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Reading the Lips of Governor Henry Seriake Dickson

By Robinson Erebi

Judge me by this – I will not play politics with your development. I will not play politics with crime, criminality and violence. I will not play politics with the protection of the Ijaw National interest within the context of a united, democratic and peaceful Nigeria” – Gov. Henry Seriake Dickson

The success of a man's journey of a thousand miles is not only determined by his courage to take the first step, but also in his capacity to maintain the balance to achieve desired goals. Politically speaking, his progress is measured by the basis of performance and impact on the people. Since the creation of Bayelsa State, no Governor has taken the amount of time spent by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson to make an elaborate plan of action and resolve to develop the state according to the master plan, which previous governments had been unable to pursue. Considering the lean resources at her disposal, Bayelsans and well meaning Nigerians alike had expected some level of acceleration in her pace of economic, social and infrastructural development, beyond the point we find ourselves before February 14, 2012, when Governor Henry Seriake Dickson took his oath of office as 4th Governor of Bayelsa State.

Prior to this time, it was generally believed that the development of the State has not kept pace with the resources that accrued to the State. In the formative years of democracy people yearned for a change of political leadership of the State for lack of meaningful development in spite of huge sums of money the comes into the state. The urban planning is abused; no roads, infact central areas of Yenagoa city like Amarata, Ovom, Swali, etc have remained an urban eye-sore. The development of the State had been bedeviled by corruption in the civil service system, unemployment; crime was on the increase with cultists having a field day. The State Treasury was putting the state on the threshold of bankruptcy.

Bayelsans received Governor Dickson as a Valentine's Gift because his assumption ceremony coincided with the celebration of St. Valentine's Day, connoting a good omen as far as political developments are concerned. Like his predecessors, he has made lots of promises through the implementation of a Restoration Agenda to develop the State. The Governor said he would not He said he was a product of the Ijaw movement and therefore, he will not play politics with the development of Bayelsa State. And from what we see in Yenagoa today, Governor Dickson is marching his words with action.

Reading the lips of Governor Henry Seriake Dickson when he delivered his inaugural speech, one thing is clear – that he is a radical Governor, a comrade governor with a mission to deliver democracy dividends. He said: “ the cardinal focus of the Restoration agenda is to undertake fundamental reform of the governance culture to emphasis transparency, accountability, due process and value-re-orientation by all institutions and functionaries of government, beginning from my humble self“ He emphasized that his administration will have zero tolerance for corruption and that the days of enrichment without labour and funding the greed and avarice of a few at the expense of the development of our people is over. Hear him: 'I will work hard to plug all leakages and sources of corruption which have been the bane of our development. I will rather use our common wealth to fund the construction of good roads, education, promote tourism, generate wealth and develop agriculture than fund corruption and greed. Be prepared therefore for a fundamental paradigm shift in the governance culture, values and lifestyle of public officials. I am aware that we will face resistance, we may be misunderstood but we shall always do what is right in the interest of you the people”.

Governor Dickson, basking in the euphoria of his landslide victory with a sea of supporters said “in the course of our campaign, we promised massive investment in education, critical infrastructure, agriculture, health, as well as peace and security. The development of human capital is our most compelling and urgent need. That is why we promised you free and compulsory education for all our children in primary and secondary schools with emphasis on computer literacy, science and technology. I hereby announce with immediate effect from today the take-off of free and compulsory education at primary and secondary school levels across Bayelsa State. The rebuilding of our educational infrastructure commences forthwith. Our curriculum will emphasize the study of Ijaw language, history and culture. We shall construct roads and other infrastructure to link our people and fast track comprehensive development. The completion of the three senatorial roads will be given high priority. But all these will not be possible without an atmosphere of peace and security.”

Barely six months in office, Governor Dickson's vision is manifesting radical changes sign-posting a new era of development and prosperity. He has awarded contracts worth billions of naira for massive road construction projects and other infrastructural development. With Julius Berger and other construction firms on the road, it won't be long before we see new roads and bridges linking Yenagoa and other communities.

Motor cycle popularly called Okada has been abolished and the rate of auto-related accidents has reduced to a near zero level. A new and safer mass transit system is now in place in Yenagoa. There's now free education and school buses for children. Gradually, Yenagoa has started to recapture its serene and peaceful environment. Bayelsans are also expecting government to ensure that they are economically empowered. Contract for clearing the airport site has been awarded. Bayelsa State will soon be reckoned as a massive cassava producing State in Nigeria. There is a huge re-engineering in the State UBE, and a revolution is already. Most youths believe that the huge amounts of money spent on road constructions do not generate much employment as the companies use heavy machinery and equipment to execute their projects, which of course is a welcome development in terms of quality of work. So far, within a period of seven months, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson has proved to be a man of his words.

Robinson Erebi
Is of the Bayelsa New Media Team

Disclaimer: "The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article." © Robinson Erebi.

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