Cornerstone of Dickson’s Administration: Democracy may not be the best form of government, but humanity is yet to fashion a better alternative to democracy.
At a time when democrats are thinning out in our country, Governor of Bayelsa State, the Honorable Henry Seriake Dickson, reboots hopes that the pool of democrats will not run dry just yet. In deed the governor is an archetypal democrat in a democracy!
In the last six years as the helmsman of the littoral state, he has empowered citizens with information, freed up the political space for opposition to operate unfettered and, above all, delivered democratic dividends to the people. Despite his various achievements, the Countryman Governor remains resolute in finishing strong, by fully delivering on his electoral promises to Bayelsans, the reason for his overwhelming victory at the polls when he sought re-election. While convinced that freedoms and the right to know are important elements of democracy, he is of the view that a democracy without concrete developmental deliverables does not deliver optimal return to the political economy.
One of the unique things, the Countryman Governor did to mainstream democracy in the state was the enthronement of the culture of transparency and accountability in the governance of the state. This was conceived to empower Bayelsans with critical information about the accruals to the state, expenditure and how the government is run generally. On assumption of office on February 14, 2012, one of the bills he sent to the Bayelsa State House of Assembly and signed into law was the Transparency and Accountability Bill. The law makes it mandatory for the state government to render monthly account of stewardship to Bayelsans at a town hall meeting.
Failure of the governor or his representative to do that for three consecutive months is adjudged as misconduct on the part of the governor and he is liable to impeachment by law! So far, the governor has kept faith with the law and Bayelsans have owned his government.
By instituting prudence, transparency and accountability, government functionaries and the civil servants have been stopped from bleeding the state, as they now appreciate that there is a new Sheriff in the Creek Haven! This has drastically reduced corruption, red tapism and waste in the business of government. But the singular most important effect of the new regime is the ongoing transformation of the state, for it made it possible for the government to be focused and save funds with which it has delivered on its mandate to Bayelsans in all sectors.
From Education, Health, Infrastructure, Tourism, Agriculture and so on, Bayelsans are singing a new song and the state is now safe and peaceful for investments These feats of the governor have earned him accolades from within and outside the country. Former Nigerian leaders like General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as well as Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, traditional rulers, political leaders, business and political elites have not ceased celebrating the giant strides!
The media too have since joined in celebrating this governor we call the Ofurumapepe, which literally means the Great White Shark that braves the ocean even when the tempest is highest.
True to his traditional name, this governor has conquered the most difficult and treacherous Nigerian terrain to place Bayelsa State on the path of development, prosperity and peace! AIT was therefore right to have voted this selflessly courageous politician of conviction and man of faith, the Governor of the year, 2017!