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Bayelsa Guber-Race: Why Hon. Seriake Dickson May Get It

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It is no longer news that one of the principal front runners in the race to creek heaven Bayelsa State's seat of power is the chairman House committee on special duties Hon Henry Seriake Dickson. For upwards of 10 years, Hon Dickson has traversed the murky waters of politics. He was Attorney General of Bayelsa State during the Jonathan administration. In that capacity, he performed creditably. He is generally described as a loyal party man and has contributed to the building of the Party locally and nationally.

He launched to the national political theater by clinching a seat at the Green Chambers where he has been playing enormous role in initiating bills, moving motions and carrying out oversight functions. Every observer will not hesitate to concede that Hon. Dickson has garnered some experience not only from his legal profession and the public service but also in politics – not the type of politics of backstabbing and mudslinging.

Now, it does appear that destiny has beckoned on him to take a shot at a Number 1 seat of Bayelsa State. In terms of academic qualification and experience, nobody can take away anything from him. He was a notable figure under the Green Movement- the political platform which catapulted him to natural limelight.

My brief interaction with Hon. Dickson at his Apo residence a couple of days ago, indications that he is a man of robust ideas, vision and pragmatic zeal. According to him, his penchant to take a shot at the Governorship of Bayelsa State is borne out of service and the desire to optimize the resources to reposition the State for accelerated development. In his view, the State has, for the past four years, lost a lot in terms of mileage. The State has been a tale of missed opportunities and the only proper thing for any leader to do now is to restore such opportunities and leverage on them. He believes that most of the policies and programmes only exist in the books, but the sylva led administration has not taken practical steps to give teeth to promises.

I agree with Hon Dickson at his declaration in Abuja that the incumbent Governor Timipre Sylva does not quite understand the fundamental challenges facing the state and the potentials of the people. This according to Dickson is the reason Sylva has the penchant of starting needless political battles rather than build consensus, seek the co-operation if the people and show exemplary leadership. In his agenda for development, Hon Dickson said when he assumes office in February 2012, Bayelsa State will be transformed into an enviable State where the welfare of the people shall be given priority attention. It is against the background that he has pledged to give priority to education, health, tourism and transportation, sports, job creation, agriculture, water supply, energy and other ingredients of good governance.

Some apolitical analysts hold the view that Hon.Seriake Dickson may be the beautiful bride of progressive Bayelsans who need positive change in the State. A public servant who preferred anonymity opined that it may be a roller- coaster for Dickson into Creek Heaven because the the performance of the incumbent leaves much to be desired. He claimed that the Okpoama born Governor has done so poorly because of the low caliber of persons he appointed to his Cabinet. In spite of the enormous resources accruing to the State the level of development is not commensurate with the revenue inflow - an indication that so many resources might have been frittered away into personal accounts. For a State in dire need of development, this is criminal.

Already a Coalition of Civic Society Organizations has buttressed the fact that Governor Sylva has invested the commonwealth in several business ventures in oil, maritime, real estate and the media; he also maintains dozens of offshore accounts – an act that constitutes a criminal offence. This could be the reason for the stagnation of the State?.

From the view point of track-record, this writer sampled the opinion of twenty persons in Yenagoa, sixteen 16 persons agreed that Dickson is by far better than the incumbent as the later does not engage in bad habits as substance abuse. Dickson is receptive, courageous, open- minded and tolerant of divergent views. With these qualities, most Bayelsans are convinced that the NASS member will run an open government. On the contrary, Governor Sylva is dictatorial, inconsiderate and does not take the advice of subordinates and this is why things have gone berserk.

One decision that would certainly work to the advantage of the Sagbama born politician is the wide spread view that the governorship slot should be zoned to the West since other Senatorial Districts, Bayelsa East and Central had produced Governors. Whereas the zoning principle is in line with logic, morality and political expediency what is worrisome however is that Mr. President has decided not to give his blessings to any of the aspirants ostensibly, to create a level playing field for all in accordance with his belief in the rule of law and internal democracy of the Party. Mr. President has never been known to interfere with political goings-on in the State.

Only a couple of days ago, the PDP EXCO has been dissolved, making way for the emergence of a new one. This move will certainly unsettle him the incumbent, Also, Sylva has lot of problems to tackle and one wonders if the PDP screening Committee will give him a clean bill of health. One allegation is that Sylva has been the arrowhead of sponsorship of the cult-related wars which culminated in the murder of scores of people in the State. Whereas these allegations are being investigated in high quarters, the Governor has been blamed for the numerous extra-judicial murders carried out by the disbanded Operation Famou-Tangbe, OFT in Yenagoa. Most inhabitants of Yenagoa regarded the OFT outfit as an instrument of political vendetta, suppression of opposition and a weapon of terror. Opposition politicians believe that OFT was targeted at them so that when dissenting views are muzzled, the Governor will rig the elections. But events in Kogi State may relegate the incumbency factor to the background.

One thing that is clear is that Governor Sylva has incurred the odium of many Bayelsan for not fulfilling promises. There are insinuations that the administration wrestles with cases like over-invoicing and outright stealing of top government functionaries. Most of these crimes are believed to have been perpetrated by his aides. A graduate of Public administration who hails from Southern Ijaw Local Government area disclosed that for the past 4 years, the State Government has placed an embargo on employment and the soaring unemployment in the state has constituted a menace to the peace and stability of the State. Governor Sylva's administration has been one of disaster and failed promises. Whether this has depleted his political capital or not is yet to be seen.

Hon. Henry Dickson, in the permutation of most people, has a better heart and barring any unforeseen circumstances, there is an oval possibility that is people shun money politics; he is likely to get the slot in a free and fair election. The youthful segment of the population may route for him because of his zeal to better the lot of the people. He has promised to reconcile all factious across the political divide, abolish cultism and attract foreign investors to the State in areas where the State has comparative advantage. , he has also promised reform government institutions to fit with the transformational agenda of the Federal Government. I am not pushing to be governor, my people want me to serve them in that capacity Dickson said; With his humility, sense of probity, knack for service and the capacity to deliver, Bayelsans can only be optimistic that Hon. Seriake Dickson may get it come 2012.

Eddy Fadamiro, wrote from Warri

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Idumange John and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Idumange John