THE COURAGE TO DARE: TWO YEARS OF THE RESTORATION AGENDA

THE COURAGE TO DARE: TWO YEARS OF THE RESTORATION AGENDA.

“No problem is insurmountable. With a little courage, teamwork and determination a person can overcome anything.” B. Dodge.

hsd2February 14, 2012 is a date that would remain indelible in the minds of Bayelsans and Nigerians at large. It is a date that is globally acclaimed to be the day for lovers, Saint Valentines day, but to the people of Bayelsa State in South-South Nigeria it marked a watershed in the history of Bayelsa State, which was then barely 15 years old. It was the day Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson was sworn in as the fourth civilian governor of the state.

In the course of his campaigns prior to the elections that brought him into office, he had traversed the length and breadth of the state promising change and the restoration of the lost glory of the state. Having won the elections decisively, the inauguration ceremony was more or less a symbolic event which accorded him an opportunity to appreciate the people for their support and the mandate they had freely given to him to serve. He also used the opportunity elaborate on the cardinal points of his manifesto christened the ‘Restoration Agenda’.
In the two years of his assumption of office, the Dickson administration has addressed head on the litanny of problems it inherited. As a result of his far-reaching programmes and policies, which have endeared him to the people, he now goes by several appellations such as ‘contriman governor’, ‘restoration governor’, ‘talknado governor’ and the like. Hon. Dickson has come to be regarded widely as the architect of the new era and has without doubt established a paradigm shift in the culture of governance and with great emphasis on transformation and sacrifice. He stepped into the seat of Government in Creek Haven with a determined zeal, creative ingenuity and a courage to dare.
He has by dint of hard work and strength of character led by example, affirming his credibility as a visionary leader. He has succeeded in proving doubting Thomas’s wrong, giving hope to the people of Bayelsa State that tomorrow will certainly be better.

The march towards restoration as severally emphasized by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, is no doubt one that can only be achieved by uncommon imagination and commitment. Drawing on the exertion of the state’s founding fathers and some of his predecessors, Governor Dickson has thrust the state into the frontlines of national development and remarkable events.

First and foremost he has been able to successfully promote a new ethos of governance where transparency and accountability has been assured by open governance as exemplified with the publication of the state’s income and expenditure profile on a monthly basis. The practice has been made statutory through the Bayelsa Income and Transparency Bill 2012. Unlike the locust years, savings have been made mandatory through the multi-billion Naira Bayelsa Strategic Reserve and Savings Account. These initiatives, products of visionary leadership will serve to protect the interest of the people now and in the future.

In realization of the fact that there can be no meaningful development without security and given the precarious security situation his administration met on ground, Governor Dickson a former law enforcement officer and one time Attorney General, fully appreciated the challenges and immediately set out to put counter measures in place. These include the constitution of a security team with an exceptional track record and ability to run the security apparatus in the state. From their efforts emerged the Bayelsa State Integrated Security Strategy (BISS), a formidable strategy which sought to engineer security by emphasizingintelligence based policing with massive community participation and large scale infusion of modern security technology.
Having set the stage for the people to truly reap the dividends of democracy, Governor Dickson proceeded swiftly to deliver on his promises to the people.
The state has become, in what is now popular parlance, a huge construction site, fielding reputable international contractors that have all been engaged in the construction of major road projects which have further opened up the state to further growth and development.
Education has long been recognized as a central element of development. The Dickson Administration in line with this accorded the sector premium attention in the new scheme of state building by declaring a state of emergency during his swearing in ceremony.
Hon Henry Seriake Dickson, has reduced the economic burden of child education in Bayelsa State, while ushering thousands of youths onto new vista of self-development and empowerment. Education at primary and post primary school levels is now free and compulsory and Model Secondary Schools are being constructed in all local government areas in the state.

Governor Dickson has succeeded in positioning education as a major tool for development in the state through massive investments in education, which is destined to transform the state in a few years time.
By its conscious provision of health infrastructure across the state, the Dickson Administration has indeed given further coloration to its restoration drive. The state government has constructed and is still building modern referral health institutions in all local government areas of the state.

On assumption of duty, the present administration was confronted with transportation problems in the state capital especially the menace of Okada riders leading to avoidable deaths and degree of injuries due to the serious effects of accidents they were exposed to on the roads. With a clear idea of the situation and what was needed to restore order,safety and decency in the state capital, the state government decided to modernize commercial transportation in Yenagoa. Effectively, government banned the operation of motorcycles commonly known as Okada and launched the state transport scheme with the provision of 200 Taxi Cabs and 12 Restoration Buses as well. A driving school was also established with driving stimulators and to be manned by ten engineers trained in the USA.
The promotion of tourism in Bayelsa State is based on the premise that when fully developed, tourism which is the world’s fastest growing industry, has the potential of providing jobs for thousands of Bayelsans.
For Bayelsa State therefore, tourism is the future. With the establishment of the Bayelsa State Tourism Board (BSTB) and the Bayelsa State Institute of Tourism, Catering and Hotel Management, the Dickson Administration is well on its way to fulfilling its promise of providing alternative income for the state beyond oil.
In 2013 alone, the state successfully hosted the Most Beautiful Girl Pageant in Yenagoa, the United Nations Conference on Under Water Cultural Heritage and Imaging, the Caribbean African American Music Awards, an International Jazz Festival, the Centenary Pageant and the Africa Movie Academy Awards all of which captured global attention.

In expanding the scope of tourism in the state, the Dickson Administration has commenced work on the proposed Yenagoa Tourism Island; an international Golf course and estate, which will feature luxury hotels, a polo club and other recreational facilities. To support the growing tourism industry a School of Tourism , Catering and Hospitality Management has been set up for the development of necessary manpower to make the sector thrive.

There is no doubt that Bayelsa State is gradually emerging as a vibrant entertainment spot for the convergence of global stars, which is a deliberate action of government aimed at ultimately making the state a preferred destination for investors and tourists in the nearest future.
The Dickson Administration has exhibited great concern over the state of electricity supply that was inherited from the previous administration; in spite of the billions of naira that was invested in the sector by the previous administration, electricity supply dwindled with an adverse effect on productivity in the state across board.

To achieve better power supply and engender the growth of industrialization in the state, the Dickson-led Restoration Government has signed a memorandum of understanding with the IPP Energy Limited, leasing partners, for the development of 100 megawatts gas turbine power station for the state. This is coming on the heels of the overhauling of the existing gas turbine plant by its manufacturers in order to make it functional again.

Bayelsa lies in a riverine environment with mangrove and tropical rain forest climates that support round the year farming of both aquaculture and agricultural products.
Governor Dickson has consistently indicated his desire to provide an enabling platform for Bayelsa State’s continued growth even without its present economic mainstay – oil.
To the Governor, agriculture has the potential to provide thousands of jobs, feed the population and ultimately create opportunities for export. With this in mind he has keenly pursued an agenda, which will transform agriculture from its present rudimentary level to one, which is fully mechanized. This is the basis for training five hundred youths in modern agricultural practices and methods at Songhai farms in Benin Republic.
This and other such worthy initiatives centered on the agricultural sector will undoubtedly develop the sector and earn the state impressive revenue in the nearest future.

Women and youth development is an aspect of interest in Bayelsa State which Governor Dickson has held close to his heart. Only recently, a total of about five hundred million naira was disbursed to various women cooperative groups across the state as a first phase in the administration’s women empowerment programme. The aim here is to ensure that women, especially those at the grassroots are sufficiently empowered to meet their personal needs.

In the same vein, some two hundred and fifty youth have benefited from the Dickson administration’s large heartedness by obtaining state sponsorship for vocational training in automobile technology, cinematography, photography, fashion designing and information and communication technology at the King Amachree Academy in Benin Republic.
Furthermore over 10,000 youths recently denounced cultism and have registered in a biometric registration process in preparation for youth empowerment scheme designed to train and equip young male and female Bayelsans with life skills.

These lofty initiatives are clear indications of the fact that the Restoration Government has a human face and is one that is poised to ensure that the dividends of democracy trickle down to even the most vulnerable groups in society.
For an independent judiciary in the state, Governor Dickson had the Bayelsa State Financial Autonomy Bill introduced in the State House of Assembly and passed into law in October 2012. It was a first in the legislative history of Nigeria and bore testimony to the Governor’s unwavering commitment to good governance.
The Government of Bayelsa State is diversifying the economic base of the state so that other sectors can contribute to the GDP of the state. Steps have been taken to ensure the success of diversification by establishing enabling laws and appropriate bodies such as the Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC), Bayelsa Investments Promotion Agency (BIPA), to drive the diversification and deliver on the mandate. The agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, power and marine sectors will be the central focus in this drive to ensure that Bayelsa State continues to be relevant nationally and globally even without oil.

In view of the overwhelming activities of the Dickson Administration in just two years, there is no denying the fact the foundation for a new Bayelsa State has been laid.
The years 2012 to 2014 have been remarkable in many ways hitherto unknown in the political history of the state. At the seat of power is a leader who has continued to prove his mettle as a visionary and rare breed politician. He brought with him a new philosophy of governance and a passion that is assuredly redemptive. Indeed he had the courage to dare.

The citizen-centered policies of Governor Henry Seriake Dickson have ushered in an era of hope and progress in Bayelsa State. In the two years left in his first tenure, there is no doubt that Bayelsans will witness more of the Dickson magic to warrant a second tenure for the contriman governor as he strives to turn the glory of all lands into the ‘Dubai of Africa”.

Onoriode Akpe, is the Senior Special Assistant to the Bayelsa State Governor on Electronic Media and Head Media, Bayelsa House, Abuja.

GOV. DICKSON TASKS POLITICAL CLASS ON SERVICE

16/02/2014
GOV. DICKSON TASKS POLITICAL CLASS ON SERVICE
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has urged the political class in the country to make service their watchword with a view to making a positive impact in the lives of those they govern.
He also charged the citizenry to contribute meaningfully to the nation’s growth and development by living up to their civic responsibilities, stressing that responsible citizenship carries with it certain obligations.
The Governor was speaking at a dinner/command performance marking his administration’s second anniversary at the banquet hall, Government House in Yenagoa.
The ceremony also featured presentation of productivity merit award to over thirty public sector workers and organizations with the Rwandan High Commissioner to Nigeria, Amb Joseph Habineza in attendance.
Other notable personalities at the occasion include the immediate past Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Ogiadhome, former Governor of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, wife of the Bayelsa State Governor Rachel, his deputy Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (Rtd), foremost poet, Dr Gabriel Okara, former and serving National Assembly members from the state as well as traditional rulers.
According to Hon Dickson, Nigeria will develop faster if leaders and citizens alike appreciate its diversity as an asset and make collective efforts at fighting against the challenges confronting the country.
While, underscoring the importance of national unity, the Governor took a swipe on politicians and political parties that are fanning the embers of strife and disintegration.
He noted that despite the premeditated attacks on the Peoples Democratic Party-led federal government by forces who do not mean well for the country, the party remains resolute in its determination to move the nation forward and promote national integration and stability.
Alluding to the current spate of defections in the nation’s polity, the Bayelsa State Governor said, “The other party inherited some toxic assets but our party, Africa’s largest and the only truly national party in Nigeria stands for national integration and stability of our dear country.
“The people that have come to join us are true assets. People like Their Excellencies Ibrahim shekarau, Atahiru Bafarawa, my good friend Dele Belgore and other well-meaning Nigerians who have come to join us in the PDP. We believe that our platform is not built on the faultlines of our country. Whether those faultlines are ethnicity, religion or class, our platform is for all Nigerians. And I want to thank all other worthy leaders who have taken the right step.
Continuing, he maintained that, “responsible citizenship carries with it an obligation to contribute to the general wellbeing. I also believe that those of us who have an opportunity to serve truly have the opportunity to serve not just man but God Himself from whom authority over human beings flows. We must not fail to remember that we are in service to make a difference.”
On his performance, the Governor noted that the present administration has made appreciable progress in critical sectors of education, infrastructure and security in the last two years even as he identified human capacity development as the greatest challenge of the state.
He however stated that, appropriate measures were being put in place to address the problem as no society, according to him, can have a sustainable future that is not anchored on human capital.
Governor Dickson said it was in realization of this fact that his administration swiftly embarked on the building of educational institutions including the schools of agriculture and tourism as well as initiated various scholarship schemes for Bayelsans to study within and outside the country.
His words, “Our investments are not just limited to the roads that you see or the schools that we are building all over. In every Local Government Area, you can count about 25 projects ranging from schools to hospitals not to talk of the major infrastructural turnaround that is evident in the state capital. As we speak, we have over 150 PhD scholars spread across the length and breadth of the world; over 400 are also on scholarship for masters’ degree programmes. In fact, next week the team going to Lincoln University will leave for the United States of America because we have paid all their fees up to date.
He thanked Bayelsans and all friends of the State for their support and assured them of his administration’s commitment to consolidating on the achievements recorded so far, expressing hope that the foundations laid in the past two years would achieve more aggressive sustainable development for the state.
Highpoint of the occasion was the cutting of the anniversary cake and presentations by various artistes and cultural troupes including the state council for arts and culture, and UMOZA from Johannesburg, South Africa.
Daniel Iworiso-Markson
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State

THE COURAGE TO DARE: TWO YEARS OF THE RESTORATION AGENDA.

THE COURAGE TO DARE: TWO YEARS OF THE RESTORATION AGENDA.
 
“No problem is insurmountable. With a little courage, teamwork and determination a person can overcome anything.” B. Dodge.
Transparency Plaza construction works.

Transparency Plaza construction works.

In the course of his campaigns prior to the elections that brought him into office, he had traversed the length and breadth of the state promising change and the restoration of the lost glory of the state. Having won the elections decisively, the inauguration ceremony was more or less a symbolic event which accorded him an opportunity to appreciate the people for their support and the mandate they had freely given to him to serve. He also used the opportunity elaborate on the cardinal points of his manifesto christened the ‘Restoration Agenda’.
In the two years of his assumption of office, the Dickson administration has addressed head on the litanny of problems it inherited.  As a result of his far-reaching programmes and policies, which have endeared him to the people, he now goes by several appellations such as ‘contriman governor’, ‘restoration governor’, ‘talknado governor’ and the like. Hon. Dickson has come to be regarded widely as the architect of the new era and has without doubt established a paradigm shift in the culture of governance and with great emphasis on transformation and sacrifice. He stepped into the seat of Government in Creek Haven with a determined zeal, creative ingenuity and a courage to dare.
He has by dint of hard work and strength of character led by example, affirming his credibility as a visionary leader.  He has succeeded in proving doubting Thomas’s wrong, giving hope to the people of Bayelsa State that tomorrow will certainly be better.
The march towards restoration as severally emphasized by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, is no doubt one that can only be achieved by uncommon imagination and commitment. Drawing on the exertion of the state’s founding fathers and some of his predecessors, Governor Dickson has thrust the state into the frontlines of national development and remarkable events.
First and foremost he has been able to successfully promote a new ethos of governance where transparency and accountability has been assured by open governance as exemplified with  the publication of the state’s income and expenditure profile on a monthly basis. The practice has been made statutory through the Bayelsa Income and Transparency Bill 2012. Unlike the locust years, savings have been made mandatory through the multi-billion Naira Bayelsa Strategic Reserve and Savings Account.  These initiatives, products of visionary leadership will serve to protect the interest of the people now and in the future.
In realization of the fact that there can be no meaningful development without security and given the precarious security situation his administration met on ground, Governor Dickson a former law enforcement officer and one time Attorney General, fully appreciated the challenges and immediately set out to put counter measures in place. These include the constitution of a security team with an exceptional track record and ability to run the security apparatus in the state. From their efforts emerged the Bayelsa State Integrated Security Strategy (BISS), a formidable strategy which sought to engineer security by emphasizingintelligence based policing with massive community participation and large scale infusion of modern security technology.
Having set the stage for the people to truly reap the dividends of democracy, Governor Dickson proceeded swiftly to deliver on his promises to the people.
The state has become, in what is now popular parlance, a huge construction site, fielding reputable international contractors that have all been engaged in the construction of major road projects which have further opened up the state to further growth and development.
Education has long been recognized as a central element of development. The Dickson Administration in line with this accorded the sector premium attention in the new scheme of state building by declaring a state of emergency during his swearing in ceremony.
Hon Henry Seriake Dickson, has reduced the economic burden of child education in Bayelsa State, while ushering thousands of youths onto new vista of self-development and empowerment. Education at primary and post primary school levels is now free and compulsory and Model Secondary Schools are being constructed in all local government areas in the state.
Governor Dickson has succeeded in positioning education as a major tool for development in the state through massive investments in education, which is destined to transform the state in a few years time.
By its conscious provision of health infrastructure across the state, the Dickson Administration has indeed given further coloration to its restoration drive. The state government has constructed and is still building modern referral health institutions in all local government areas of the state.
On assumption of duty, the present administration was confronted with transportation problems in the state capital especially the menace of Okada riders leading to avoidable deaths and degree of injuries due to the serious effects of accidents they were exposed to on the roads. With a clear idea of the situation and what was needed to restore order,safety and decency in the state capital, the state government decided to modernize commercial transportation in Yenagoa. Effectively, government banned the operation of  motorcycles commonly known as Okada and  launched the state transport scheme with the provision of 200 Taxi Cabs and 12 Restoration Buses as well. A driving school was also established with driving stimulators and to be manned by ten engineers trained in the USA.
The promotion of tourism in Bayelsa State is based on the premise that when fully developed, tourism which is the world’s fastest growing industry, has the potential of providing jobs for thousands of Bayelsans.
For Bayelsa State therefore, tourism is the future. With the establishment of the Bayelsa State Tourism Board (BSTB) and the Bayelsa State Institute of Tourism, Catering and Hotel Management, the Dickson Administration is well on its way to fulfilling its promise of providing alternative income for the state beyond oil.
In 2013 alone, the state successfully hosted the Most Beautiful Girl Pageant in Yenagoa, the United Nations Conference on Under Water Cultural Heritage and Imaging, the Caribbean African American Music Awards, an International Jazz Festival, the Centenary Pageant and the Africa Movie Academy Awards all of which captured global attention.
In expanding the scope of tourism in the state, the Dickson Administration has commenced work on the proposed Yenagoa Tourism Island; an international Golf course and estate, which will feature luxury hotels, a polo club and other recreational facilities.  To support the growing tourism industry a School of Tourism , Catering and Hospitality Management has been set up for the development of necessary manpower to make the sector thrive.
There is no doubt that Bayelsa State is gradually emerging as a vibrant entertainment spot for the convergence of global stars, which is a deliberate action of government aimed at ultimately making the state a preferred destination for investors and tourists in the nearest future.
The Dickson Administration has exhibited great concern over the state of electricity supply that was inherited from the previous administration; in spite of the billions of naira that was invested in the sector by the previous administration, electricity supply dwindled with an adverse effect on productivity in the state across board.
To achieve better power supply and engender the growth of industrialization in the state, the Dickson-led Restoration Government has signed a memorandum of understanding with the IPP Energy Limited, leasing partners, for the development of 100 megawatts gas turbine power station for the state. This is coming on the heels of the overhauling of the existing gas turbine plant by its manufacturers in order to make it functional again.
Bayelsa lies in a riverine environment with mangrove and tropical rain forest climates that support round the year farming of both aquaculture and agricultural products.
Governor Dickson has consistently indicated his desire to provide an enabling platform for Bayelsa State’s continued growth even without its present economic mainstay – oil.
To the Governor, agriculture has the potential to provide thousands of jobs, feed the population and ultimately create opportunities for export. With this in mind he has keenly pursued an agenda, which will transform agriculture from its present rudimentary level to one, which is fully mechanized.  This is the basis for training five hundred youths in modern agricultural practices and methods at Songhai farms in Benin Republic.
This and other such worthy initiatives centered on the agricultural sector will undoubtedly develop the sector and earn the state impressive revenue in the nearest future.
Women and youth development is an aspect of interest in  Bayelsa State which Governor Dickson has held close to his heart. Only recently, a total of about five hundred million naira was disbursed to various women cooperative groups across the state as a first phase in the administration’s women empowerment programme. The aim here is to ensure that women, especially those at the grassroots are sufficiently empowered to meet their personal needs.
In the same vein, some two hundred and fifty youth have benefited from the Dickson administration’s large heartedness by obtaining state sponsorship for vocational training in automobile technology, cinematography, photography, fashion designing and information and communication technology at the King Amachree Academy in Benin Republic.
Furthermore over 10,000 youths recently denounced cultism and have registered in a biometric registration process in preparation for youth empowerment scheme designed to train and equip young male and female Bayelsans with life skills.
These lofty initiatives are clear indications of the fact that the Restoration Government has a human face and is one that is poised to ensure that the dividends of democracy trickle down to even the most vulnerable groups in society.
For an independent judiciary in the state, Governor Dickson had the Bayelsa State Financial Autonomy Bill introduced in the State House of Assembly and passed into law in October 2012. It was a first in the legislative history of Nigeria and bore testimony to the Governor’s unwavering commitment to good governance.
The Government of Bayelsa State is diversifying the economic base of the state so that other sectors can contribute to the GDP of the state. Steps have been taken to ensure the success of  diversification by establishing enabling laws and appropriate bodies such as the Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC), Bayelsa Investments Promotion Agency (BIPA), to drive the diversification and deliver on the mandate. The agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, power and marine sectors will be the central focus in this drive to ensure that Bayelsa State continues to be relevant nationally and globally even without oil.
In view of the overwhelming activities of the Dickson Administration in just two years, there is no denying the fact the foundation for a new Bayelsa State has been laid.
The years 2012 to 2014 have been remarkable in many ways hitherto unknown in the political history of the state. At the seat of power is a leader who has continued to prove his mettle as a visionary and rare breed politician. He brought with him a new philosophy of governance and a passion that is assuredly redemptive. Indeed he had the courage to dare.
The citizen-centered policies of Governor Henry Seriake Dickson have ushered in an era of hope and progress in Bayelsa State. In the two years left in his first tenure, there is no doubt that Bayelsans will witness more of the Dickson magic to warrant a second tenure for the contriman governor as he strives to turn the glory of all lands into the ‘Dubai of Africa”.  
Onoriode Akpe, is the Senior Special Assistant to the Bayelsa State Governor on Electronic Media and Head Media, Bayelsa House, Abuja.

Nigeria: Tribute to Countriman Governor At 48

Governor Dickson cutting birthday cake. Photo courtesy Mienpamo Onitsha Saint.

When the Literary giant, William Shakespeare opined that some people are born great, others achieve greatness, while others have greatness thrust upon them, he had the likes of the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson at heart. The governor’s odyssey in life since his birth shows that he is a naturally born great man. This is not to say there were no vicissitudes at the period of his birth and boyhood which worked to no avail to deny humanity this rare gift.

On Tuesday, January 28, the Valentine Governor whom we fondly call the Country-man will clock 48 years. Having survived a lot of battles especially in the political space, one would have expected the governor to roll out the drums to celebrate with pomp but he has refused to mark the day. To the consternation of many of his aides and government officials, the governor banned congratulatory messages on his birthday and advised those who wish to do so to channel their resources to charity organizations and orphanage homes. But Governor Dickson’s pronouncement didn’t come as a surprise to me because he was simply living up to his conviction as a Countryman! Typical of the Restoration Governor, he will be on ground on Tuesday to attend to files, hold meetings and intensify his inspection of projects to ensure that they are executed in line with specifications and global standards. Governor Dickson’s 48th birthday comes up 17 days before his government’s two year anniversary which is precisely on February 14, Valentine day.

In less than two years on the saddle, Governor Dickson has changed the governance culture in Bayelsa State, making fear of God, service delivery, uncommon courage, transparency and accountability the cornerstone of his administration. The multiplier effect of this philosophy is the ongoing massive transformation in all sectors. While the church in Nigeria celebrates Dickson as the only governor that promulgated Thanksgiving Law by setting aside November 2 of every year as Thanksgiving Day in Bayelsa State, not many Nigerians know that the Countryman remains the only governor in Nigeria that renders account of stewardship to the people on a monthly basis in a town hall meeting where the accruals to the state, IGR and expenditure are laid bare for public scrutiny.

In the last 22 months, over 350 kilometres of roads have been completed across the state, 15 bridges were constructed and over 50 public buildings/ schools completed, the secretariat of the Traditional Rulers Council in Yenagoa, a modern Police Officers’ Mess, School of Tourism and Catering Management have been completed. Rehabilitation of the Glory Land Cultural Centre and the Government House Clinic among others are now completed and are being put to use. Road linking the old and new campuses of the state owned Niger Delta University at Amassoma has also been completed. Top among the ongoing projects are the airport project in Yenagoa, Commercial Cassava/ Starch Processing Factory at Ebidebri and two strategic flyovers on Isaac Boro Expressway, Yenagoa. When completed, they will be the first flyovers ever built in Bayelsa State while the Drug Mart/ Pharmaceutical Store undergoing construction is the first of its kind in Nigeria. Work on the 27km road from Igbogene to Bayelsa Palm and the expanded Elebele – Opolo and Opolo-Imiringi roads have reached advance stage. Others are the Ogbia-Nembe road, dualization of 18 roads and two outer ring roads, three new secretariat annexes, state archives, Museum, Language Centre, Governor and Deputy Governors’ office complexes. Indeed Dickson seems to be in a hurry to turn the oil rich Bayelsa to Dubai. This may have prompted many international figures like Reverend Jesse Jackson to now visit Yenagoa while investors throng Bayelsa State to explore the investment opportunities. Interestingly, Yenagoa, the state capital has played host to so many national and international events more than ever before. Top among them were the Jazz International Festival and most beautiful girl in Nigeria award.

But as far as am concerned, the most laudable achievement of the restoration government is not the ongoing infrastructural revolution but the prevalence of social justice in Bayelsa. This was made possible because of the person of Dickson and the autonomy the judiciary enjoys in the last 20 months, as the judiciary gets its funding through first line charge, eliminating the scenario where many Chief Judges go cap-in- hand to governors begging for funding! Born on the 28th January, 1966 in the riverine Toru- Orua in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Nanaye Dickson of Orua, a descendant of the famous King Kpadia Royal House of Tarakiri Kingdom, Dickson is also a descendant of the renowned Obu warrior family of Orua whose trademark is valour, bravery and honour.

Dickson attended Kolobiriowei Primary School, Toru-Orua from 1972 to 1978 where he got his First School Leaving Certificate and proceeded to Government Secondary School, Toru-Ebeni between 1978 and 1983 and obtained his West African School Certificate (WASC/GCE). Dickson joined the Nigeria Police Force in 1986 to raise money to further his education, because his parents could no longer cater for his schooling. He gained admission in 1988 to the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt to study Law from where he graduated with LL.B (HONS.) in 1992. He then proceeded in 1993, to earn his Bachelors of Law (B.L.HONS) from the Nigeria Law School, Lagos and was called to the Nigeria Bar the same year.

He was Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police in 1994 but withdrew his service to start legal practice in Port Harcourt where he worked with SERENA DAVID DOKUBO & CO. He was an associate solicitor from 1994 to 1995 and moved to ALUKO & OYEBODE, a prominent Law firm in Lagos, in a similar position. In 1996, he founded SERIAKE DICKSON & CO, a law firm in Port Harcourt and later Yenagoa. He was elected Pioneer Publicity Secretary, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Bayelsa State Chapter, a position he held from 1996 to 1998. In 1998 when all the bigwigs in Bayelsa were either in PDP or APP (now ANPP), Dickson chose to pitch tent with the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and was elected its chairman between 1998 and 2000 and led the party to winning all the elections in Bayelsa West Senatorial District. Indeed, Bayelsa State was the only state the party recorded such victory outside the core Yoruba speaking states. The party apparatchik rewarded him by elevating him to the post of National Legal Adviser between 2000 and 2002. He was equally elected National Legal Adviser of the foremost Pan-Ijaw Socio-Cultural and Political group, the Ijaw National Congress (INC) from 2001 to 2003. He became a Member of the National Executive Committee (NEC), Nigeria Bar Association between 2004 and 2006.

The crisis in the defunct AD coupled with his desire to help President Goodluck Jonathan who was deputy governor at the time to succeed the incumbent governor, Chief DSP Alamiesiegha forced Dickson to join PDP in 2005 and became the founding Secretary of Jonathan’s political group, Green Movement in 2006. Dickson was appointed the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of Bayelsa State in 2006 by then governor, Dr. Jonathan, following the exit of Alamiesiegha.

Since the golden fish has no hiding place, Dickson was elected member, representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives. Dickson served as the Chairman, House Committee on Justice. He was re-elected in 2011 but resigned after he was elected governor. In appreciation of his service to his community, Dickson was conferred with the prestigious title: Olokodau of Orua Kingdom. The Tarakiri High Chief is also the Edi 1(pillar) of Ogbia Kingdom.

As a lawmaker, he sponsored so many critical bills which have been passed into law and played a key role in the successes recorded by the sixth National Assembly. But what is not often remembered about Dickson and for which he has not received sufficient encomium was his role in the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill at the National Assembly where he served as Vice Chairman of the FOIB harmonization committee and his delivery of an entire senatorial district to AD in 1998 as well as his amendment of the evidence Act, the first ever since 1954. The lesson from Dickson’s story is if this man who did not see a vehicle until he was 18 years could work so hard to be governor, then there are limitless opportunities for all Bayelsans to achieve their dreams if they take advantage of the enabling environment created by the restoration government. If Dickson keeps sycophants at bay and sustains his service delivery, Bayelsa will continue to be a cynosure in Nigeria! Happy birthday my friend and boss!

BY FRANCIS AGBO,

26 JANUARY 2014

Dickson’s Bayelsa: The investment hub?


Dickson’s Bayelsa: The investment hub?

By OWUNARI BOBMANUEL

Over the past two years, Bayelsa State has seen a level of transformation that has never been experienced since the creation of  the state in 1996. As we celebrate this breath of fresh air , it is expedient that we do a little bit of flashback to ascertain the political, economic and social climate that  enveloped the state before this administration. A large percentage of the people of   Bayelsa State lived in  squalor despite their contributions to the economy. Their children plied the turfs of the creeks without shoes, begging for elementary government interventions that will guarantee some succor. Even our air (a gratuitous gift from God) was gradually becoming a veritable source of discomfort as a result of the constant gas flaring by multinational oil companies  in the state. From the tropical sands of Brass to the swampy climes of the Sagbama, our geographical enclaves yearned for development. They begged to house monumental structures of epic proportions. They desired to spill pleasure to the good people of Bayelsa.

t the beginning it seemed like a farfetched dream. On the contrary, this is our state we can call our home. Our opinions should invigorate our institutions rather than personalities. We must realize that personalities come and go but our institutions remain to shape and reshape our destinies in time. The good people of Bayelsa yearned for a leader with such mindset, one that would be focused on building infrastructures and institutions that would outlive his administration. One that would be willing to set up a structure that would act as  precedent for other administrations after his tenure ends. In the words of Barack Obama during his visit to Ghana in 2013 “ Africa does not need strong leaders but it needs strong institutions”. This I agree with , but the strong institutions have to be built by strong leaders.

The yearning  for positive change led to the emergence of Rt. Hon  Henry Seriake Dickson .  He  took the oath of office on February  14th 2012 amidst high expectation of a new dawn, given the mountainous problems he inherited from previous administrations.

During his inaugural speech he declared:

“We promise massive investment in education, critical infrastructure, agriculture, health, peace and security. Furthermore, he promised to review and emplace an institutional framework for promoting investments with the active collaboration of the private sector. To  the rest of the country and to the world, we declare that the new Bayelsa State is ready to welcome genuine investors and investment in an atmosphere so convivial and  beyond rhetoric. Bayelsa will be your home away from home. We are determined to make Bayelsa a foremost tourist and invest haven.”

After this inaugural speech , every concerned Bayelsan still asks  “Is his Excellency fully aware of all the challenges facing him? How possible is it that his Excellency achieves all or some of the transformation schemes laid out?”

A cursory look at his achievements so far can speak on his behalf. Bayelsans can boldly say that indeed, just like a dogged soldier, his Excellency came prepared for a time like this.

In  July 2013, Bayelsa State government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with nine companies under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) framework to hasten its investment drive. This is to ensure that Bayelsa state is governed like a true capitalist state, where indigenes and foreigners can partner together with government to do business and explore the God-given resources in the state.

The nine private firms and their portfolios  are Lagray Chemicals, USA, for the development of pharmaceutical products , DST Petroleum Limited , for the establishment of fertilizer plant in Brass , Octopol Energy Ltd for gas conversion and Goshen Treasures Ltd for the development of  Bayelsa Plastic Industry.

Others are  Kabletech Nigeria Ltd which manufactures electricity cables, Ugboduma and Sons Ltd, responsible for development of tourism city, Alyn Global Services Ltd, engaged for building aquarium facility and Clinotech Turkey Management , Canada engaged for  the production of quarry and other concrete works. For the sake of emphasis, I wish to shed more light on the importance of signing these MOU, using only two foreign companies mentioned as case study. Lagray Chemicals  for pharmaceuticals  , and Octopol Energy Ltd for gas Conversion. America is renown for having the biggest and the best pharmaceutical companies in the world and Lagray is also a household name in the west. Partnering with a company of such status would help create awareness in the international market concerning the biodiversity resources available in Bayelsa state.

Bayelsa is endowed with superb greenery, mangrove and beautiful forest, the state has abundant supply of wildlife and fish. The mangrove forest in the Delta is the largest in Africa and the 3rd largest in the world, thus , contributing immensely to the oxygen supply of planet earth. In other words an opportunity to partner with one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world would be beneficial to us as a people  and  in terms of economics, healthcare delivery and technology transfer which is also very important.

Furthermore in the area of oil and natural gas, Bayelsa is also very rich. The  Nigerian energy economy is carbon -intensive which does not particularly value the environment.

In other words a sustainable energy economy is that economy that greatly values environmental and ecosystem stewardship, alongside clean, renewable, reliable, safe and economically viable energy strategies. This transformation requires national leadership coordination  and good legal and regulatory framework to achieve environmentally sustainable energy.

It is on this basis that his Excellency deemed it fit to partner with Octopol Energy Ltd for gas conversion, because as we all know, gas is a cleaner form of energy ,it’s economically viable and environmentally friendly. Currently it is pertinent to note that Nigeria’s natural gas reserve has been estimated at about 200 trillion standard cubic feet, giving Nigeria the potential to produce gas for about 200 years or more and making it a fertile ground for investment in gas. The UNDP/World Bank in 2005 estimated that gas  flaring  costs Nigeria close to $2.5 billion  annually  and despite our gas reserves, Nigeria has earned the unenviable position of 2nd largest gas flaring country globally and unfortunately Bayelsa state is responsible for 40% of the gas reserve and also the gas flared in Nigeria. So an opportunity to partner with a foreign company that would set up structures and system to utilize natural gas would be beneficial economically and health-wise  because it would help curb gas flaring in Bayelsa, restore our environments to create sustainable developments.

In a bid to create long lasting wealth in Bayelsa State, the government set up different agencies like Bayelsa Investment Promotion Agency (BIPA) and  Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC). This is also in fulfillment of his Excellency’s vision of diversifying the state’s economy . In order to protect and grow the wealth of Bayelsans through creativity, responsible and profitable investments, while acting as a catalyst for socio-economic development in the  state, BIPA was established by a Bill of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly with the mandate to coordinate and monitor all investment promotion initiatives in the state. These bodies are responsible for several investments that have taken place in Bayelsa (both foreign and local).  Since the inception of this government over twenty MOUs have been signed with several investors round the world touching all sectors of the economy to bring about economic growth.

For example, the agricultural sector MOU was signed with Ostertrade Engineering and  DPP International   as well as  ATS Mineralli for cassava processing, tomato processing and a glass manufacturing factory. Another was also signed with P n R Ltd and Onida Development for aquaculture. The government is also building what it called Bayelsa Farms for commercial rice and palm oil production. In terms of aquaculture, Niger Delta Sea Foods Company Ltd was  incorporated and Brass Fertilizer and DSV Petroleum want to set up a fertilizer industry.

Also Heritage Oil company, USA partnered with Bayelsa Oil Company to partake in the oil and gas business in the upstream sector. In dealing with the housing issue, Mortgage Nationwide Finance and Transatlantic Mortgage Bank in collaboration with the state government have set up schemes on how to build several units of low cost houses for the average Bayelsan. For power generation, IPP Energy, Deutsche Bank and  Bayelsa Electricity Co have signed a joint venture agreement. For tourism, the government is collaborating with   Tower Hotel, Silverbird Galleria and  Golf Course and Estate Development . Bayelsa Airline Limited will be operational  very soon. Also, the government is about to commence the building of a deep sea port with ARUO and Scot Wilson. Despite these however, it will be wrong if I fail to mention the issue of security and the steps taken by his Excellency to make Bayelsa a safe haven. Last year, Governor Seriake Dickson  won  The Best Security Conscious  Governor in West Africa Award presented  by  Security Watch Africa in South Africa. This award was conferred on him because of  the measures taken by his Excellency in restoring peace and security to the state.

The average person might doubt the capacity of government to ensure that most of the MOUs and joint venture agreements are fully executed ,probably because past administrations have had similar intentions  with  foreign and local investors without results. However, Governor Seriake Dickson’s administration stands out  because of the various steps it has taken in protecting investors interests. For instance , the energy sector is susceptible to the vagaries of  circumstances and this is because of the long term nature of the contracts. In many cases , parties to a contract have the option of making provision for changing circumstances in their contracts. If however they fail to make a provision, the general law will govern the contract in the event of a change in circumstances.

Actually some of our laws aren’t so inviting to foreign investors because of the lacuna in our judicial system, that’s why his Excellency went as far as building a multi-door court house which will handle  Arbitration, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Mediation. Basically, a multi-door court house is used for out of court settlements. Foreign investors can easily settle future disputes there and our judiciary doesn’t have to be involved. Also AIICO, an American insurance firm, just announced its  presence in Bayelsa state, so every foreign investor that wants to partner with the state government can take up an insurance policy with AIICO to ensure full indemnity in case of any unforeseen circumstances. All these were made possible with the wisdom of our amiable governor. Finally, the joint venture agreements and MOUs would provide jobs for the average Bayelsan because laws have been put in place by the Federal Government to protect local indigenes. Take for instance the Nigeria Local Content Act 2010 and the Workmen Compensation Act. These are laws that were recently signed by Mr President to ensure maximum participation of indigenes in every project embarked upon by state government and foreign investors, to ensure that the people are not exploited by foreign investors.

In as much as most of the investments in Bayelsa state are in  their preliminary stages, one can be very optimistic that most or all of these projects would be fully executed because of the measures already on ground.

As the saying goes “The foundation of a building says a lot about the structure about to be erected on it”. In other words, if His Excellency has achieved all these in terms of investment in just 2 years, one can only imagine the level of accelerated growth in the economy in the future.

http://sunnewsonline.com/new/opinion/dicksons-bayelsa-investment-hub/

Ogbia -Nembe road project on track as Deputy Governor drives into Nembe.

Governor Dickson on Thank You Tour to Nembe LGA

Governor Dickson on Thank You Tour to Nembe LGA

The proximity of the Ogbi-Nembe road project to Brass has made it a priority for completion by Governor Dicksons` administration. Brass is home to major business investments including Nigerian Agip Oil Company, the Liquefied Natural Gas Project, the Nigerian Navy and other maritime activities.

It was no surprise therefore that  His Eminence, King Edmund Daukoru, Mingi XII and Amanyanabo of Nembe Kingdom received  the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah(rtd) with joy and excitement as he arrived on the last day of December 2013 in a four wheel drive vehicle, a first of its kind trip to the kingdom. The Deputy Governor was on an inspection tour of the road which has reached sixty percent completion to date and is expected to be handed over for commissioning by March 2015.

It will be recalled that work on the Ogbia-Nembe road contract project which was first awarded in 2006,  has  only recently resumed in earnest  under Governor Seriake Dickson`s administration. The project is twenty six kilometers long and includes six bridges on its route.

The inspection team of the Deputy Governor included the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, his Energy counterpart, Mr. Francis Ikio, Chairman, Project Monitoring Committee, Chief Walter Feghabo-Amain; Special Adviser, Federal Government Projects and Programmes, Mrs. Remi Kuku as well as Mr. Evans Kurukurubo, Manager, Government and Community Relations, Bayelsa and Delta States, Shell Petroleum Development Company.

Thank You Tour day Eight, Sagbama brings Tour to a close.

The final day of the Thank You Tour embarked upon by Governor Seriake DicksonDSC_7176 ended as it began, on a positive note. Finishing touches were being put in place a few miles away at the football field, venue of a civic reception to be hosted by the LGA after the Governors courtesy call to the HRM King Jones S. Akada JP, The Pere of Kumbowei. Members of the NYSC maintained their presence at the gate to the Palace.

The Governors arrival was greeted with cheers from the crowd of people living in the vicinity of the Palace as well as the NYSC members. He was then ushered into the compound where he was greeted by Chiefs and Traditional rulers who were lined in their fine white attires, looking noble as they are.

The Kings spokes person introduced everyone of the Chiefs present to Governor Dickson and spoke extensively about the administrations positive impact on the community. He listed The Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro College of Education as the most evident effort of Government to invest in the LGA. Other notable achievements include The Comprehensive General Hospital  under construction, the construction  of Headmasters/second-masters  quarters and wide spread distribution of political appointments among others.He made two requests which were for a new official car for the King, and that the LGA be connected to the National power grid.

The Governor was then conferred with the title, Izmonibetolomo-Owei of Kumbowei Kingdom. In response, Governor Dickson thanked the King and the community for their continued support and peaceful coexistence. He however that there should be more cooperation with security agents to eliminate criminality as he reiterated his administrations Zero-tolerance for crime in the State.

At this time at the venue of the civic reception everything was in place to receive the Governor, with dancers and entertainers keeping the crowd lively as the waited for their August visitor. Eventually he did come and the crowd surged around him closely only kept back by the ever professional security team. Speakers included Chairman, Bayelsa State PDP, Colonel Sam Inokoba (Rtd), High Chief Mrs Stella Dorgu as well as  the Senator representing Bayelsa West Senatorial District, Heineken Lokpobiri.

Deputy Governor Rear Admiral John Jonah (L), First Lady,Dr (Mrs) Rachael Dickson, Governor Seriake Dickson, (M) Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure Hon. Lawrence Ewhrudiakpo at the civic reception for Governor Dickson at Sagbama.

Deputy Governor Rear Admiral John Jonah (L), First Lady,Dr (Mrs) Rachael Dickson, Governor Seriake Dickson, (M) Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure Hon. Lawrence Ewhrudiakpo at the civic reception for Governor Dickson at Sagbama.

They all thanked the crowd and community for supporting the party and the Governor, and by extension, President Jonathan.

The LGA was given Five cheques totalling Sixty Million Naira as soft loans for Rural Development Areas.

Governor Dickson addressed the crowd and thanked them for supporting his administration He cautioned miscreants who were still engaged in criminality to desist forthwith or face the wrath of the law if caught.

The Tour then came to a close with Governor Dickson`s departure. This has been an eventful program of events and kudos should be given to the organisers of the Tour as it is certainly a benchmark now for acceptance and support by  the people being Governed.

Ejiro Eghagha, Writer/Social commentator

Thank You Tour-Day Six, Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA sends showers of blessing

11-12-13

The Thank You Tour entered its sixth day today with clement weather turning into a steady drizzle which however did not deter the people of Kolokuma/Opokuma their pleasure in meeting the Governor.

The day started with the arrival of the Deputy Governor and trusted ally of Governor Dickson, Rear Admiral John Jonah (Rtd) at the LGA before proceeding to the Palace of HRM King Agara Onya Mozi, Kala-Okun lll, The Ibedaowei of Kolokuma clan when Governor Dickson arrived. As expected only a limited number of journalists were able to gain access into the venue of the visit proper due to the large number of dignitaries and Traditional leaders present.IMG_20131211_134145

Governor Dickson was ushered into the Palace with his entourage which included Commissioners and members of his cabinet. A short prayer was said and the proceedings began in earnest with endorsements of satisfaction and support from the Council of Chiefs. At the end of the visit, Governor Seriake Dickson was bestowed with a highly revered title, Adaka II of Kolokuma clan. Adaka is translated to mean Lion. Drinks, Food  and sizeable fish were presented to the Governor as well as a portrait done by a son of HRM King Agara Onya Mozi.

The Governors convoy then took a drive to Boro town a few Kilometers away on the newly constructed road spanning close to to three kilometers. By this time the rains began to fall and when the convoy arrived at the arena but for the proper preparation with canopies , most people would have been drenched in the rain.

Governor Dickson being dressed in traditional attire as he is conferred with the title Adaka II of Kolokuma.

Governor Dickson being dressed in traditional attire as he is conferred with the title Adaka II of Kolokuma.

A live band was on hand to thrill the audience as well as cultural dancers and a troupe that displayed a war dance. The eleven wards of the constituency were  well represented with banners and  T-shirts adorning the entire venue of over two thousand people. Security was professional as usual and quite firm .

Governor Dickson spoke extensively about security issues and the need for the community to support Governments efforts in creating a safe Bayelsa State. He also had words of encouragement for the male youth in the community assuring them that come next year their issues of unemployment will be addressed. This even after the sum of Thirty Million Naira was given to two women groups as part of the empowerment initiative for women by the MDG office and Bayelsa State Government. The sum of Three Hundred and Seventy Million was also said to be made available for needy families of about two thousand people.

Estatic ladies celebrating the announcement of the Thirty Million Naira loan scheme for two RDA`S.

Estatic ladies celebrating the announcement of the Thirty Million Naira loan scheme for two RDA`S.

The rain may have wet the floor and those exposed to it, but it did not change the response from the public gathering. It was the same, Governor Dickson is touching lives and truly restoring the lost glory of the State. The crowd responded positively to chants from their leaders who were asked to extend greetings to them by the Governor. Kolokuma community is very proud of their sons and daughters are were extremely grateful to Governor Dickson for all he has done for the Boro family in the LGA especially. The Boro town construction is indeed a leap forward in futuristic thinking and efforts to bring rapid development to the area.

The Governor and his entourage then went on a private visit to homes of notable hosts including the Chairman of the State Party Colonel Inokoba (Rtd)

The tour continues tomorrow with a visit to Ekeremor LGA.

Ejiro Eghagha, Writer/Social commentator

Thank You Tour day five-Yenagoa meets expectation.

10-12-13

Credit should always be given when due and this is what the  good people of Yenagoa made true today with Governor Dickson as the Thank You Tour entered its fifth stop, and this time it was to the state capital, Yenagoa.

The entourage started the day by visiting  the Palace of HRM King Malla Sasime of Epie clan, Yenagoa where His Excellency was decked with an Eagle feather in his hat, as an acknowledgement of his soaring status with the community.

Dignitaries at the event included Deputy Governor Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd), Chief of Staff Bayelsa House Abuja Chief Diekivie as well as Senator Paulker Emmanuel, and Senator Clever Ikisikpo representing Bayelsa East.

Governor Dickson at the Palace of HRM King Malla Sasime, of Epie clan, Yenago.

Governor Dickson at the Palace of HRM King Malla Sasime, of Epie clan, Yenago.

After the visit, the first point of inspection was at the site of the ultra modern modern motor transit park at Igbogene. This site is located along the road dualisation project corridor. From there His Excellency proceeded to Biobolo community primary school to commission the School auditorium. Governor Dickson had a chat with the students who welcomed him with a touching song . He asked which of them would like to be Governor some day and they all signified their hopes and dreams by raising their hands. He then advised them to read hard and be obedient as these were the needed foundations for aspiring to such levels in life.

The entourage proceeded to the venue of the civic reception at the stadium where Governor Dickson was met by over a mammoth crowd of supporters, well wishers and curious members of the public. Yet again the Governor`s electrifying entrance could not be denied. The security had a busy time keeping the crowd in check but they did so professionally. Dancers, Musicians and traditional dancers participated, with a cultural group parading male dancers dressed as women.

The sum of Forty Five million Naira was given out to three women based groups as empowerment loans through  a scheme operated by the MDG office in collaboration with the State Government, while an additional  sum of Three Hundred and Seventy million Naira was also made available to over 2000 needy indigenous members  of the community.

Governor Dickson invited his commissioners and other dignitaries from the LGA to say a quick greeting to the excited crowd who responded with thunderous ovation to each speaker. When he spoke, the Governor harped on security and the need for communities to be vigilant, and support the efforts of the Government in ridding the state of undesirable elements. He thanked the people for their continued support and informed the crowd that he was earlier given a title by the Council of Chief`s and an Eagles feather was set on his hat symbolizing his powers as that of the Eagle that commands the skies. He thanked the people because no news of distress comes to him about them.

With the singing of the National Anthem the event came to a close and the Governor and his convoy left the venue, with people pressing hard to catch a closer glimpse of the one known as The Restoration Governor. The tour continues tomorrow with Kolokoma LGA being the next stop.

Ejiro Eghagha, Writer/Social commentator

 

Governor Dickson at the auditorium commissioned.

Governor Dickson at the auditorium commissioned.

Traditional dancers entertaing the audience.

Traditional dancers entertaing the audience.

Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd) addresses the crowd before Governor Dickson speaks.

Deputy Governor of Bayelsa state Rear Admiral John Jonah(rtd) addresses the crowd before Governor Dickson speaks.

GOV DICKSON CONGRATULATES GOV JANG ON NGF VICTORY, URGES HIM TO RESTORE CREDIBILITY AND INTEGRITY OF FORUM

On behalf of the Government and good people of Bayelsa State, I felicitate with you on your emergence as the Chairman of Nigeria’s Governors’ Forum (NGF).
Indeed, the cap fits you!
With your maturity and experience, the NGF under your leadership will see me and my other colleagues as equals and partners for the development of our nation.
I know you will lead the forum with integrity and use it as a platform to collaborate with other levels of Government in consultation with fellow Governors without necessarily being confrontational.
Never again shall the NGF be run as a parallel Government!
As Governors, we are not elected to rule the country, the responsibility to rule the whole country lies with the President, the Executive Council of the Federation and the National Assembly.
As Governors, we are provincial players, principally elected to lead our respective states.
I know with your track record of service and unflinching commitment to due process and rules of engagement, the NGF will be, as it ought to be, a peer review mechanism and not a propaganda tool used by the opposition to destabilize the polity.
And, I trust that you will not use it as a medium to blackmail and further your personal political agenda.
Nigeria’s interest should remain the centerpiece of our agenda.
With the unalloyed confidence we have reposed in you which led to your emergence as Chairman, my advise to you is to remain focused, fair and firm as you pilot the affairs of the NGF in our renewed bid to restore credibility and integrity to the forum.
Long Live the Nigerian Governors Forum!
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!
Signed
Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson
Governor of Bayelsa State