- Mantu, Jerry Gana, others extol Dickson
- BY CHIDUBEM UKAMAKA in Port Harcourt•
Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed satisfaction over the rapid transformation, which Governor Henry Seriake Dickson had brought on Bayelsa State within six years.
He therefore suggested that the younger generation should be accommodated in the nation’s political leadership because “although they are future leaders, tomorrow might not come again.”
Obasanjo spoke in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital during a courtesy visit on the traditional rulers council where he was conferred with automatic Bayelsa State citizenship and chieftaincy title.
“We came here in 1998/1999 and I have seen the rapid transformation. I commend all the people who have joined hands in building this state. When I see the transformation that is going on between 1998 and now, I doff my heart for this man called Dickson.
When I came into Yenagoa, Jerry Gana told me, ‘this governor is working hard’ and I told him if he’s not working hard, I won’t be here.
“You call me a Bayelsan and I’m proud to be a Bayelsan. Any good place like Bayelsa is a place to be. Here we’re seeing real transformation. Any place where we are seeing transformation is a place to be.
“I thank your governor Dickson for inviting me. Anybody who was here 20 years ago and the development that has taken place will appreciate the money spent. Thank you governor Henry Seriake Dickson. You’re making it easy for investors to come, to relax and to do business.
“If you hear that I’m coming here often, don’t be surprised. One of the things that has struck me is the relative peace Dickson has brought in Bayelsa State. I don’t know how you did it. May be we have to come for your tutelage.”
Obasanjo also commended traditional rulers for assisting the Dickson’s administration in bringing the relative security in Bayelsa State.
Meanwhile, former Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, Ibrahim Mantu; former Minister of Information, Prof Jerry Gana, have also extolled the leadership qualities of Dickson, saying he has put the state on the global map.
Two former Ministers of Information, Chief John Odeh and Labaran Maku and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Shehu Gabam, also did same.
The personalities also enrolled in the Bayelsa State Health Insurance Scheme, thereby becoming the first honorary enrollees of the organisation.
A statement issued on Thursday by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Francis Ottah Agbo, said they made the commendation during the unveiling of various legacy projects including the popular BAYELSA INFORMATION HOUSE.
Projects inaugurated were, the Bayelsa Health Insurance Scheme Complex, the Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS Research Centre as well as the Information House, which accommodates the state Ministry of Information.
According to them, Dickson has translated good governance in concrete terms by building critical infrastructure for the development of the state.
During the inauguration of the Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS Research Centre, Mantu described the health facility as exceptional, adding that, it would provide vaccines capable of preventing life threatening diseases.
“Governor Dickson has made the best investment as the project will not only preserve the health of Bayelsans, but attract people from all over the world,” he said.
Mantu said the facility would also transform Bayelsa to be the Singapore of Africa and also increase its internally generated revenue.
Speaking as a panellist during a colloquium entitled: “Managing Government Information in this Volatile New Media Age: A Matter of Theory or A Question of Practice?”, shortly after commissioning the BAYELSA INFORMATION HOUSE, Gana, lauded Governor Dickson for placing high premium on proper management of information.
While observing that there was a nexus between good governance and effective dissemination of information, he stressed that; information provides enlightenment that engenders participatory democracy.
Other Panelists included, Labaran Maku, John Odeh, and former Commissioner for Information in Edo State, Louis Odion as well as one-time Political Adviser to former Senate President, Oche Victor Elias.
Speaking on his administration’s health policies, Governor Seriake Dickson said the Bayelsa Health Insurance Scheme, which has currently captured 66,000 public servants, was introduced to make health care more accessible and affordable.
According to him, efforts were on to collaborate with the relevant stakeholders to reduce the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS.
Dickson indicated his readiness to sign the bill for the establishment of the State Primary Healthcare Agency into law.