Why Gov. Seriake Dickson Ranks Very High On Good Governance

The Bayelsa economy is very stable. Inflation rate has been stable so does the prices of commodities. Consumer behaviour has changed and emphasis has shifted from luxuries to necessaries. The phenomenon of reckless spending has been checked because monies are invested in the real sectors of the economy. “The success story in Bayelsa State is a function of prudence, financial discipline, transparency, accountability and value-reorientation. Those who are used to the unedifying culture of sharing money without working are pained, but they also acknowledge that Restoration is working”

The Restoration Administration came on stream with a mission to fast-track the development of Bayelsa State. This is against the background of the development lag the State had experienced in the past years. The administration fixed peace and security, infrastructural development and embarked on aggressive human capital development.

The Restoration Administration is anchored on ten pillars

1. Efficiency: In the optimization of human, material and fiscal resources to achieve results.

2. Transparency in terms of conducting governmental businesses.

3. Accountability in terms of accuracy in keeping government official transactions and making such record available got public scrutiny.

4. Policy and programme implementation in accordance to the policy thrust of government.

5. Participation in Government that is involving people in the process of taking decision. Most public policies and now owned and driven by the people thelselves.

6. Fiscal Discipline in term of budget implementation to meet government long, medium and short term targets and to build trust that money is spent in the right way.

7. Performance and merit-driven system where work ethics has been vivified

8. Budget Implementation: The degree to which Ministries and Parastatals comply with budget implementation guidelines to meet projected targets in a fiscal year.

9. Result-Oriented Programmes: This explains how the projects and programmes of government Ministries and Parastatals yield tangible results in terms of SMART: Sustainable, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic Timeliness.

10. In addition, Government ensures that all MDAs work in synergy and in tandam with strategic long-term objectives of government. Synergy facilitates policy implementation.

CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS OF THE RESTORATION ADMINISTRATION

1. Shared Vision: The duo of Governor Seriake Dickson and his Deputy Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah Rtd. have a clear vision of where Bayelsa State should be is good leadership is entrenched. They all share a vision of a greater Bayelsa, which will be an economic hub of the sub-region, a tourism paradise in Nigeria, a booming economy with flourishing agro-allied industries and sustainable peace and security. It is not surprising that the policies and programmes are geared towards youth development, tourism promotion, entrenching peace and attracting Foreign Direct Investment.

2. Mission: At inception, those at the saddle knew the state of the economy, the massively intimidating debt profile bequeathed by the immediate past administration and what strategies to adopt to escape the peonage of development deficit. This informed initiation and formulation of plans and programmes to kick-start the Restoration Agenda. Bayelsans have seen that in the robust scholarship scheme, the Free Education programme, the agricultural programmes, the youth development programmes etc.

4. Patriotism: Governor Seriake Dickson and his Deputy are patriotic to the Ijaw Cause – a reason they often refer to Bayelsa as the Jerusalem of the Ijaw nation. They added teeth to this patriotic zeal by creating a separate Ministry of Culture and Ijaw National Affairs. Since inception, Ijaw Culture has been showcased to the world. Monies have been released to Ijaw musicians, women empowerment programmes are running in all the LGAs.

5. Consistency: Restoration keeps to all his campaign promises and consistency is the hallmark of great leaders. All the plans and programmes of government are carefully designed to align with the overall strategy for development, which revolves around: Reforming governance culture; Educational development: Security of lives and property; efficient Transport System and Organized Private Sector. Others include Restructuring the architecture of government; Accountability; Transparency & Tourism Development aggressive infrastructural Development; Open Government and new Initiative & innovation.

6. Prudence: In recorded history, good and effective leaders are people who use resources efficiently and to maximize the minimum. It is this quality that enables the Governor to attend to many needs/projects at the same time.

7. Emphasis on building strong Institutions: Governor Seriake Dickson and his amiable deputy assumed office to meet very weak institutions. This situation created room for fraud, ghost workers, and infractions by Government officials without discipline. Work ethics had broken down; cultism rode roughshod and gangland wars held sway over civility. Now, these cultists groomed by the past administration and voluntarily they were made to renounce cultism. Some of them have their capacities being built in several other areas: Ministry of Science, Technology & Manpower Dev; Ministry of Youth Dev; Ministry of Education; etc. Strong institutions have been built to carry the capacity of the reforms.

8. Peace & Security: This is the priority of the Restoration Administration. The first thing Governor Dickson did was to review the security architecture of government. You can understand why Yenagoa now plays host to all major national and international events such as World Tourism Day, National Festival, Practical Local Content Conference, and other hospitality related festivals/events. Peace is the plank on which development can be premised. The existing peace has strengthened the relationship between the State and the Centre.

9. Development Consciousness: Governor Dickson knows that Bayelsa State since creation has been lagging especially in terms of infrastructure, human capital development and social capital. One of the preconditions of development is peace and stability. He has been able to achieve this by entrenching a security architecture that guarantees safe investment. Due process is followed in the award of contracts and the rule of law is working.

10. Looking Beyond Oil: The administration is already preparing 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.

11. Taking care of and showing concern for the elderly. Governor 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.

12. Reviving the Ijaw Culture: 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 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. Governor Dickson is credited to be the founder of modern Bayelsa State.

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.

Among institutions that have been established include the Institute of Tourism, Catering and hospitality Management, the Jasper Boro College of Education and the Teacher Training Institute. Also underway are the Sports Academy and the Maritime Academy. Handwork and skills acquisition among youths is being encouraged and work ethics has taken root. The pace of development is moving fast because there is value for money, and the architecture of governance has been titrated to turn Bayelsa into the JERUSALEM OF IJAW NATION. RESTORATION IS WORKING!

We observe that those who served in the immediate past administration are pained at the achievements of Governor Seriake Dickson. This is expected. The only menu of choice in the lexicon of Governor Seriake Dickson is performance, performance and more performance.

Idumange John is a Public Intellectual

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Articles by Idumange John