GOV DICKSON OPENS PAN IJAW SUMMIT, CALLS FOR UNITY OF PURPOSE AND SACRIFICE ON THE PART OF ALL STAKEHOLDERS
Bayelsa Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson on Wednesday called for unity of purpose and sacrifice as the Ijaw nation prepares for the challenges of the post Jonathan presidency era.
Governor Dickson, who made the call while declaring open a 2-day Pan Ijaw Summit at the Gabriel Okara Cultural Centre in Yenagoa, stressed the need for leaders of the Ijaw nation to rub minds and chart a way forward, after May 29th, when President Goodluck Jonathan hands over political power to the incoming administration.
Reminding the elders and other stakeholders in the Ijaw nation of their role in setting the pace for the development and progress of the Ijaws, Governor Dickson pointed out that, if Bayelsa being the only homogenous state for the Ijaw people were stable, united and prosperous, it would go a long way in impacting on the people.
The Governor, who described Bayelsa as a symbolic State that represents the stake and the soul of the Ijaw nation, called for an agenda to capture the essence of the Ijaw aspiration for the sake of future generations.
Accordingly, Governor Dickson called on the Ijaw elders to intervene and provide guidance for elected national officials to contribute their quota for the overall benefit of the people, just as his administration was working hard at improving critical infrastructure, including the diversification of the economy.
His words: “This is a very trying moment in the life of our people. For some, they are still in shock, but the reality will even dawn on us more after May 29 and as the days roll by, we need to talk frankly and chart a new course.
“We must tell ourselves the truth; you can see modest efforts of my government to improve upon the infrastructure, invest in critical areas like education, health, expansion of our economy, through diversification, invest in security to make it one of the most safest states in the country, appreciate the security agents and the people for their cooperation.
“We cannot talk about a future for the Ijaw people without talking about a united, stable and prosperous Bayelsa State, if we fix Bayelsa right, then the Ijaw nation will be on the right track. That is what we have been doing. We like to remind the people of the Ijaw nation, especially elders of the Ijaw nation, not to forget at all times to speak up when things begin to go wrong.
“God has been kind to us that the blessings he gave to us have surpassed our expectations in the past 6 years. Appreciate President Goodluck Jonathan for the appointment of Executive Secretary for the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board. I wish that, the Ijaw leaders met with our national representatives, not to forget the home base in order to develop the Ijaw nation.
Governor Dickson used the opportunity to express appreciation to all Nigerians for their support for President Jonathan and urged all Ijaw leaders to join him at a civic reception, being organized in Yenagoa for the President after his hand over date of May 29th.
Speaking at the occasion, Chairman of the summit, who is also chairman of the State Traditional Rulers’ Council, King Alfred Diete-Spiff emphasized the need to devise a practicable plan for the days ahead, particularly, in an economy, where crude oil prices have fallen to 56 dollars per barrel.
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of the Pan Ijaw Stakeholders Summit Organizing Committee, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, explained that the essence of the summit, which has as its theme, “Ijaw Agenda Beyond May 29th” was to plan for the future of the Ijaw people, review the journey so far, the issue of the economy beyond oil and gas, analyze the challenges and present an Ijaw agenda to be published worldwide.
Resource persons, who presented papers at the summit include, Niger Delta Community Rights Advocate, Ms. Annkio Briggs and Professor Ebiegberi Alagoa.