Inaugural Speech by His Excellency, Henry Seriake Dickson, The Governor of Bayelsa State on this 14th Day of February, 2012
My Dear Good People of Bayelsa State and the Ijaw Nation,
Today marks the climax of the journey we started several months ago when I announced my intention to run for the office of Governor of our dear state on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In the course of our campaigns we promised change and restoration of our lost glory. Today that change has come. Today our Restoration journey begins.
Let me thank you all for your prayers and support and the confidence reposed in me by your overwhelming mandate. I also must thank you for the sacrifices made and the risks taken to ensure our victory at the polls.
I wish to particularly thank my boss and elder brother, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, for his fatherly support and unflinching commitment to a better, prosperous and secure Bayelsa State and Nigeria. I also want to place on record our deep appreciation to the First Lady, Her Excellency, Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan, for her motherly support all the way. Similarly, we salute the Vice President, Arch Namadi Sambo, who as Chairman of the National Campaign Committee provided uncommon leadership, which contributed immensely to our victory at the polls.
Let me also thank the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark and my worthy brother and friend, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and the entire members of the National Assembly for their solidarity and their abiding support.
Our immense gratitude also goes to all the leaders of my party particularly, the Acting National Chairman, members of the National Working Committee and all the members of the National Campaign Committee for Bayelsa Governorship campaign. Of course, this victory couldn’t have been possible without the phenomenal work of the various party organs and structure in Bayelsa state. Let me specially thank the Right Honorable Speaker and Members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Chairman of our party, Deacon James Dugo and members of his Executive Committee. I salute the efforts of the Elders committee ably led by our former Governor, Chief D.S.P Alamieyeseigha and our Campaign caucus under the capable leadership of my dear brother, Chief Ndutimi Alaibe.
Permit me to also extend my sincere appreciation to all our teeming supporters, KEME2KEME volunteers, party faithfuls and most especially, members of “The Restoration 2012 Campaign Team” led by the Director General, Chief Fred Agbedi for their dogged determination in driving this campaign to its final destination; resulting in our party’s resounding victory at the polls. We are truly grateful and eternally indebted to you for your invaluable contributions to the success of our campaign
We thank you the good people of Bayelsa State for your peaceful conduct before, during and after the polls. By your conduct at the polls, we have proved our detractors wrong. We have shown to the whole world that we will not succumb to violence and that we are not a violent people.
I am humbled by the overwhelming support and mandate freely given to us by Bayelsans. Accredited observers, both local and international have adjudged the election to be free, fair and credible and probably the best in the history of our dear state. Let me thank INEC and the security agencies for conducting a free, fair and violent-free election.
As a product of the Ijaw movement, I am aware that I was not just a candidate of Bayelsa State but of the entire Ijaw nation. Let me therefore thank all the Ijaw people at home and in the diaspora for their prayers and unflinching support. To all ijaws wherever they may reside, let me reaffirm that Bayelsa will be continue to be your Jerusalem and I will be your Governor too.
We thank all friends and well-wishers of Bayelsa State for their keen interest and partnership. We specially thank all those who contributed materially and otherwise to the success of our campaigns and subsequent victory at the polls.
We sincerely thank all the Clergy men for their prayers and unyielding support. I personally want to thank them for their steadfastness in prayers for me and my family all through the course of this campaign.
We must at this point thank the Chiefs and Elders in all the communities we visited to solicit for votes. The campaigns offered us further insight into your problems and potentials. We assure you that you will hear from us soon in very specific terms.
To all my brothers who took part in this electoral contest with me on the platform of other political parties, yesterday we were opponents but today offers an opportunity for partnership in the service of our people for a greater tomorrow.
To you my good people of Bayelsa State, who have voted for change and restoration, let me say a few words about the cardinal focus of the Restoration Agenda.
We shall undertake fundamental reform of the governance culture to emphasize transparency, accountability, due process and value re-orientation by all institutions and functionaries of government, beginning with my humble self. For emphasis, there shall be zero tolerance for corruption under my administration. 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. 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.
To do nothing now about the corrupt, decadent and self-serving status quo, poses a clear and present danger to the very existence of our state and will be the greatest disservice to our aspirations as Ijaw people. If Bayelsa fails, the Ijaw nation also fails and so will the Niger Delta with grave consequences for national stability. This, we cannot allow to happen. We will therefore take the necessary decisions and actions, however difficult, however painful, however controversial those decisions and actions may be. Even when you have a different perspective, which is your right to hold, be rest assured that our actions will always be in your interest and you will be consulted regularly. As part of our commitment to transparency, we shall announce and publish all revenues accruing to the state beginning from now.
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 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 will invest in the development of other aspects of human capacity for our teeming youths, such that they will be able to unleash their creative capacities as well as enhance their drive for entrepreneurship.
We shall construct roads and other infrastructure to link our people and fast track comprehensive development. The completion of the three senatorial roles will be given high priority. But all these will not be possible without an atmosphere of peace and security. We must therefore strengthen our consensus as a community to have zero tolerance for criminality and insecurity. As a government, we will make all the necessary investment to create and sustain a secure society governed by the rule of law.
Our concept of security includes a commitment to protect our communities from all forms of environmental terrorism. We are willing to partner with all corporate entities operating in our state but we will insist on the highest standards of responsible corporate citizenship. Similarly, we will not condone the irresponsible acts of our own people who through criminal acts damage the ecology and environment.
We shall review and emplace an institutional framework for promoting investments with the active collaboration of the private sector. So to the rest of the country and the world, we declare that the new Bayelsa State is ready to welcome genuine investors and investments in an atmosphere so convivial, that beyond rhetoric, Bayelsa will be your home away from home. We are determined to make Bayelsa a foremost tourism and invest haven.
Fellow Bayelsans, it is true that no great enterprise or society has ever been built without a grand vision. But vision alone, like an architectural drawing, no matter how beautiful has never built anything without the labour of many skilled, semi-skilled and even unskilled hands. We have cast a beautiful vision of restoration for our beloved Bayelsa, the Glory of all lands. Now we must labour to make it happen and it is to this labour we now summon every man, woman and child – Hear the clarion call – To thy work oh Bayelsans– Let the Glory of all lands be restored again!
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.
A new dawn has broken;
The New Bayelsa beckons;
With your support and prayers and by the grace of God, Bayelsa State and the Ijaw nation will NEVER be the same again.
GOD bless Bayelsa State!
GOD bless the Ijaw Nation!!
GOD bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!