Bayelsa: When A Governor Becomes A Leader (II)

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By: John Idumange

TRACKING >Governor Seriake Dickson is by far larger than a Governor when we consider his sense of accommodation of the opposition anytime they come to PDP. Even in electoral victories, he has exhibited so much magnanimity that members of the opposition formed his cabinet. Like other leaders, Governor Seriake Dickson has a large heart.

It was this sense of accommodation that made Bayelsa State to play host to several local, national and international events such as World Tourism Day, National Festival, Practical Local Content Conference, and other hospitality related festivals/events.

The Restoration Administration invested massively in security and peace became the plank on which development was premised. The existing peace has strengthened the relationship between the State and the Centre. In the last two years of the administration, some Pro-APC youths and cultural groups started to funk the security architecture of the State, by portraying the State as unsafe, but those were isolated cases of petty stealing, phone snatching and other internal security challenges perpetrated by the cult boys groomed by the immediate past administration.

Governor Dickson is a development conscious leader who knew that Bayelsa State since creation has been lagging especially in terms of infrastructure, human capital development and social capital. The Massive infrastructural development was premised on this perception. Some of the physical infrastructure include: The six Secretariat Annexes, the Diagnostic Centre, the specialist hospital, the Ecumenical Centre, the University of Africa, the Bayelsa State Medical University and the traditional rulers Council Secretariat among other major infrastructure.

The administration has already prepared the ground for a post oil economy. It is this policy thrust that informs the massive investment in Human Capital and aggressive pursuit of Agro-marine-based industries. Tourism is also being encouraged. In the fullness of time, everything will manifest.

The Restoration Administration ranks very highly in Good Governance Perception Index, GGPI. This government is proactive, progressive and forward looking. It is prudent, transparent and accountable. The business-as-usual scenario has been put behind us. The building of infrastructure has been intensified preparatory to effective industrial take-off. Agriculture is growing; massive investment is being made in education. The tempo of human capacity building has been accelerated but the support of the private sector will be necessary.

The Governor is number one in so many areas. Few of such areas are mentioned below.

▪ First Governor to complete a second tenure in office.

▪ First Governor to Build a Flyover

▪ First Governor to build an Airport

•First Governor to declare zero tolerance for cultism, crime and criminality

▪ The First Governor to establish two Universities.

▪ The first Governor to build six Secretariat Annexes.

▪ The first Governor to build state-of-the-art Diagnostic Centre

▪ The Specialist Hospital and the Bayelsa State Insurance Scheme to make healthcare affordable and accessible.

▪The first Governor to revamp the Boarding School System in Bayelsa State.

▪The only Governor who brought the remains of Late Adaka Boro to be interred in Bayelsa State.

▪The first Governor who established the New Yenagoa City.

▪The first Governor who transformed oxbow lake into a tourist attraction.

▪The first Governor who built the best Governors office in Nigeria.

▪ The polo field and Golf Course.

▪The over 450 schools

▪The Dapa Biriye Int’l conference Centre

▪ The Sophisticated Drug Mart.

▪The fantastic Traditional Rulers Council Secretariat.

▪ The Massive Education House

▪ The masterpiece that is the Information House.

▪The Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS Research Centre.

▪The Dualization of Alfred Diete-Spiff Road.

1. First Governor to Introduce Transparency Briefing Initiative. Only Bayelsa does it in Nigeria.

2. First Governor to build an Ecumenical Centre to promote religious harmony.

3. First Governor to transform the Golden Tullip into a five star hotel for purposes of revenue generation.

4. The First Governor to establish a centre of excellence in education and leadership -the Ijaw National Academy.

5. First Governor to establish a Driving Academy in the State.

6. First Governor to build a modern Police officers mess.

7. First Governor to create Higher Education Students Loans Board.

8 First Governor to domesticate the Child Rights Act (law).

9. First Governor to initiate the Safe Motherhood Initiative in the State.

10. First Governor to embark on fundamental Public Service Reforms. Others did not have the courage to do so.

11. First Governor to comprehensively revamp and modernise the Samson Siasia Sports Complex.

12. First Governor to establish an Aquaculture Village

13. First Governor to establish an entrepreneurship Centre to teach techno-vocational skills.

Taking care of and showing concern for the elderly: Governor Henry Seriake Dickson is the first Governor who has demonstrated enormous passion for the needs of the elderly. Governor Dickson honours the elders who have contributed meaningfully to the upliftment of humanity are recognized. For example, Dr. Gabriel Okara who has contributed so much to poetry and literature was named after the Glory Land Cultural Centre and such gestures will continue. The Restoration Administration has the blessings of the elders, the women who are being empowered, the youths whose capacities are being built and the adults for the existing peace and security in the State.

The Restoration Administration is reviving the fast fading Ijaw Culture. A multi-pronged approach is used in this direction. First is to make compulsory the teaching and learning of Ijaw language in Bayelsa State Schools. Secondly, scholarships have been awarded to Teachers who are willing to learn and teach the Ijaw language. There is a Department of Ijaw language in the State-Owned Bayelsa State College of Education. It is now compulsory for Public servants, Civil Servants and politicians alike to adorn their native attires every Friday as a way of promoting the Ijaw culture.

To reinforce the belief that love and passion are better shown in practical terms, Governor Dickson constituted the Niger Delta Committee comprising 46 Ijaw people outside Bayelsa. For the records, the non Bayelsa Ijaw members of the committee include: Fred Brisibe, (Delta), Karibo Lawrence, (Rivers), Ojoto Okubo, ( Delta), Christopher Anthony (Delta), Peace Adim Dappabriye, (Rivers), Ibitomie (Dapo’s-Biriye (Rivers), Gladys Calmday (Rivers), Cooler Hart (Rivers), Pere Tuodolo (Delta) Andabofa Namah (Delta) Godswill Jaja (Rivers), Iyenemi Abbey (Rivers) Frank Akita (Delta) Tare Akpoigbe (Delta), Ereboh Ransome (Delta), Oweila Ekirika (Delta), Ebis Moni (Delta), Miyenbai Legbe (Ondo) Harry Isoboye (Rivers), Awipi Lawson (Delta) Jackson Agbor (Delta), Mangala Franklin (Delta), Pullah Tam, (Delta), Agbeneke John (Delta), Jeremiah Ebiowei, (Delta), Kennedy Tonjo West (Rivers) Cecilia Onana ( Ondo), Robinson Uroupa ( Edo), HRJ Godspower Oporomor, (Delta), Hendricks Opukeme (Delta), Godday Smith (Delta), Francis Muturu (Delta), Erasmus Patrick (Rivers)( Soriwei, 2019).

It is on record that the privilege of appointing non Bayelsans into the government was extended to Ijaw people outside Bayelsa for the first time under this leader whose quest for intervention and provision for the welfare of the people was not limited by the geographical boundaries defined by Brass River, the River Nun and the Forcados.

As a Governor with massive responsibilities, Gov Dickson made history as the first Governor of Bayelsa State to visit Arogbo, the headquarters of the Ijaw community in Ondo State. He took the deliberate step to visit other Ijaw communities which are deprived of the respected presence of a Governor especially during annual community events. He visited Buguma and was honored by the historical kingdom. He was specially appreciated by the Patani Kingdom as the Rock of the Ijaw nation (Fidelis Soriwei)

As a leader with a long-term vision, Governor Seriake Dickson has built institutions that are enduring, sustainable and strong enough to carry the weight of Reforms. This is the distinctive mark of a leader.

Indeed, from the view point of his achievements and the sense of accommodation he exhibited in Ijaw land, he perfectly wears the shoes of a leader and not just a Governor of Bayelsa State. He has broken frontiers, carried out reforms which others dreaded and enlarged the responsibilities of a Governor.

No doubt, tomorrow, nature itself will stand up and say, here was a leader of the Ijaw ethnic nationality, and this position can be incontrovertible across time and space.

to be contd.

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