14th February, 2012
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Henry Seriake Dickson, elected last week in a poll the opposition has dubbed a charade, has been sworn in as the fourth governor of Bayelsa state.
He succeeded Timipre Sylva, who had waged a legal battle to upturn his candidacy that had the strong backing of President Goodluck Jonathan, also a former governor of the state. Several of the legal issues are yet to be resolved.
Dickson took the oath of office today at a ceremony at the Peace Park in the capital town of Yenagoa.
His deputy, Rear Admiral John Jona (Rtd) also took the oath of office administered by the Chief Judge of the state, Kate Abiri.
In his inaugural speech, the Governor declared a state of emergency on education, saying his administration would pay a special attention on the educational sector as a way of building a brighter tomorrow.
He therefore told the jubilant crowd at the occasion that a free and compulsory education has been introduced to all the primary and secondary school students throughout the state with immediate effect.
Dickson announced a four point agenda and promised that his administration would pay serious attention to violence and corruption.
“The days of greed at the expense of our people are over. I will work hard to block all leakages and sources of corruption which have been the bane of our development will rather use our common wealth to fund the construction of roads and free education. Use it to promote tourism and generate wealth.
“We shall use such wealth to generate employment for our teaming youths and to expand our economy. Be prepared my people of Bayelsa State for a fundamental paradigm shift in the system of governance and lifestyle of all of us, particularly public officials in the state with the beginning from me.
He said he was aware that he will face resistance and will be misunderstood, but will always do what is right in the best interest of the people of the state.
“We will take the necessary decision, and actions however difficult, however controversial and painful. Even when you have a different perspective, which you have a right to hold, be assured that the decisions will be in your best interest. And be assured, I will consult stakeholders regularly.”
Seriake Dickson said his administration will ensure that financials of the state are regularly published.