a clear agenda for the BDIC, Governor Dickson said, going forward, all capital investments that have a business element will be undertaken by the BDIC. For example, it will be the duty of the BDIC to see how we can attract funding to projects that can add value to us, which is also an investment in nature.

Elucidating on the economic and financial requirements of needed infrastructure and benefits in the new thinking, the governor said, for example, if we want to complete the Tower Hotel in the state capital, the BDIC is in a better position to go to the market and talk to people and see how we can also attract expertise and blend the two to ensure that the project is completed on terms that are acceptable and fair.

Citing another example, the Contriman Governor noted the importance of constructing such strategic roads like the one linking Brass which, he said, is long overdue. Already three companies have been assigned to do the estimate and the least cost is N90 billion; that is from Nembe to Brass. He hinted that there is no way we can be taken seriously unless our state has that road to link the area where we have the Brass LNG. And getting the LNG started; expanding its opportunities for our people is another ball game. Again, these are areas where the BDIC will be best suited to handling the inter-related issues. With respect to the road to Agge, where we intend to have a deep sea port, there is already an application for a free trade zone in that area.

Stressing the importance of the task at hand for the body, Governor Dickson said all these arehuge investments which the BDIC can drive more actively to achieve intended objectives; adding that if we think carefully and well enough on such huge capital investments, they could also have some kind of economic and investment element to it. If other states are doing it, we too can think along that line.

“The point I am making is that, going forward, it is our intention to allow the BDIC drive capital investments that are of a commercial nature in whichever sector,” he stated.

Governor Dickson took time to clarify the status of the BDIC with respect to its function viz-a-viz the role of government: “Let me state for the records that the BDIC is not intended to take the place of the ministries in this state. The BDIC is not a body we have set up that is to be higher than the government of this state. The BDIC’s role is not policy formulation because that function will continue to reside in the state government and its formal organs. But it will be the duty of the BDIC to drive those activities that are investment related. So the BDIC, if you like, is an investment organ. The BDIC is an instrument for driving, attracting investments and alsodirectly investing.”

It is instructive to note that BDIC is a creation of our laws, wholly and fully set up as a distinct corporate entity devoid of the control and undue influence of government. It has a duly constituted board and management made up of some of the finest professionals in the country, some of whom have worked at the topmost level of management in very reputable blue chips companies in Nigeria and abroad.

What is working for the BDIC is the fact that it is coming into the market as a big player. It currently enjoys the capital injection of N10 billion from the Government of Bayelsa State. This is to enable the BDIC take off in earnest. According to Governor Dickson, the BDIC is not intended to be a paper tiger. Perhaps to underscore the sheer worth of this corporate entity, Governor Dickson has authorized the transfer of key assets owned by most of the other agencies and subsidiaries of government to the BDIC.

Also, it is interesting to note that some of the recent acquisitions that government has made since coming into power, for example, the acquisition of 53 percent stake in Linkage Assurance and other similar acquisitions have been put under the control of the BDIC and it is the responsibility of this corporate body to see how all these companies will be put to maximum advantage.

Hence, the BDIC is expected to leverage on existing assets that the state has in addition to the new acquisitions that will be made as part of its mandate to chart a new economic future for Bayelsa State that will guarantee its economic prosperity and security going forward.

 

The BDIC has already opened offices in South Africa, one in Johannesburg and the international head office in London. So come May 5th 2013, Governor Dickson is expected to lead a high powered delegation from Nigeria and having graciously gotten President Goodluck Jonathan to accept to perform the official commissioning  of the BDIC office in South Africa along with President Jacob Zuma. The opening of this office is to encourage BDIC to look at opportunities in the major markets, major economies with a view to establishing a formidable base for the state.

Governor Dickson’s dream about the BDIC is to chart a robust economic future for the state as well as use it as vehicle to re-create a road map that will birth the new Bayelsa of our dream. The realization of this dream is not anchored on oil and gas but through massive investment in agriculture and tourism, among other lucrative investments.  This is what he had to say: “We are very serious about promoting tourism and part of what I suggested to the Director General of the Tourism Development Agency is that by the time we are set and we have appropriate partners in that insurance area, we should be able to take a policy for every tourist that is visiting Bayelsa State. And when we prepare that and they know that we are already in their London and South African offices, they will have confidence in us.”

So the BDIC’s vision is to be an enabler for transforming Bayelsa State into one of the top economies not just in our country but in Africa.  Our mission is to protect, stimulate and grow the wealth of all Bayelsans through responsive, innovative and sustainable investments while acting as a catalyst for socio-economic development of our state.

Daniel Iworiso-Markson, Chief Press Secretary to Bayelsa Governor, sent this piece from Yenagoa.

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PERISCOPING SERIAKE DICKSON’S RESTORATION AGENDA AND THE BDIC INITIATIVE. – By Onoriode Akpe

When Bayelsa State was created  16 years ago, carved out of the previous Rivers State, it became obvious from inception that the fledgling state will face great challenges on the path of attaining the growth and development that autonomy had bestowed on her.
Those who reason that states creation should be guided by certain existing and potential economic indices for sustaining the existence of that state, including the unhindered possibilities of benefiting from internally generated revenue (IGR) to complement that from the federation account, will find out that the Bayelsa State example has survived against all odds.
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There is no gainsaying the fact that over the years, Bayelsa State has experienced growth and development of monumental proportions which of recent within the last twelve months, with H.E. Hon. Seriake Dickson on the driving seat, has been accelerated to embrace some promising economic initiatives that show that the Bayelsa of tomorrow is now beyond being just a dream.
The reality of this dawned on the very august gathering of Bayelsa’s best  brains, great and eminent sons and daughters of this great state, when at the inaugural board retreat that held in The Castle , Government House, Yenagoa from 22nd – 27th April, 2013,His Excellency, the Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, in a keynote address, opined  that indeed Bayelsa had the world’s best economists and investment gurus ever assembled by any   one state in Nigeria, brainstorming on the economic future of a state with a vision to create for our future generations an economic miracle, based on diversification beyond the  ebbing oil wealth of today.
To this extent His Excellency, the Governor, as he has always done at similar occasions, drew the attention of this eminent audience to the Oloibiri oil well experience, Nigeria’s first crude oil exploration location, which today has dried up and no longer gushing out oil, emphasizing that there is now, than ever before, an urgent need, in this regard, to diversify the economy of Bayelsa beyond oil.
Speaker after speaker identified the potentials of non-oil activity in the economy of Bayelsa state if the government maintains the tempo of the current enthusiasm to increase the opportunities inherent in self-development and enterprise in the state. Most of the papers presented pointedly addressed attention towards citizen participation with the government and and in that respect the dedicated contribution, collaboration in synergy with government’s efforts to stimulate the economic environment for the good and well-being of the people of Bayelsa State.
In identifying areas of citizen participation and collaboration with government and in addressing the  challenge of poverty and youth unemployment, it was noted that much attention is needed to be focused on  and agro-allied  activity in the communities and other interest like the aqua tourism  and related investment by government  which will alleviate poverty and  the pressure on job creation and youth engagement in the state.
The seriousness, with which the Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson, viewed the organisation of the inaugural board retreat of the Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation, was clearly demonstrated by his practical involvement in the deliberations and cross cutting discussions he engaged with the members.
Prior to the keynote address he presented, and the interactive session he  went further to conduct, during the retreat, a novel approach in good corporate governance, every member of the Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC), who sat through all the  sessions with His Excellency, experienced the passion  burning within the man, as he showed vividly his determination to leave behind a legacy as one of the builders of the new and modern Bayelsa State; a clear vision, a mission now embedded in the mandate of the BDIC which is vested with the task of becoming the strategic enabler of economic prosperity in the  new and emerging Bayelsa State.
Even in the content of the Keynote address of the Governor every Bayelsan could see in him the drive, the energy with which he wanted to use the BDIC to create the enabling environment for inflow of investments and creating a haven for investors to thrive in the planned industrialization of the state.
 According to His Excellency, “the new Bayelsa that we all crave for, the new Bayelsa that we actually deserve, that new Bayelsa can only be founded on prosperity and security. Government is building roads and bridges, schools and so on, but in vain do we do all of this, if these activities do not translate to economic prosperity and opportunities for our people”.
The presentations and comments ranged from those made by seasoned consultants and by members of the Advisory Council and board, who gave their all in the contents of the papers, with which every listener was inspired to envision the dream of tomorrows Bayelsa, and indeed that of an emerging oil-rich state, preparing to confront the future with a diversified economy well beyond its oil wealth.
It turned out that the banking community are also determined to partner with Bayelsa State as was succinctly expressed by the articulate Group Managing Director/CEO of a prominent bank Mr Kehinde Durosinmi-Etti, who said that much in his paper, as he gave an in-depth analysis of the advantages and serial benefits of  Public-Private Partnership initiatives  which are capable of stimulating growth and development in Bayelsa  State.
The comparative analysis by Mr Joseph Tegbe of KPMG dwelt copiously on practical case studies of publicly run organisations some which succeeded and some which failed, examining also the pitfalls and the lessons to be drawn from those instances. It was a good thing to hear and learn so that the future can be thus guided from repeating those mistakes in the planning by government for opening up the economic space and creating the enabling environment for enterprise to succeed in Bayelsa State.
While the programme lasted, the ventilation of ideas and the contribution from very successful Bayelsa born entrepreneurs like  Ben Murray Bruce of the famed Silverbird Group, esteemed speakers like Mr Iheanachor of the Lagos Business School and the group of  eminent members of the board, constituting the likes of Mrs Diezani-Alison-Madueke(CON);HRM King Alfred Papapriye Diete-Spiff(OFR,JP);HRM King Dr Edmund Maduuabebe Daukoru(ARSM,FIC,CON); HRM King Ebitimi Banigo (OFR) among many other prominent names coupled with the enduring presence of other well-articulated members of the Nigerian corporate and business community in the likes of HRH King Amalate Johnnie Turner JP, the Obigbo Mikimiki 1, Obanema of Opume,Ogbia, Chief Ayakeme Masa, Hon.Commissioner for Trade and Industry and Investment, Dr Timiebi Koripamo-Agary(OON), AVM Larry Koinyan(rtd) says a lot to  extol this initiative of Governor Seriake Dickson in pooling together  such an elite gathering of Bayelsans from all walks of life  and of various business interests, to consolidate the reality of implementation of his restoration agenda through the BDIC.
This unique economic outreach is worthy of emulation by other states in Nigeria, since it is obvious that when eminent and successful persons of notable pedigree in the national business and economic scene are invited to contribute to their individual states, the entire country will benefit in terms of increased output and thier Gross Domestic Product(GDP) will be boosted.
It is indeed obvious too, in addition, that this memorable economic and investment dashboard as being promoted by the Bayelsa State Government , has now become the  platform upon which the restoration agenda will be further hinged to stimulate and give propulsion that will take this emerging Bayelsa State to the apex of economic growth and development.
One cannot but be hopeful and encouraged that tomorrow will be good, will be prosperous, for all sons and daughters of Bayelsa State and Nigeria in general, especially that His Excellency, the Governor Hon. Seriake Dickson driving this vision, as he  ably demonstrated with the practical expression of support, when he made available, an initial capital  of N10 bn (Ten billion Naira) to jump-start the operations of the BDIC, with a view of  stimulating  investment and business growth in Bayelsa State.
In a few days, Governor Dickson is to lead a high powered delegation from Nigeria, to perform the official commissioning of the BDIC office in South Africa along with his South African counterpart, President Jacob Zuma.
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It is hoped that through its presence the BDIC will attract partnerships with Southern African investors on a PPP (public private partnership) basis into the identified economic sectors of Bayelsa State.
And in the words of the Countryman Governor,”the BDIC’s vision is to be an enabler for transforming Bayelsa State into one of the top economies not just in our country but also in Africa.  Our mission is to protect, stimulate and grow the wealth of all Bayelsans through responsive, innovative and sustainable investments while acting as a catalyst for socio-economic development of our state.” This indeed is the beginning of economic restoration for Bayelsa State, the glory of all lands.
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(Onoriode Akpe, is the Senior Special Assistant on Electronic Media Aide to the Governor of Bayelsa State Hon.Seriake Dickson, writes from Yenogoa)
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BAYELSA GOVT DISTRIBUTES FREE SCHOOL UNIFORMS, BOOKS, AND OTHER EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS TO SCHOOLS, AWARD N550M CONTRACT FOR MORE TEXT BOOKS AND UNIFORMS

Bayelsa State Government has commenced the distribution of free uniforms, text books and other materials valued at N 776 m to primary and secondary school pupils in the State in line with the present administration’s free and compulsory education policy.
Also, the State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson announced the award of a contract for the supply of additional text books to secondary schools worth N500m, additional an approval of N50m to local government areas for the provision of school uniforms.
Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson (2ndleft) presenting free educational materials to Godswill Bernard (3rdleft)  of Mathias Primary School during the flag-off ceremony for the distribution of   free education materials  at Government in Yenagoa, while the Commissioner for Education, Mr. Salo Adkumo (left) Chairman, British –African Alliance, Mr. David Smith (2ndright) Mayowa Olawale of BDGS (righ) and ThankGod Ekamugha (3rdright) look on. Photo by Lucky Francis

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (left) presenting free education materials to Mayowa Olawale of BDGS (2nd left) during the flag-off ceremony of distribution of free education materials in Yenagoa, While the Chairman of British-African Alliance, Mr.David Smith (2nd right) and ThankGod Ekamugha (right) look on. Photo by lucky Francis

Leading other notable dignitaries including Chairman of the British African Alliance; David Smith, South Africa Counsellor for Political and Economic Affairs, Thandi Mkowaki at the flag off ceremony for the distribution of Free Education Materials held inside the Banquet Hall of Government House, Yenagoa, the Governor said the distribution of Free Educational materials was in line with the cardinal objectives of his administration.
The distribution of Free Education materials, according to the Governor kicked off with the provision of school materials including uniforms to 100,000 pupils in the State while delivery of additional 100,000 will be taken in due course.
Noting the increasing number of pupils and students in schools, Hon. Dickson said it has become necessary for Government to make additional provision for those at the grass root level.
 ‘As at now, we have only 100,000 uniforms to give, we have another 100,000 uniforms yet to be delivered but even until those ones come, we are giving N5m to six local governments based on their population, while Yenagoa and Southern Ijaw will have N10m each.
This is just the first instalment. We want you to try your best, work prudently and ensure that these things go down well. We know that it will not be enough, once you exhaust it, you come back to us and we will make more releases.
‘‘As part of our empowerment programme, the contract for the sowing of the additional uniforms will be awarded to the competent fashion designers in each of the local government areas”.
On the new contract for the provision of additional text books, the Governor said it was to ensure that all the students and pupils in the State benefit from the scheme.
Describing education as an instrument of change and prosperity, the Governor reiterated his administration’s commitment to improving the standard of education, adding that with sound educational policy, the State will rank among the best in the comity of states.
“When I took over a mantle of leadership over a year ago, I declared a State of Emergency in the sector, education for us is an instrument of change, promoting development, prosperity and safeguarding the future of our state.
Earlier in his address, the State Commissioner of Education, Chief Salo Adikumo disclosed that, government spent N180m for the provision of 100,000 pairs of uniform, N480m for  1,860,000,000 text books, N114m for 512,000 note books, N1,470,000 for 980 school bags, N300,000 for 1,016,000 pairs of socks, in addition to the provision of 483,000 pairs of shoes.
Highlighting the achievements of the present administration, Hon. Adikumo said the government has embarked on the reconstruction of over 200 dilapidated public primary and secondary school buildings across the state.
He explained that, some of the structures are being remodelled to provide for ICT, libraries, science laboratories, and toilet facilities.
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GOV DICKSON WANTS STATES AND THE FG TO PRIORITIZE DEV OF SMALL AND MEDIUM SCALE ENTERPRISES

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has advocated that development of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises be made top priority to jump-start the economy of the country.

Governor Dickson stated this when a representative of the Director-General of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Mr. Olawale Fasanya visited him at Government House, Yenagoa.

The Governor pointed out that the promotion of small businesses should not only be encouraged in Bayelsa but the country as whole to serve as a catalyst to stimulate the country’s economy, which is currently a consumer one.

In his words: “I want to enjoin all of us to address the issue of promoting SMEs because that is the fastest way to fast track the growth of the economy. Here in this state, I want to assure you that the development of SMEs is a critical cornerstone of our restoration government because that is why we say we are broadening the base of our economy. We want people to come and do business here and we also have a duty to stimulate enterprise, bridge their finance needs and skill deficiencies.

Hon. Dickson noted that the major thrust of his administration’s policies and programmes was geared towards improving small and medium scale enterprises to create wealth, employment and enhance skills as well as reduce the dependence on foreign products.

“Small and Medium Scale Enterprises are the way to go particularly in an economy such as ours that is over-dependence on products that come from outside our shores. So we are very passionate about this sector and I want to this sector blossom in Bayelsa so that we can create wealth, employment and generate skills. Going forward, this is one area that is going to form a major plank of our social investment policy.

He however attributed the delay in the disbursement of funds already made available for the sector to some logistic problems which are being streamlined to enable Bayelsans participate actively and become stakeholders in the local economy.

Governor Dickson who expressed government’s willingness to explore the full range of the opportunities that SMEDAN has to offer,  thanked the agency for taking special interest in the state to expand its economic base.

Earlier in his remarks, representative of the Director General of SMEDAN, Mr. Olawale Fasanya said a recent survey conducted indicated that over 400 people are involved in SMEs in Bayelsa State.

To this end, he said the agency has been mandated to collaborate with the state on ways SMEDAN could promote small businesses.

Mr. Fasanya also explained that the National Enterprise Development Programme under SMEDAN is expected to be launched soon by the President and Bayelsa has been penciled down as one of the states where the programme would start.

According to him, the programme involves getting the state to nominate what he called, Business Development Service Volunteers who will be trained to mentor the SMEs that have been identified in the state.

Mr. Fasanya said SMEDAN has been involved in training about 200 women in the state in the past, under the Rural Women Development Programme.

GOV DICKSON DONATES N250M TO SME TRUST FUND, URGES MULTI-NATIONALS TO CONTRIBUTE TO FUND

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson has made an initial donation of N250 million to the development of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Trust Fund in the state.

Governor Dickson made the donation at the Small and Medium scale Enterprises Summit, MSME Opportunity Fair and Entrepreneurial Capacity Building Workshop with the theme, “Re-Orientation; A Necessary Key To Wealth Creation and Restoration Through SMEs”, in Yenagoa, the State capital.

The Governor urged all, especially the multinational oil companies operating in the state to donate generously to the trust fund; stressing that working together they could enthrone enduring peace and stability in the state for businesses to thrive.

He also enjoined businessmen and women to adopt the young entrepreneurs in the state’s mentorship programme, describing SMEs as a catalyst for self-reliance and industrial development.

While highlighting the challenges bedeviling the sector in the state, Hon. Dickson decried the situation where Bayelsa has been turned into what he referred to as “a dumping ground” as 90 percent of what the people consume is produced outside the state.

To tackle the problem militating against SMEs, the Governor advocated that empowerment programmes should be targeted at more women than men as they hold the key to fighting poverty.

In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Trade, Industry and Investment, Mr. Ayakeme Massah, stressed the importance of small businesses in the creation of wealth and jobs to grow the economy of the state.

The Senior Special Assistant on SMEs, Mr. Ebiekare Eradiri presented a summary of the report of the state’s SME Mentoring Scheme and noted that a N10 billion target is expected in the SMEs Development Trust Fund.

Representative of the Director General of SMEDAN, Mr. Olawale Fasanya, said the agency was in the state to address the problems associated with SMEs.

In their separate speeches, the South African Counsellor for Political and Economic Affairs, Thandi Nkowati and Guest Speaker living in the United Kingdom, Chief Bimbo Afolayan, said SMEs play a vital role in economies especially developing ones as they contribute 57 percent to Gross Domestic Product.

They identified inability to access funds and skills as challenges in the sector and advocated partnership with the Small and Medium scale Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, (SMEDAN)

GOV DICKSON BLAMES INSUFFICIENT INVESTMENT IN HUMAN CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT, FAILURE OF CRITICAL INSTITUTIONS FOR NATION’S SECURITY CHALLENGES

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon Seriake Dickson has attributed the country’s security challenges to insufficient investment in human capacity development and failure of most critical state institutions.
 Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (left) makes a symbolic presentation the State’s Coat of Arms to the visiting Director General of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Prof. Tijjani Mohammed-Bande, during a courtesy call on the Governor by members of Senior Executive Course No.35,2013, of the National Institute, at the Government House,  Yenagoa.


Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (left) makes a symbolic presentation the State’s Coat of Arms to the visiting Director General of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Prof. Tijjani Mohammed-Bande, during a courtesy call on the Governor by members of Senior Executive Course No.35,2013, of the National Institute, at the Government House, Yenagoa.

The Governor stated this when the Director-General and participants of Course 35 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, near Jos in Plateau State paid him a courtesy call at Government House, Yenagoa.
Hon. Dickson, who identified the provision of a secure environment as the first responsibility of government, vowed that his administration would not compromise in the maintenance of law and order.
He maintained that the present administration has in the past one year made appropriate investments in the provision of law and order, adding that more efforts will still be made in that direction to ensure a safer environment for socio-economic activities to thrive.
His words; “Here, in the past one year, we have made a lot of investment in the maintenance of law and order, putting the right structures and laws in place and also send the clear message that leadership has no business compromising law and order.  Within one year, we have been able to provide this level of security and peace and tranquillity that you are going to witness as you go out there to interact with the people of the state.
“But we are not yet where we ought to be.  That is why we are working with our partners to see how we can make even our waterways safe so that our strategic assets will be secured and our people who live along the waterways will also be safe.
While commending the Director-General and Staff of NIPSS for keeping the dreams of its founding fathers alive, Governor Dickson urged the Institute to carry out objective assessment of their findings to promote good governance in the country.
“We will like to remind the Institute to do more and tell us what we are not doing right.  Only the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies have the institutional and structural capacity to dig deep into the issues we have talked about here (security challenges).
“But in spite of these challenges, our country has the potential of being one of the greatest nations in the world especially with the President’s transformation agenda and the enthusiasm, which I know players at all levels are working hard to ensure that we make life more meaningful for our people.
Expressing delight at the visit, the Governor directed all government officials to interact freely with the NIPSS’s team to enable them have a dispassionate assessment of what the current administration is doing in the state.
“I hereby direct all government officials to interact closely with you on what we are doing in terms of reforms in the governance culture, and what we are doing on transparency and accountability because we hold power at the mercy of our people.”
Continuing, he said “we have issues of pollution and environmental degradation; those are very serious matters and in this state much more than any other state you will visit because this is where oil production and exploration started in 1956.  I hope you will find time to visit places like Oloibiri, which is now a metaphor of the day after oil.”
“And that is why in the new Bayelsa we are also working hard to diversify the base of our economy and prepare our state for the day after oil.  And we are doing so by mobilising resources to invest in agriculture and tourism.
Earlier in his remarks, the Director-General of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Professor Tijani Mohammed-Bande enjoined Nigerians not to despair in the face of the current challenges but rather support the present administration’s transformation agenda to move the nation forward.
Professor Mohammed-Bande, who lauded the Governor on his developmental strides, noted that the institute was embarking on study tour to all the states with a view to putting together a report that will promote good governance and security in the country.