Byelsa 2019: Dickson’s continuity albatross
The emergence of Seriake Dickson as the flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and his eventual clinching of the coveted seat in the gubernatorial race in 2011 was a political upsurge, and a government of great promise-in-waiting at the same time.
This was so given that there was a sitting governor angling for a second term, notwithstanding his woeful performance in office in four years.Thus, the first challenge for Governor Seriake Dickson was how to assemble suitable hands that would understand his vision, and pursue same to achieve results.
The work of governance was cut out for him with regard to tackling various challenges facing a population under siege from a government inebriated by the exuberance of power.These challenges included but not limited to violence, infrastructure decay, deficit in school enrolment and performance, a near comatose health sector and disenchanted and restive youths.
To demonstrate his seriousness in the Bayelsa redemption project, Governor Dickson tagged his administration ”Restoration Government,” and formed a team that would play a policy as well as an implementation role.As a manifestation of his leadership credentials, the Governor congregated a crack team to kick-start his administration. And together, in a bottom-up approach, they launched out, and took good governance to the people of Bayelsa State.
The government quickly embarked on interventionist roles, like the supply of desks to schools and roofing of classroom blocks; rehabilitation of deplorable roads, and building of new ones; and invitation of foreign medical experts to go round the communities and treat the sick.
In later years, it worked assiduously on a Regional Master Plan, which, as it were, has come to serve as the development compass for the state.As one of the top grid accomplishments of the Restoration government, the attention paid to details in the production of the Master Plan has made it a manual on how and when to develop each part of the state.
The opening up of the creeks, hinterlands and rural areas with roads, electricity, schools, pipe-borne water and health centres, among other amenities, helped to raise the index of living for the people of Bayelsa.The youth empowerment programmes, agricultural (rice and cassava farms) projects, mass transit system, etc., assisted in no small way to mop up jobless youths from the streets for gainful employments.
As the years went by, the attention on the Restoration team grew, and it became a target that all kinds of missiles were fired by those who were not happy with the Political family or the people that piloted it.
However, Governor Seriake Dickson survived the storms. He played his cards well. He had a clear idea of the Restoration mandate, and remained focused and visibly determined to run the government to achieve the corporate dream of Bayelsans.
The Governor was to aggressively restructure and re-launch his commitment to improving the lives of Bayelsa people. And it’s self-evident.Irrespective of what the critics of the Restoration team think, what matters, as it were, is the evidence of work done, which, in Latin, is “res ipsa loquitur” (“the thing speaks for itself”).
That there is yet so much to do in the Bayelsa, despite the eight years of the Seriake Dickson-led Restoration team’s intensive intervention, only supports the fact that the state was in neglect, and decay when he took office.If nothing else is credited to the Dickson government, at least, he has laid a firm and deep foundation for development, with the modalities for achieving it defined by his leadership.
That’s why it’s exciting to understand the responsibility before Governor Dickson to search for, and pick a capable and dependable Bayelsan to take the mantle from him.
Hence, he sticks his neck out for Senator Diri Douye, who has been a loyal and faithful member of his Restoration political family, to succeed him as the Governor of Bayelsa State.To further the hand of prosperity, the progressives must insist on greater heights. This is where Diri Douye makes the difference. He will hit the ground running, as all needed institutional grips are on ground.
Senator Douye has not minced words in his commitment to touch lives and keep the hopes of the people of Bayelsa alive. He has promised that “No one will be left behind,” as he executes his ‘FORWARD TOGETHER’ mantra. Surely, Diri Douye will be the comforter of his people, given his experience in politics and governance. And having been part of the Restoration team, Bayelsa is primed to experience a further hand of prosperity in the years to come.