In January, 2012, Governor Seriake Henry Dickson left the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly to contest for the guber ticket of the PDP and won convincingly. However, that watershed victory was not so much on a platter of gold as his eligibility was questioned via court cases and attempted smear campaigns, which both failed woefully to truncate the Bayelsa Restoration ambitions of Kontiri-man as he is fondly called by the masses.
Even though he had the support of then President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who never minced words to withdraw his support for him if he ‘fails to deliver’ on his mandate – the RESTORATION AGENDA, the then Candidate Seriake Henry Dickson assembled a crack team of researchers, social media gurus, eminent Bayelsa men and women eager to restore the motto – The Glory of All Lands to Bayelsa State after the perceived years of the locust, in his world class campaign organization acronym-ed, KEME-TO-KEME (person to person or man to man, in Ijaw language) .
KEME-TO-KEME went from door-to-door, house-to-house, and neighbor to neighbor, canvassing for votes from eligible voters in every Local Government Area in Bayelsa State. The commencement of Keme-to-Keme witnessed unprecedented participation by eager youths and elders of Bayelsa land who believed Bayelsa State needed to be on the right path for growth and were fed up with clientelism, cronyism, nepotism and man-no-man governance style of the Sylva administration.
The people of Bayelsa State, the only monoethnic Ijaw State in Nigeria gave a fluid mandate to Governor Dickson to move the state away from economic stagnation, insecurity scaring away investors, infrastructural underdevelopment, and youth under-empowerment among other negatives unbecoming of the oil and gas headquarters of the Niger Delta.
After his swearing in, Governor Dickson hit the ground running, and in three years, a lot has been restored against all odds.
Steadfastness and Doggedness
Ably deputized by Rtd Rear Admiral John Gboribigha Jonah, who is on record to be the co-builder of Nigeria’s first War Ship, the Kontiri-man governor assembled a team of competent Bayelsans to kickstart the Bayelsa RESTORATION AGENDA. Bringing his ex-policemanship to governance was a plus on Governor Dickson as he put heads together with his equally security experienced deputy to counter headlong, the perennial insecurity plaguing the promising state by instituting Doo Akpo. This new internal security outfit was designed to replace Famu Tangbe which under the previous administration was notorious for selective attacks on perceived political opponents instead of securing the state as mandated statutorily.
Most cases of ghost workers encumbering the availability of needed funds for Bayelsa development were nipped in the bud. The result was better security and anti-corruption efforts via the biometric identification of Civil Servants in Bayelsa State. This however has not gone down well with those who enjoyed reaping from where they did not sow and thus think the Dickson administration is ‘’not performing’’. That is if performance means frittering away state funds on corrupt payment of one man/woman who uses three fake identifications for the collection of monthly wages without working for the state.
Both state and federal government security apparati were supported with provision of dozens of gun-mounted boats for the labyrinth of creeks in the state, to contain potential trouble-makers to the barest minimum.
Thousands of youths who were hitherto negatively indoctrinated to be violent, publicly renounced their memberships of various cult groups in front of the Governor and the state executive cabinet in Yenagoa, pledging to embrace a crime-free lifestyle. The result is apparently visible as insecurity has been brought down to significantly compared to the pre-Dickson years.
Infrastructural Development/Economic Advancement
The development of Bayelsa State which is one of the last states created by the late Sani Abacha cannot be achieved without expanding the limited infrastructure available. In this regard, the Dickson-led administration has done commendably well and this is only understood by those who have visited Bayelsa state before and during his administration as governor. Suffice it to state here that Bayelsa is an aquatic environment. Lots of the commenced efforts to expand the available infrastructure were hit hard by the floods which ravaged several parts of the country 3 years ago.
Roads, by-passes and bridges, training institutions, industrial layouts, residential layouts, an airport and other pre-requisite structures useful for investment have been embarked upon, and most have left the drawing boards to ‘as-built ‘ or ‘in-progress’ stages.
Youth Empowerment/ Investor Confidence Building
Even with the seeming paucity of funds, youths have been and are being encouraged to go into farming and fishing with support from the state government through trainings and grants, while scholarships have been maintained for extra-skilled youths both in Nigeria and overseas.
Bayelsa State Government under Governor Dickson has been showcasing its investment via the annual Bayelsa Investment Forum which aims at showing the investment world the business and economic activities obtainable in the state. For instance, Rice cultivation and processing unknown to many, is now ongoing in Bayelsa State as ‘dead’ rice farms have sprung back to life while enterprising Bayelsans are creating utility from available resources without resorting to crime. Others include Nollywood Films Village, Hospitality Institute among others. With emphasis on less-dependence on government direct handouts.
Ijaw Cause/Cultural Advancement
As noted earlier, Bayelsa State is home to a mostly monoethnic group of the Ijaw ethnic nationality. Governor Dickson has been in the forefront of advancing the Ijaw socio-cultural identity through various commendable efforts. In two years, the magnificent Ijaw House was completed while an Ijaw Heroes Park was established and the first occupant of the park was the exhumed and reburied body of the late Ijaw icon, Major Isaac Adaka Boro. Prominent Ijaw elders and youths have been availing themselves of the glorious opportunity of meeting in the cultural edifice since it’s commissioning over 2 years ago.
An Ijaw National Flag and a beautiful coat of arms depicting the insignia of the Ijaw people now adorn various homes, offices and vehicles of the Ijaws in virtually every state where the people are indigenes. This historic action has endeared Kontiri-man Dickson to most Ijaw to warrant support by significant Bayelsans and Ijaw top shots globally. They will want to reward him with an unprecedented second term in office.
As the saying goes, in the arena of politics: One Good Term Deserves Another.
Transparency in Governance
Since its inception, the Dickson administration has at least twice every three months reported the financial state of the Bayelsa Economy to the press and Bayelsa people in Transparency Briefing sessions, during which the balance sheet of the state is announced to the last kobo. In fact the last briefing was held on the 28th of August, 2015 when the state played host to the Nigerian Guild of Editors.
The Goodluck ‘’touch’’
It is on record that Ex President Goodluck Jonathan promised to withdraw his support for Governor Dickson if he failed in delivering on his campaign promises in 2012. Just a few hours ago, it was reported that the well-loved and appreciated Goodluck Jonathan in company of notable PDP Big Wigs, endorsed Governor Dickson for a second term in office: Vaguard News reported thus:
‘’Bayelsa POLL: Jonathan endorses Dickson for 2nd term’’
Yenagoa—Former President Goodluck Jonathan has endorsed the Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson for a second term, citing his excellent track record of regular payment of workers’ salaries, reduction of the state’s huge debt profile and infrastructural development.
The former President who received Governor Dickson at his country home, Otuoke in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state, said his endorsement was based on the developmental strides of the governor in the last three and half years in the state.
He said: “If Bayelsa is compared to other states in the country in terms of level of physical infrastructure coupled with the degree of indebtedness in terms of bank loans and capital market, Dickson deserved to be praised.
“I am not expecting the governor to score 100 per cent. There are three key parameters I will like to score Dickson, which are payment of salaries, physical infrastructure and low indebtedness of the state in terms of bank loans and in the capital market.
– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/09/bayelsa-poll-jonathan-endorses-dickson-for-2nd-term/
APC ‘’One Chance’’ Mantra
After the merger in 2014 of the defunct ACN, ANPP and CPC into the All Progressives Congress (APC), lots of disgruntled politicians left their original memberships of political parties to ‘’try their lucks’’ on the APC platform. However, most Nigerians have now realized that the party is not the change they dreamt of as campaign promises were shockingly publicly denied and nepotism and corrupt practices with lack of transparency of purpose have dogged the only significant alternative to the PDP.
The taste of the pudding, they say, is in the eating. No Bayelsan worth his salt will want to jettison the ‘devil’ they know, for the ‘angel’ they are not sure of. No one wants to align with an irresponsible conglomeration of strange bedfellows who still can’t form a government at the centre and have been on a lying spree, losing millions of supporters in the process while Ex President Jonathan’s PDP under which platform Governor Dickson is seeking his second mandate, have had its transformation crew moving on to higher heights with the likes of Dr Adeshina and Ms Aruma Oteh bagging international responsibilities, while APC saintly crew have been embroiled in monumental corruption allegations. Thus Bayelsa State, the former president’s state, is better off with PDP’s Dickson.
In the light of the above, I see governor Dickson, against all odds, coming back for the second term by December, 2015.
Vote Dickson for continuity of the Bayelsa Restoration Agenda. Vote PDP.
God bless the Ijaw Nation
God bless Bayelsa State
God bless the Niger Delta
God bless Nigeria
Henry Omoregie (Resource Person, Keme-to-Keme)
Bayelsa Polls: We’ll meet in the battlefield, says Dokubo-Asari print
Published on September 8, 2015 by pmnews
Leader of Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Alhaji Mujahideen Dokubo-Asari, has vowed that the Ijaw nation will not allow Governor Henry Seriake Dickson and former President Goodluck Jonathan to be disgraced by losing the December 5 gubernatorial election to the main opposition party in the state, All Progressives Congress, APC.
Dokubo spoke on Tuesday when Governor Dickson formally declared his intention to seek re-election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“We Ijaws don’t run away from our enemies. Jonathan did a lot for all those who have turned against us. Nobody, wherever he is, can move the Ijaw nation. We’ve never been conquered, the British knows this fact. This fight is beyond Henry Seriake Dickson, it is beyond you and me, it is for all. He will never be disgraced on December 5. They have boasted that they have control of the Army, INEC, Police, Navy and SSS. But we will meet in the battlefield on election day.”
While speaking at the occasion, Governor Dickson vowed that his government will wind up the APC on December 5 when the election would take place.
In his declaration held in Yenagoa, at the popular Samson Siasia Stadium, the governor said even though the opposition is relying on federal might, security agencies and and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to assist them to rig election,”Bayelsa has no room for APC.”
The governor’s declaration was attended by senior citizens including ex-president, Goodluck Jonathan; former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan; former governor of Bayelsa State and Governor-General of Ijaw land, Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha and 12 PDP governors led by chairman of PDP Governors Forum and Ondo State governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko.