Recently, Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, celebrated his 51st birthday anniversary. But celebrating the people’s true leader will not be complete without recounting his worthwhile impacts on his people, writes Peter Uzoho
That he is called ‘countryman’ is not for fun. It is because of his love for his people of Bayelsa and Ijaw in general. Henry Seriake Dickson is not just a governor but a true leader of his people. He knows his people’s problems; he shares in the plight of his people and is ever determined to pull them out of the clutches of hardship.
Dickson’s entrance into politics was apparently not borne out of the desire to wield political power but to have an avenue of liberating his people, standing for them, speaking for, serving and providing for them. This was evident in his speech during his inauguration as the governor of Bayelsa in 2012. He was not happy over the level of underdevelopment in the state despite the abundant natural resources. He saw how his people were mocked and ridiculed for taking arms to challenge injustice. He had heard of many derogatory names given to his people just because they were fighting for their right.
All these informed his decision to come out and be their voice and since his enthronement as the governor, there has been a reversal. Since becoming the governor of the state, his administration’s policies, programmes and projects have been tailored towards alleviating the sufferings of the people of Bayelsa. From education to health, agriculture to transportation, down to commerce and industry, the story of the state has been rewritten.
Upon his inauguration as the third elected governor of the littoral state, he declared that his government will usher in development, security, peace and prosperity in all sectors, such that after him, Bayelsa and indeed the Ijaw nation will never be the same again. Five years down the line there has never been the question of abdication of that obligation. The scrupulous observance of the imperatives inherent in the social contract naturally endeared him to the masses. It was this that earned him the sobriquet, Countryman Governor.
The governor has reaped a deserved reputation as a man of unflinching humanistic convictions and consensus builder, yet does not compromise his stubborn commitment to democratic principles.
This shows why both at home and abroad, Dickson stands to be celebrated especially on the occasion of his 51stbirthday anniversary.
Celebrating him for clocking 51 will not be complete without remembering his achievements and impacts on humanity. Both publicly and privately, lovers of quality leadership and service deemed it worthwhile to join in congratulating Governor Dickson as he celebrated his 51st birthday.
Congratulating this rare figure, Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, said the people of Bayelsa were blessed to have Henry Seriake Dickson as their Governor in view of the several development projects so far recorded by his administration.
In a birthday message by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, Okowa noted with appreciation, the immense contributions of Governor Dickson to the development of Bayelsa State and Nigeria in general.
“On behalf of my family, the Government and the people of Delta State, I write to felicitate with you on the occasion of your 51st birthday anniversary, today, January 28, 2017.
“Over the years, you have given yourself to the cause of peace and development in Nigeria and Bayelsa State. For this, we owe you an enduring debt of gratitude.
“In a life that has seen you reach an enviable height of your public service and political endeavours, there is great cause for you, members of your family, your many political associates and well-wishers to thank Almighty God for His benevolence upon you,” he said.
Born on January 28, 1966, in the riverine community of Toru-Orua in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Dickson did not sight a vehicle not to talk of experiencing a ride until he was 18 years and in far- away Patan. And at a point, his parents’ business nosedived and could not afford his school fees anymore, forcing the young Seriake to drop out of secondary school to join his mum do menial jobs in search of fees, before returning to school and therefore making him to miss some terms. Such very modest beginnings could not have presaged a successful future, but it’s yet another proof that one’s circumstances at birth are merely accidental and may be overcome by dint of hard work and conviction in the strength of the human spirit.
From that humble background, Dickson enlisted in the Nigerian Police Force in 1986 after completing his secondary education. On completion of secondary education,he proceeded to River State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, in 1988 where he obtained degree in 1992. He later earned his Bachelors in Law from the Nigeria Law School, Lagos, in 1993, and was called to the bar the same year.
Upon graduation in 1993, he was appointed a cadet Assistant Superintended of Police in 1994, which led to his training at the Nigeria Police Academy in Kano. However, he took a decision to resign from the Force to study law, a decision which shocked his family members who had long dreamt of seeing their son decorated an officer.
Rising in politics, Dickson was elected Chairman of Bayelsa State Chapter of Alliance for Democracy (AD) between 1990 and 2000. Under his watch, the party recorded a resounding victory in the 1999 general elections, producing the Senator and member of House of Representatives representing Bayelsa West and two members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly representing Brass.
Owing to his capability in steering the ship of the party to progress, he was elected National Legal Adviser of the AD, a position he held between 2000 and 2002. Due to his passion for the Ijaw struggle, Dickson would take his leave from the AD and defected to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when the former backed the Onshore/ Offshore dichotomy.
Between 2006 and 2007, he was appointed the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Bayelsa State by the then Governor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and was later elected the member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency of Bayelsa State in the House of Representatives where he made his mark in the sands of time, sponsoring many bills which have since been passed into law, chief of which was the amendment of the Evidence Act, the first since 1954. He was re-elected in 2011 but resigned to contest for governor of Bayelsa State, which he won and was sworn-in on February 14, 2012. In 2016, he re-contested and won as the Governor of Bayelsa State.