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Gov Dickson Visits British Parliament: Advocates Greater Cooperation Among Commonwealth Countries

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Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State on Thursday advocated greater cooperation among countries of the Commonwealth to address major challenges confronting them such as unemployment, political instability, poverty, environmental degradation and access to quality education.

He stated this at a Luncheon organized by the Westminster Africa Business Group in the House of Parliament in the United Kingdom.

Governor Dickson, who underscored the need to translate  political interactions towards fostering economic ties and prosperity, noted that countries in the Commonwealth were not doing enough to promote trade and do business among themselves, just as they collectively tackled issues like slave trade and fascism in the past.

His words: 'We in the Commonwealth are not doing enough business among ourselves and Africa could do better; the Commonwealth can do even better. After all, our leaders and our people, in the last centuries, confronted common enemies; dealt with the inhumanity of slavery and facism and ended it.

'I believe that the Commonwealth and lovers of Africa need to transcend politics and convert such political interactions and all these platforms that have been established to create prosperity and wealth, for in the end, political or diplomatic cooperation, desirable as it is, will not bring food to the table and will amount to nothing in the practical sense.

To this end, the governor urged the countries of the Commonwealth to focus more on promoting trade and investment opportunities and possibilities that abound in their domains as well as proffer solutions to the problems militating against the growth and development of the continent.

While expressing his administration's commitment to partnering with the Commonwealth towards fostering economic prosperity, Governor Dickson said Bayelsa and Nigeria were ready to do business as the country recently emerged as the largest economy in Africa.

Recounting the vast investment opportunities in Bayelsa State to include crude oil and gas, he noted that the state has the highest Gross domestic Product (GDP) in addition to being ranked as one of the safest states in the country, where international events are hosted annually.

Drawing the attention of members of the Commonwealth to the dangers posed by environmental degradation, which coincided with the World Environment Day, the governor called for concerted efforts to tackle environmental problems as it is a common heritage of all mankind.

According to him, a report by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) revealed that, Bayelsa state has an average of an oil spill per day and the percentage of such cases in the much-celebrated Ogoni oil spill is a tip of the iceberg, when compared to that of Bayelsa.

'As an individual, I'm a believer and defender of the environment and all of us need to do more to protect and preserve the environment. The environment is the collective heritage of all mankind. We all have a duty to protect the environment and hand it over to succeeding generationswe all need to be united on this.'

Daniel Iworiso-Markson
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State