SERIAKE DICKSON :I Took the Supreme Court Judgement as God’s Way of Vindicating Me, the Position we took as a Party

Seriake Dickson

Immediate past Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson shared his some of his experiences before, during and after the last governorship election in the state. He spoke to Stanley Nkwazema. Excerpts:

How did you react, when you heard the news that the Supreme Court had delivered judgement in favour of PDP?
For me, I took it as God’s way of vindicating me as a person, vindicating the position we took as a party and God’s way of preventing a major disaster that was waiting to happen in Bayelsa, because of the inadequacies of the APC candidates that were being foisted on the state and the contradictions within the APC system.

The state leader of the party had his own agenda for bringing up that contraption. It was not for the interest of Bayelsa as claimed. It was purely for his political comfort, advancement and to satisfy vested interests. Our reaction was to spontaneously give credit and glory to God. We all erupted into our usual way of praising God with songs and dances.
Everyone came crying and prostrating on the floor to God. It was spontaneous jubilation across the state, the whole country and beyond. At this point, I want to once again appreciate the Justices of the Supreme Court and generally the Nigerian Judiciary for the boldness and courage in spite of all the harassment and intimidation, subtle and open to undermine completely the wishes of the Bayelsa people.

Do not forget that this was a process started from the Federal High Court, where the trial Judge after listening to all arguments came to this same conclusion; that the APC candidate was not truthful about his records and his past. That he concealed very pertinent facts and issues about his past. This case wasn’t really a case of forgery, which most people wrongly claim it was. It was a case of an aspirant not telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

That is what the Electoral Act requires now; that any candidate filing for any elective post must not just speak the truth but the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If you change your names, there is a column there: have you changed your name in the past? What did you fill there? That means the whole truth was not said or told? It wasn’t a case of a criminal trial or forgery.

It went up to the Court of Appeal, their Lordships at the Court of Appeal decided otherwise, and the party and our candidate went to the Supreme Court as required by the constitution of our country and the Supreme Court gave their final judgement. I commend the Judiciary for their courage and for standing up to play their constitutionally assigned roles for which they were attacked.

Some of their homes like Justice Mary Odili’s home, both in Port Harcourt and Abuja were attacked by the APC elements, instigated by their leadership. My own home and the home of Senator Diri, the new governor, the High Court, a private Library and so many homes were also attacked in Yenagoa. That has been the brand of the APC. Don’t forget that in all of this, people must not lose sight of the fact that there was never an election, where the people of Bayelsa voted for the APC.

It is a lie that has been constantly told since November 16, 2019. They don’t address that fact. They are talking about three hundred and something thousand votes allocated by INEC working in conjunction with the Nigerian Army and the Police that shut down the state and came with pre-written figures to announce as results. That was what happened. There was never an election that APC won.

There is no issue in the first place of the court judgement repudiating the wishes of the people. To the contrary the position of the Supreme Court validates the real thinking and the mandate of the people of Bayelsa, who were for the PDP and our candidate, but whose votes and voices were shut down by the APC and the entire federal set up working as a team to destroy our democracy.

It is a welcome development and we thank God Almighty, the candidate himself and all of us in Bayelsa. Everyone who believes in God knows that this was a victory that God gave to us.

Many believed that your political career would have gone into oblivion if David Lyon had remained governor, following your activities in AD, Ijaw National Congress, IYC, Attorney General of the State, a two-term member of the House of Representatives, and two-term Governor of Bayelsa State, which nobody in the state has ever done before. How do you feel about that?’

Well, everyone’s life and destiny are in the hands of God. If there is one thing that this Supreme Court judgement on Bayelsa should teach everyone including myself is that God is in control of the affairs of men and He is the one who gives power to whom and at what time and how. As a man of faith, I never lost my faith in God till the very end. Even with the shenanigans in Bayelsa and the sustained propaganda against us, we never lost faith in God.
We kept praying as we were doing every morning, every month and every year, giving God the glory for everything He does for His own purpose. God tried our faith, my faith particularly to the very last before vindicating us. This victory is therefore an act of God but having said that, no man’s destiny is the hands of fellow men. I have come a very long way in politics. I am not an appointment politician; I am not an establishment politician.
The fact that my candidate and my party were rigged and shut out by the federal system, even my party leaders, who should have stood for the party, if not for the candidate and for me. I have appointed more people than every other Bayelsa governor put together. I have supported and served people from morning to midnight every day for eight years, working for the good of our people.

The fact that some people saw that the federal government was determined to take the state by force and therefore realigned instead of standing by me and our party and our candidate and by the government was disheartening. I am used to people decamping during elections, when they see that federal might is available to help them take power. That might give a wrong notion that if APC took over, my political career would have been over.
That is not a correct assessment, because up to now, irrespective of what happened I have the greatest followership in that state, the greatest penetration, the greatest organisational capacity in that state and I have touched more lives, whether the people themselves admit it today or not, they know – the politicians, office holders, former appointees – they know the roles I have played and the people themselves in the various communities know what I have done. I have my work that is speaking for me in all critical areas – in education, in healthcare, in infrastructure, in agricultural opportunities, in law and order, in governance reforms itself.

I have employed more people into the public service in that state, I have given more scholarships, thousands of their daughters and sons are in our public schools, clothed by me, fed by my government three times a day up till now. My impact is so massive not just in Bayelsa State; I have appointed over 200 Ijaw people into the government of Bayelsa State from across all the Ijaw speaking states.

My government recognised and created more traditional stools than any other administration, Statewide traditional reforms all of them recognised, running into thousands in every community. So these are impacts, which would have been very difficult, even impossible for anybody to wipe out. Yes, the euphoria was there, the threats and blackmail were there and that was why I never bothered, I have done my job to the best of my ability, there is no decision I took as Governor that I cannot defend.

If there was anything people complained about, it wasn’t that Governor Dickson stole our money and this is where he kept it, this is what he has done with it. Nobody says I did not work. It was that everybody says I made it difficult for people to have free money, to steal money and that I committed the resources of the state to the development of the state and that is the right thing to do.
At the same time, they know that all my allowances were spent supporting them for different personal problems from morning to night and my office and homes were like market places. I have access to all classes of people. So, even if a David Lyon had taken over, yes the euphoria was there, we know the dynamics of politics, the euphoria and intoxication would have cleared, reality would have set in and the huge sense of disappointment would have been felt in the state and even among the APC chieftains. He wouldn’t have been able to meet the expectations of all those people that want to have a share of Bayelsa allocation.
The commitments they had made and the expectation that they all had from the national to the state and to various people and families, who had built personal interest into his candidacy. He was not supported to work for Bayelsa; he was supported to undermine and reverse the developments, peace and stability that were done and if possible launch personal attacks at me. Those who brought him believe in personal vendetta of politics unlike me who has never fought people beyond elections.

That is not correct. I was planning to go back to the trenches, re-organise my machine and this is not just in terms of party control. Non-politicians focused on hijacking party structures, but those of us that understood the art of mobilising human beings, organising human beings into political formations for political contests, and warfare, which is not violence, knew what to do. We knew we have the people.
It doesn’t take me long to set up a political machine. In a month, I will have a viable political machine that can take on anybody building on my massive network and image and most importantly, the work I have done in Bayelsa and the lives I have touched across the nation. Apart from my work in Bayelsa, no one underestimates my network and the friends and allies and colleagues and the leaders I have access to; whose confidence I enjoy.
That is why I understand the concerted national effort to demonise and blackmail me through propaganda in the Bayelsa election, because of my national profile, now became a national election. All of this would have helped me to launch a big comeback in a different way. As long as I remain in politics, we have a capacity to reorganise and launch together with friends and allies, a formidable political movement.

Did you actually prepare a handover note for the APC as you were leaving office?
Of course! I set up a transition committee. Most of what they were doing in terms of the state handover were state events funded by the government of Bayelsa under me. I ran a decent and honourable government and I wanted to set a standard for succeeding governments, because I am the first governor completing eight years, who had to manage a very difficult transition, the way the federal government and its agencies intervened and tried to mess up the situation and with the behaviour of some party leaders, who decided to sell out.
I was determined to make a success of it. I set up a transition committee, which was well funded by my government and they were in regular contact with the APC. As a matter of fact, the committee on Wednesday had handed over transition documents to the APC transition committee, before the judgement came on Thursday.
Yes, there was nothing I did as governor that I was scared or afraid of. It was just peddling of unfounded rumours, because no one has worked harder or done more. A number of the things I did were revolutionary. I was a pioneer in so many ways so I can understand when they became antagonistic or cynical.

What’s the story of the Bayelsa airport?
The story of the airport has been well told and documented. The great work that we did is known to our people, both in conception and execution. Those who are demonising me; those who don’t believe in the need for that airport will come to their senses and face the reality of it very soon. That is the price you pay when armchair critics and envious opponents don’t understand what governance is all about.
What it means when a leader is ahead of his people, those are the kind of situations you face. They are not seeing what you are seeing as a leader and yet, it is your duty to envisage what may happen in the near future and that is the duty of leadership, whether it is the airport or building of universities. That airport is world class, everyone knows and the federal authorities know. I don’t want to say more about it. I leave it for the new governor to take it up from there.
What I know is that that airport is set for business. It will go down in history. They didn’t want that history, because they were jealous. A number of people, who had the opportunity to work on the airport tried but couldn’t bring it to fruition. But I did, so, I can understand human elements of envy and jealousy in all sectors, because what I have done in education, health sector, infrastructure and other areas not only surpass people’s expectations, but I set a very high mark.
I can understand when political competitors and small-minded detractors try to belittle the contributions that I have made. What is comforting being that the people know and posterity will tell. The airport will be put to use, there is no doubt about that. They are complaining of the perimeter fencing to be completed even though they know that there are several federal airports that don’t have perimeter fences. We completed over 60 per cent of the fencing and the authorities acknowledged that and the radar, surveillance and fire-fighting facilities are some of the best you can find around. I believe those are matters that the new government will handle.

What’s your take on Nigeria and Democracy?
Well, we are a developing democracy but it is very disheartening, when you see state apparatus being so brazenly used against poor, innocent people. It is disheartening when you see military, security agencies and INEC abdicating their duties and responsibilities and their oaths to the services of the country and colluding with criminals, to maim and kill, destroy and aid political robbery, political terrorism.
It is sad to see electoral officials compromise their impartiality in the name of taking instructions from above and committing acts that are treasonable. That has become the order of the day. That is what they call Nigerian Democracy. You saw what happened in Nembe, where over 20 people were killed. Law enforcement units in Nigeria were not interested in who killed who or arrest and prosecute the culprits?

Were you ever at any time forced to retaliate as the Chief Security officer of the state?
Oh, I could have done that. Everybody knows I could have done that. In fact, the lies the APC leaders have been telling the federal government since 2015, Governor Dickson will do this, he will do that as a basis for getting federal support to go and terrorise our people, but all of them know in their minds that I am a politician of peace, ideas and a non-violent person. As a matter of fact, the reason you did not see bloodshed when the federal government came and announced pre-written figures, using the Army, Police and INEC, was not because of weakness.
It was because of deliberate restraint on my part. People were crying and wanted to do a few things but I have never subscribed to that. The APC leaders know, the whole of Bayelsa State knows that Governor Dickson is one politician, who protects everybody, one politician who does not victimise anybody and one politician, who uses state apparatus at my disposal to do the work that I am meant to do: public safety and order, and not partisan politics.
That was what happened when election results came, even when the Court of Appeal gave them the judgement, you did not see demonstrations or violence on the part of my party and the followers in the state. Not because there were no people to demonstrate, we had more support than them, the good, the bad and the ugly, but everyone knows my politics, that I don’t allow violence. The first duty of any political leader is to enthrone peace and order.
It is unfortunate that from 2015, the federal government actually undermined Bayelsa’s security at every election time and even during normal times. So, they compromised Bayelsa’s security in a way that criminals were made to go free and have the effrontery to commit crimes while law-abiding people were made to lose confidence. That is why in Nembe about 20 people were killed and nothing happened, and figures were written and brought, announced and accepted.

How was it managing finances of the state and settling debts running into billions incurred by past administrations?
I think the main problem elites of Bayelsa had with my government was prudence and commitment to accelerated development and my not compromising on the development of the state, blocking the loopholes that supported wastages and the corrupt system that was then entrenched and engrained in the politics of the state; even in the civil service. The only people building big houses and hotels, buying big cars, having big investments, were civil servants, particularly the Treasury staff, accountants and political leaders colluding with them.
I had to stop all of that from day one, because I had a big developmental agenda. The state couldn’t afford any wastage. We had to channel all the available funds to face issues of development. My understanding is simple, money that comes into a state, a state like Bayelsa, a virgin territory, carved out of the least developed, the most challenged areas of the old Rivers state must be utilised for the benefit of the people. The leadership and all our people must be prepared to make sacrifices.

The sacrifice is that any money the state has should be used for development. It is the development that will engender individual comfort and advancements. Not the other way round where monies come and treated as pocket money for the leaders and their wives and their allies beyond legitimate entitlements and then issues of developments are allowed to suffer. That is why roads, hospitals, bridges, schools were not built. That was why there was no single boarding school in Bayelsa before I became governor and I am leaving behind almost 15 boarding schools. And not just boarding schools, boarding schools with students filled with scholars, who are fed three times a day by the government.
And with policies backed up by law to sustain it. That was why they were not building hospitals and we have hospitals and diagnostic centres that are world-class, a medical university. We have a Health Insurance Scheme, which is one of the best in the country and all backed up by law. It is because of this shift in emphasis, yes it is good to enable people to make money from in government and government appointments.
But it must be through legitimate means. If you don’t control it, if you don’t fight and you let it loose or you treat public money as money that is PR money and you allow people to go with that notion of entitlement mentality as was the case before I came, the state will not see or know development.
And I have done all of these at a time the earnings of the state were far less than my predecessors in office. In Bayelsa, during my governorship, the complaint was that I am too tight-fisted; I’m araldite, because the expectation is that government money should be left loose for the governor, his team, the civil servants and all those in authority and political leaders and their family. I redefined it, created more appointments to enable people have legitimate income.
I had over 3,000 different classes of appointment, whose services I did not strictly need to run a government. I was in control of the agenda of the government. I had to because of the weak state of the economy and what they are used to. I had to spread those appointments. At some point, we were spending over N750 million to N800 million monthly to pay them, because in Bayelsa, government is the only business. The more you appoint, the more they complain.
If you appoint somebody today, he wants a car, if you don’t give him a car, he becomes disgruntled, you give him a car, he wants more money, he wants to award contracts and make money. If you don’t make that possible, then he complains. He builds one house; he wants 10 houses. That insatiable greed that drives them makes them feel they are entitled to all the public money. That has been the issue behind political instability where people during elections move to an incoming government.

I addressed that, but I also brought the reforms within the government; and the systems and the laws to correct the problems in the civil service, where people were collecting salaries without working, where people were collecting salaries they were not entitled or qualified for. It is irresponsible for a governor to allow that to continue. And no one had really had the heart to do all of that. And I did that. But in that process, I opened up the service, employed almost 5,000 people from 2012 till date in all sectors of Bayelsa Public Service.
So, I have employed more people. So if you are talking of the man who created more wealth, who made it possible for the people to survive more, it is me! I never made it possible and it wasn’t my plan to allow few people even those around me to become millionaires and billionaires at the expense of the rest of the state, most importantly at the expense of the development of the state. Now, if there is any sin, any wrong like I always say, I have no apologies for that.
That had to be done. I have created more avenues for enterprise. I instituted the first Micro-Finance bank in the state, I created it and it is there in every Local Government of the state to enable people borrow and do business, encouraged people to do business but they are not used to it. I think that some of these policies are of the form where if civil servants don’t go to work they have no business in public service and should be told to get out. I never hesitated to doing that. If you are a government appointee, you will do your job, but you can never be allowed to turn your own office to a source of making millions and billions because the state does not have funds for that.
And even if the state has money, there are other needs. These are some of the things that enabled us to manage and put a lot of things on ground during the very challenging period, which saw also the worst economic recession. Yet, we had more life changing big ticket programmes than any government before me, because of prudence, transparency and the careful management of the resources of the state.
Don’t forget, I enthroned the regime of transparency by which every month we announce what came into the state. I thought I did all of that to empower the people with the knowledge as to the circumstances we were managing, and also to enthrone a regime of responsibility. I understand lack of industries in the state, unlike other states, everybody looks up to Government House for survival. Everybody comes there. Most people in some states don’t know where their Government Houses are and how much comes to their states on a monthly basis.
In Bayelsa, everybody from the high to the lowest, they are thinking of making billions. And if you have enabled them to make thousands, you have not done anything; they want millions. If they get millions, you have not done anything; they want billions. If they get billions, you have not done anything. They want to get more and expect to get all the money that gets into the state into their pockets. If you don’t make that happen, then you are not a good governor.

To the average Bayelsan psyche, a good governor is a governor, who comes and opens up the state treasury for everybody in the state to go and collect something. They forget the fact that even those they said were spending money on the people and money was flowing, it was only within a tiny circle and I never allowed that circle. Or even any circle to have access to the treasury. Rather, I supported people to have legitimate incomes far more than any other governor and I am very happy about it. I am leaving a government not only of physical development but also a government that paid off all existing liabilities.
My predecessor had a bond that totalled over N120 billion. We cleared it within this period. When people talk of a trillion naira or so in eight years, my predecessor stayed for five years and got close a trillion naira and if I ask you what you can point on ground, I don’t know how many people beyond propaganda can say much. Our own expenditure also includes the N120 billion that we paid off, a salary wage bill that is high and all the challenges that we met, and in addition, we have put a lot on ground in education, infrastructure, healthcare, agriculture, in all fields and in making state investments.
I am happy that I am leaving a state with the right indices. Firstly, on education and health care which is one of the best. Maternal mortality index is the least in the sub-region in the South-south. At least, people come to Bayelsa for referrals, diagnosis and treatment. We have best public schools. Tertiary schools equipped and supported, which I believe the new government will continue. In the area of prudent management of resources, by the DMO reports and other public statistics that is available, Bayelsa is the least indebted state in the South-south even with all the investments that speak to the record I am leaving behind.

Why so much focus on education?
I must tell you that education is a key area of investment for any leader, who wants to make a difference; any leader who understands what true development is. Lasting development does not consist of roads and buildings. That is brick and mortar. No matter how costly, no matter how beautiful, it deteriorates with time. The major areas, where I believe you can see if a leader has the right mind-set and vision for his people are investments in education, healthcare, investments in economic opportunities, investments in law and order. And the right values for governance like not oppressing anybody with the state apparatus, which I never did for one day.
Setting a tone of tolerance and enthroning the right democratic atmosphere, which I did throughout. All opposition from within my state, my party, I took it in good faith and allowed everybody to express their views. I had my own right to my vision and my agenda, consulting, agreeing and disagreeing and moving on.

But no one will say Dickson drove us out of Bayelsa, Governor Dickson revoked our land, destroyed our building, because of political disagreements, sent thugs to attack us because of disagreements or Governor Dickson killed that person, because of political differences.
You can’t hear that. For me, these are the areas you use to assess. Anybody can build a road even a mad man can build a road, because it doesn’t take much vision to build a road. Some resurface roads to gain popularity. Their fixation is in roads. Yes, roads are important. I have done so many roads in a very difficult riverine terrain, where the whole state is below sea level, built the longest set of bridges than any governor has attempted to build.
I have done them and the records are there but I don’t point at those as my landmark achievements. As important as they are, because it will affect mobility; it will enable people move around and contribute to the development of the state. Now, people are finding it easier to commute and move amongst themselves.
But the lasting changes that I have brought in the state, which will be felt in years to come is the investment in education, investments in healthcare – the investment in governance structure itself, the temperance, the moderation, accommodation and the politics of dialogue and persuasion.
The idea that a leader is not in government to maim and kill and chase people, who disagree with him out of the state; the idea that you can disagree with your leader and still feel safe in your own state – no one governor has tried as much as I have done. These are the lasting contributions that I have made. I am open and I understand the feeling, because of the prevailing lack of private sector in the state, where unlike other states people don’t know the way to the Government House.
In Bayelsa, everybody must go to Government House. All problems must be solved by the governor – all personal problems of over 2.5 million people must be solved by the governor. That is not the situation that you have in most states. Most governors don’t feel what we feel in Bayelsa. They don’t understand, they can’t relate to it and so people will ask for more. That is legitimate also but with time, with more empowerment particularly with education and with business opportunities, with enlightenment most of those will be taken care of.

After eight years in office, what are the challenges and fulfilment?
Let me start with fulfilment. Every day of my life, I will be grateful to God. My faith has been so strengthened by what I have done and seen, what God has done for me and for my people, and even making me to have the opportunity to be in a position to do what I have done, I remain eternally grateful to God and the people of Bayelsa, and to my friends and allies, who have been with me in this journey, including some who for some reasons may not be here with me now.
I acknowledge and thank them. It has been a wonderful opportunity. Do I feel fulfilled? Yes, very fulfilled, very happy that I had this opportunity and was able to make the difference. The full extent and degree of my work will come to the fore in years to come. Not now but because of the noise of political contest and competition and the human emotions of envy, jealousy and greed.
When you see products of schools that I built, the lives my medical facilities have saved and will continue to save, when you see people enjoying the benefits of the roads and bridges I built and what they will benefit from the economic opportunities that we provided. In the years to come, when you look at this, every day I feel happy and fulfilled. I was almost moved to tears when I moved to my village and appointees followed me, friends with their families trooping in up and till now, thanking me for affecting their lives in one way or the other.

They still do so and I remember I had well over 3,000 from across the Ijaw’s in Niger Delta, not just Bayelsa. Even in Abuja, people come to thank me for the impact I have made in their lives. No one governor can solve all problems of everybody of a state in four years or eight years – problems of a state or a nation, are not solved by one government or one individual. The problems will continue to be there. Have we made a difference? Did we try our best? Yes, and if I may say, a very big difference.

Are there effects of Public Service on your Family?
As a matter of fact, I don’t know how to thank my family for the sacrifices and the understanding they showed by the way I carried on with my duty to serve them, because I am a man of passion and service. What makes a difference is passion combined with compassion and vision. The way I did it left me with very little time for family and even personal things. All my personal things were abandoned, my farms folded up. I used to have so much time as a family man.
I love my children; I love my family but I never had as much time. I used to take them for swimming every Saturday. We did not have that luxury. I used to tell them stories and educate them myself. I read with them. But all of these, I did not have much time for. I sincerely thank them.
I was almost moved to tears, the day I left office and went home and they released two videos and sent to me via social media. They said, Daddy, thank God you are going to have more time for yourself and more time for us. I thank them for their understanding.
They have really made a lot of sacrifice. It is not just in my own case. It is the case of everybody in public service, especially those who understand why they are in public service and who apply the totality of themselves to the service of their people.
Public service is so time-consuming. If you really know what to do and you are passionate about it, it will leave you no time. It is a very jealous mistress.

It is obvious that your people are not done with you yet, so, in what capacity are you considering more services to your people and humanity?
First of all, with my faith and my belief about life, which is about service to God and humanity, at my age and with the exposure that I have had, not many people of my age even from where I come from can have this broad and wide-ranging comprehensive exposure and experience in public service in different forms. If you count from when I joined the Nigeria Police as a humble policeman at the age of 18, till date, you can see how in one form or the other, I have been in service.
Not to talk of active political service since 1997, which has left me with the belief that if there is an opportunity to continue to serve, it will be selfish for me with my experience and age to back down or decline. If it pleases God to continue to give us sound health and life, it will be selfish at this point with the challenges in all parts of Nigeria, the area where I come from for me to say no to public service. I will allow God to determine my next move. Whatever God determines will be good enough for me. He alone creates the opportunities, enables and gives mercy. Power flows from God.

What do you say to the new governor, Diri?
We have a new governor, His Excellency, Senator Douye Diri, knows what to do. He has my support. My duty is to give him all the support, pray for him and where my advice and counsel are needed. He knows he has my support; he has my prayers and my advice is readily available for him. I have done eight years, the first governor to do so in very trying circumstances.

Unfortunately, Bayelsa is a state, where no leader supports a governor. Leaders, their wives, their friends, all blackmail, slander and tear down the government and the state and their party instead of contributing and supporting to build the State. Governor Diri will find me behaving differently, because for once, he will have a former governor, who will have his back and will be there to advise him and pray for him.
I know the shoes he is wearing. I will not join the ranks of leaders, who instead of supporting and encouraging build coalitions to destabilise their parties, destabilise their states, blackmail and bring down governors. I won’t do that. I have no more point to prove, having broken a jinx of no second term and by the grace of God midwifing a transition that produced a governor and the deputy from my team.
Most of those to be involved in the administration of Bayelsa now and some years to come will be from my team, as I have nurtured a lot of people especially, young men and women to hold positions of authority.
My duty is to guide, advise and pray for all those in authority in the state. I have been governor for eight years, leaving behind indelible footprints that will stand the test of time. God has ruled in our favour, in favour of Bayelsa. We wish Governor Diri and his team well, as his success will be my joy.