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Expect More Investment On Security; Gov. Dickson Promises Bayelsans As He Takes New Oath Of Office

The newly sworn-in Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson has dedicated his second term election victory to the people of the State, hence, the promise to “consolidate and expand” on his previous score card by increasing government’s investment on security in the next four years.

Governor Dickson stated these Sunday, in his inaugural speech, in the main bowl of Samson Siasia Stadium, Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

Dickson restated the “victory is for all lovers of democracy in Nigeria and beyond, who embarked on spontaneous celebration and flooded us with congratulatory messages following our victory”.

Still, the Governor condemned the violence unleashed on the residents of the State, under the guise of politics and elections. He acknowledged the sacrifice made by the victims of the electoral violence, adding that his Government has resolved to deploy all available legal and legitimate means to bring the perpetrators to book.

“Now that elections are over, we must strengthen the synergy between citizens, the State Government and security agencies to recapture the peace and security that prevailed prior to the elections. Bayelsa is the epicenter of the Niger Delta, critical to the security, stability and economic prosperity of our country and the Gulf of Guinea region. Therefore, our government remains committed to working with the Federal Government and security agencies to secure our nation and its people.

“We should work together to root out kidnappers, cultists and other criminals who vandalize national economic assets. The imperative of this partnership dictates for instance, that no government official or functionary at state or federal level should use their position to encourage or facilitate crime and criminality under any guise.

“Similarly, security officials at Federal or State levels should not be intimidated from executing their statutory functions for fear of retribution. Nobody, regardless of political persuasion should be allowed to subvert national institutions or undermine the security and stability of the State or the Nation. Our experience in Bayelsa State in the recent past has shown a tendency to misconstrue membership of the political party at the center as cover and license to kill, maim and destroy while security officials look on helplessly. Let us not allow partisanship to slide our country into anarchy. The consequences will be too grave” Dickson counseled.

With the conclusion of the elections, Governor Dickson promised return of the South south State to its prideful place as one of the most peaceful and secure states, mainly due to measures already put in place in collaboration with security agencies.

He urged the people of the State to continue to support and cooperate with the security agencies, enduring whatever inconveniences some of the security measures his administration put in place might cause, hinting that elements of a more comprehensive security strategy would be unveiled in due course.

Speaking on diversification of the State Government due to misfortune of crude oil, Dickson appreciated the Bayelsa’s people State and development partners for their understanding during the trying times. He added: “In retrospect, it was a wise decision to have embarked on such ambitious and robust developmental projects at the time we did. Clearly there is no way we could have even embarked on projects of such magnitude and impact with current levels of funding”.

The new Governor stated: “While many of these legacy projects have been completed and put into use, this consolidation mandate will enable us complete on-going projects for the benefit of our people. The Airport project, schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and other infrastructural projects for instance are already at advanced stages of completion”.

“Faced with the reality of dwindling revenue, the wisdom in our strategy of diversifying our economic base beyond oil and gas to focus on agriculture and tourism is now justified more than ever before. We shall complete and put to use our fish farms, cassava starch processing plants, and other agricultural initiatives as well as hotels and tourism facilities to create jobs for our teeming youths and complement revenue from oil sources.

“We have already laid the foundation for encouraging entrepreneurship amongst our people, through the establishment of the school of entrepreneurship, to arm our youths with the requisite skills to do business and create jobs for themselves. This should reduce over-dependence on government and political patronage” the Governor affirmed.

He said the establishment of the Izon-Ibe Microfinance Bank with presence in all the local government areas of the state would complement our entrepreneurship drive by promoting access to credit for small and medium scale businesses.

More importantly, Governor Dickson asserted that a key focus for his Government in the next four years includes expanding the ongoing rural electrification schemes and build on our massive investment in power to drive industrialization. He added that his Government has already concluded a gas purchase agreement with SPDC to service the State’s energy hub, calling on investors to come and make additional investment in power and take advantage of the rich natural gas endowment.

He promised to commence the building of the industrial park and “renew invitation to investors to take advantage of the opportunities in Bayelsa- the world’s best kept secret”.

Similarly, the Governor promised that in the next four years, priority attention would also be paid to massive housing development projects for various segments of society.

Dickson announced that he respect the opposition and right to hold different views. He noted that their participation in the process made the contest more “vibrant and our victory more worthwhile and legitimate”. “Yesterday we were opponents; today, we must be partners for the security, development and prosperity of Bayelsa State. I now invite you all to join me in this enterprise of consolidating the gains of restoration. Let us work together to move our state forward” Dickson demanded.

While noting that no people or group has felt the burden of sustaining the Nigerian project like the Bayelsa people, he lamented that the residents over the years have been forced to live with environmental hazards as the price for national prosperity and survival, recalling that the State’s heroes led by Isaac Adaka Boro and immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan joined the Nigerian military to fight for the Unity of the country – paid the supreme to keep Nigeria united as well as kept faith with Nigerians to ensure the “project Nigeria” remains, in particular the loss of the last Presidential poll by Jonathan and his party.

The Governor pledged not to relent in working with other stakeholders and allies so as to perfect the unity of the coutry and address issues of environmental, economic and political inequities.

He urged Nigerian leaders at all levels to work together; strengthen the alliances to serve the country better, promising that the State would “mobilize the Ijaw nation and the rest of our region to re-engineer these alliances, strengthen the foundation of our country, guarantee the survival of democracy and spread prosperity to all”.

Governor Dickson called for people’s understanding and co-operation as his Government strives to consolidate on the gains made on security, peace, development and prosperity.

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