Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson says, his administration will continue to give the desired attention and boost to the educational sector, as it remains the surest means of improving the human capacity development index of the state.
Governor Dickson gave this assurance at a public lecture and awards ceremony marking the birthday of the pioneer commissioner for agriculture and one time Secretary to Government in the State, Professor Steve Azaiki in Yenagoa, the state capital.
Describing the administration’s restoration agenda as people oriented, he noted that, education was key to the overall development of the state.
The Governor, who was full of gratitude to the celebrant for his various supportive roles to the government, especially in the area of education, commended the establishment of the Azaiki Institute of Science and Technology and pledged government’s desire to partner and support the institute in achieving its set objectives,stressing that, it will further promote learning and the development of the education sector.
Hon. Dickson, who was also taken on a guided tour of the Azaiki Public Library along Imgbi Road in Yenagoa, praised him for pioneering a new dawn and setting the pace for others to follow, describing the edifice and the occasion as a lesson in service.
According to him, he was inspired by what he saw, noting that it is one of Bayelsa and the Ijaw nation’s best kept secrets, as he had no prior knowledge of the existence of such a magnificent edifice in the state.
The governor congratulated the celebrant and all the awardees, noting that, they are accomplished personalities and worthy recipients of the awards conferred on them.
In his words “Government is doing a lot in education, infrastructure, Security, and a lot still needs to be done; I thank the people of the state for their support.
“On the economy: whatever we do without economic inclusiveness, in the area of the people getting the economy in their hands, our society will be on borrowed times.
He stated that government is already taking steps to open more frontiers to boost the local economy, assuring that, in the next one year, the programme of developing the Small and Medium Enterprise would have materialised with a lot of Bayelsans having easy access to finance.
Governor Dickson explained that, the government and the private sector, especially the banks, have set up a N25 to N30 billion SME fund and also revolutionalised the process of title ownership to ensure that, those with certificates of occupancy can use them to access loans.
“The government is opening more frontiers to boost the local economy. In a year’s time the programme of developing the SME Sector would have materialised with a lot of our people having easy access to finance.
“Government and the private sector (Banks) have set up a N25 – N30 billion SME fund; revolutionalised the process of title ownership in the state: those with certificates of occupancy can use their C of O to access loan; those with business plan will also be assisted to secure loan as well as an entrepreneurship’ training to acquire skill to do any business of their interest” he said.
In his welcome address, Chairman of the occasion, former Military administrator of Bayelsa State and immediate past Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Caleb Omoniyi Olubolade (Rtd) expressed satisfaction with the level of infrastructural development in the state.
He commended the celebrant, Professor Azaiki as an embodiment of knowledge, a patriot and a detribalised Nigerian, who means well for the state.
The former Minister used the occasion to call on the people of the state to always support the policies and programmes of President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda and be security conscious, considering the security situation in some parts of the country.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Azaiki Institute of Science and Technology, Professor Erhabor Patrick, explained that, the awards were meant to encourage the awardees to remain faithful in their various callings and also to encourage others to emulate their exemplary life styles.
The guest lecturer and Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Akure in Ondo State, Professor Adebiyi Daramola, who spoke on the theme of the of the event: “Food security and poverty alleviation in Nigeria,” described poverty as a hydra headed monster that needs the effort of everyone to fight, adding that food insecurity leads to insecurity
Those that received awards at the occasion were; second Republic senator Amatari Zuofa, literary icon Sir Dr. Gabriel Okara, one time Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, former Civillian governor of old Rivers State; Chief Rufus Ada George and renowned historian and author, Professor Ebiegberi Alagoa.