Bayelsans were on Penultimate week thrown into a celebration mood as the state played host to the former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon who was in the State to commission some viable and world cl
Speaking during the Commissioning ceremony, Gen. Gowon, lauded the State governor for his commitment to infrastructural development while building bridges of unity across the country. He described the edifice as exceptionally beautiful, saying his visit to Bayelsa has confirmed reports concerning the governor’s commitment to consolidate on the achievement of his predecessors.
According to him, the completion of the project and promotion of people’s well being are the hallmark of good governance and therefore, urged the governor to continue to carryeverybody along irrespective of political affiliation.
In his remark, the Chief Host, Gov. Henry Seriake Dickson described Gen. Gowon as a father of the nation, who has contributed tremendously to the unity and the progress of the country, both during and after his reign as Head of State. The Governor noted that, his administration has in the last 5 years, embarked on a silent revolution to turn around the fortune of the State, promised to do more even in the face of the prevailing economic challenges. He said the Commissioning of the edifice marked the beginning of the unveiling of the new Bayelsa, where excellence in education, health, Security and other Critical Infrastructure would be pursued with renewed vigor. Elated with the Governors achievement, the Ijaw national leader and an elder Statesman, Chief Edwin Clark congratulated Governor Dickson for his giant strides, describing the new office as the best in the country. Chief Clark who was also the Chairman of the Occasion, restated the need for the country to be restructured to give both minority and majority groups a sense of belonging to enhance national security and development.
In his speech, the State Chairman of Traditional Ruler’s Council, King Alfred Diete Spiff, noted that, the Ijaws in Bayelsa would not have witnessed the level of development, if it had not been for the benevolence of Gen. Gowon, who created the Old Rivers State from which Bayelsa was carved out in 1996.
The new Governor’s Office has an expansive Council Chambers, the offices of the Governor, his Deputy, Chief of Staff and other administrative staff of the Governor. The edifice has a pent house, water fountain, swimming pool and other facilities for the comfort of the occupants and guests.
On the second day of his visit to Bayelsa state Gen. Yakubu Gowon hailed Governor Seriake Dickson’s revolutionary approach to educational development saying his investments in the educational sector would turn around the fortunes of Bayelsa State in the near future.
Gen. Gowon spoke at the commissioning ceremony of the Ijaw National Academy at Kaiama, during which Governor Dickson presented a cheque of N97 million as monthly contribution to the State Education Development Trust Fund Board.
Describing the facilities at the Academy as impressive, the former Head of State noted that, the vision behind the setting up of the free boarding secondary school was commendable, as it was designed to achieve academic excellence and capacity building. While charging the students to make optimal use of the scholarship programme and protect the facilities provided for them, he expressed optimism that they would be among other Nigerians that would take the country to greater heights in the foreseeable future.
Presenting the cheque, Governor Dickson explained that, in addition to the N100 million recently released to the Trust Fund, government deducted N97 million from the salaries of both political appointees and civil servants for the month of June, 2017, including the 5% contribution from the State monthly internally generated revenue to make up the fund. The Governor said, he was proud of his achievements in the education sector, noting that, it was under his leadership that boarding schools were established and funded by the state government, 20 years after the creation of Bayelsa to nurture and build a crop of future leaders for the Ijaw nation and the country as a whole.
Governor Dickson, who used the opportunity to name the access road linking the Academy to the East-West Road after Late Prof. Kay Williamson, in recognition of her contribution to the development of the Ijaw language and culture, stated that, other key facilities would be used to immortalize eminent sons and daughters of Ijaw land.
In his remarks, Ijaw National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark attributed the lack of development in Ijaw land to the absence of educational institutions in the area and, therefore, called on the people to support the free education policy and programmes of the Dickson’s administration, regardless of their political differences. He commended the Governor for his wisdom in using education to fight poverty and underdevelopment, expressing optimism that, the Academy
would achieve its set objective of producing quality students for higher institutions of learning both within and outside the country. In their separate speeches, a representative of Kaiama Community, Chief Ekpain Appah and the Member of House of Representatives, Hon Douye Diri expressed gratitude to the Governor for carrying the people of Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government along in the scheme of things, noting that, no government has been as kind to the area as the present administration. The highpoints of the ceremony were the tour around facilities in the school and presentation of a portrait of the Former Head of State designed by an SS1 student of the Ijaw National Academy, Master Ebidoumene Godsfavour. Dignitaries who graced the commissioning include, the wife of the Bayelsa State Governor, Dr. Rachael Dickson, former Deputy Governor of sokoto State, Alhaji Maktar Shagari, retired federal permanent Labaran Maku, Prof. John Peper Clark, Dr. Gabriel Okara, late Isaac Boro’s compatriot, Capt. Sam Owonaro (Retd), King Alfred Diete Spiff and other royal fathers.