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Dickson As the Real Change Bayelsa Needs


By Daniel Iworiso-Markson

BALTIMORE, MD AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Ideally, political contest for power is premised on superior arguments and ideas which the people, as the heart of democracy, could relate with as capable of truly changing their socio-economic conditions in a just society where institutions of government work in harmony with the rule of law.

In an enlightened polity, such ideas are painstakingly evaluated by the electorate which informs their judgement and choices on the election-day. And the ultimate objective would be to have a government which in the long run guarantees a social contract in the postulation of Rousseau or achieves Bentham’s utilitarian conception of the greatest happiness of the greatest number in the society.

These are the considerations which should agitate the minds of Bayelsans ahead of the December 5 governorship election which pitches the incumbent Governor Seriake Dickson with his closet rival, Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in a contest which the former, a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has dubbed as between “light and darkness”

.Beyond rhetoric, I think the understanding should be reinforcing by now that the crucial election is about the future of the state which is expected to dictate a conscious attention among the voters on the challenges they face and indeed the kind of leadership they deserve. Thus the destiny of Bayelsans is in their own hands to decide not just as mere civic duty on election-day but much more about a collective action for sustaining a rebirth.

While Governor Dickson has been campaigning on his record of achievements in his first time asking the people to key into his vision of restoration as witnessed in the record changes in the various sectors of the state economy, Sylva’s has only been more of promises of “change” regurgitating  his party’s  campaign mantra.

The former governor, curiously, isn’t making much reference to his past tenure as expected to perhaps corroborate and sell his convictions on the “change” he’s offering unlike Dickson who is boldly and assertively telling his remarkable story of success in education, health, infrastructure, roads and bridges, job creation, ambitious diversification of the economy as well as impactful governance culture which underscores transparency and accountability. A leadership audacity of performance which has made it possible to revive education through comprehensive scholarship and allied programs and policies now with impressive record of lifting Bayelsa from being in the bottom of the ladder before assuming office in 2012 to one of the best performing in the country today, jumping in successive incremental record from 2013 as having the 6th highest pass rates among Nigeria’s 36 states with 51 per cent pass rate, moved two places higher in 2004 becoming number 4 with 52.83 per cent as 34,242 students scored five credits and above including Maths and English going by WAEC records. Among the several feats in infrastructure provision, the historic Nembe road, against all odds, was constructed making it possible to drive straight from Yenagoa to Nembe for the first time since the idea was conceived over fifty years ago. Just this weekend, while on campaign in Brass, Governor Dickson gave assurance of his administration’s resolve to award the multi billion Naira Nembe/Brass Road during the first quarter of 2016, if re-elected for a second term in office.

The award of the contract as assured by the governor is in addition to the on-going Ogbia/Nembe road project and other developmental projects sited in the area.

These are the real change in my reckoning especially by making education a priority as the basis for true development as against Sylva’s proposition of a vague “change” neither supported by his past nor can it be relied upon by his present characterized by inconsistencies.

The scenario is really scaring for Sylva to contemplate another sojourn into Government House in the state considering his locust years as governor, leaving behind a whopping debt of N432 billion accumulated from an assortment of loans and bonds out of which Dickson has so far paid N242 billion. It is a sorry story the governor has been telling Bayelsans on his campaign trail that he’s still paying N2 billion monthly even in era of liquidity crisis and that the liquidation of Sylva’s debt won’t end until 2017. Now, is this the kind of “change” Bayelsans deserve, to further plunge the state into debt without concomitant development to show for it?

These are the issues which informed Governor Dickson’s repeated admonition to all and sundry that never again shall we have a profligate attitude to governance in the state and the message is fast sinking in to differentiate true change from a vague “change”.

Interestingly, government’s success on multiple fronts anchored on integrity has continued to garner much goodwill, attracting an incredible support base which will likely translate into a landslide at the critical election in December. We are beginning to see this possibility as indicated in the widespread approval and endorsements from core and strategic nucleus of the entire stakeholders and the generality of the people across the state, turning PDP rallies and the various town hall meetings into carnivals. If anyone is still in doubt, the rally in Brass, Timipre Sylva’s home base, has proven it all, with open and unrestrained, categorical endorsement of Governor Dickson’s re-election by every influential leader, paramount rulers as well as all strata of the Brass community who came out in such a large crowd as widely reported in the media to express their total support for their governor. It was clearly not about Dickson as it were but for the good work he has done convincing them of the greater benefits his second term will afford their community compared with what their own son was able to do as governor of the state for almost five years. That is the manifest change we are talking about which can easily be recognized as a practical act of true leadership.

Sylva’s case is now worsened by the series of defection to PDP by APC members across the state following the massive defection of the Forum of Authentic APC Delegates, Timi Alaibe’s core loyalists, ably led by Senator John Brambiafa and Chief Alex Ekiotenne.

The finish line is already discernible which is an inevitable victory for Governor Seriake Dickson, a worthy mandate for acceleration of the restoration agenda in key areas including the Agge deep seaport, Brass LNG, slated investments in power generation, completion of the airport at Amassoma, now 60 per cent ready, on-going agricultural projects, the eco-industrial park at Gbaranmotu to create wealth for collective interest of all Bayelsans. This is the real change we can always trust the Contriman governor will deliver, the true change Bayelsa needs.



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