Dickson Revolutionises Education In Bayelsa With Model Secondary School

Dickson Agbo         Posted:    1 year ago
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Dickson Revolutionises Education In Bayelsa With Model Secondary School

Unlike past administrations in Bayelsa State, Governor Seriake Dickson’s stride in the education sector has become a model that may not be surpassed by many after him in the state

Apart from putting in place a legal frame work through the House of Assembly with the passage of a law backing the establishment of Model schools, the Dickson-led administration has recorded a first with the establishment of model schools in the existing eight Local Government Councils in the state.

The model schools, one of which is the Ijaw National Academy, which was recently inaugurated by former head of state, Gen Yakubu Gowon, were established by the Governor Seriake Dickson administration to cater for Ijaw children through a scholarship scheme. Each of the model schools has a population of about 2,000.

The model schools are among the first state-owned boarding secondary schools in the history of the state.

Unlike the failed model systems attempted by previous administrations, Governor Dickson showcased a completed model school structure with an Education Tax Law to fund it.

At the Commissioning of the Ijaw National Academy located in Kaima community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Council, the accolades for a system that works were resounding.

Governor Seriake Dickson left three prominent Nigerians, Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, the Ijaw National Leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clarke and Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka in awe.

Apart from the school, the event was also an opportunity to commission the new Bayelsa Governor’s Office. While the trio of Gowon, Clarke and Soyinka were coming out of the initial shock at the Iconic edifice now known as the Bayelsa Governor’s office and the newly opened Ijaw National Academy for gifted children, the show of support and endorsement by the people of the state affirmed the fact that the accolades showered on Governor Dickson were correct afterall.

For General Yakubu Gowon, the performance of Governor Seriake Dickson is now new to him as he had been told of the practical revolution going on under the present administration in the area of Education, Infrastructural Development and Tourism.

The former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon who was accompanied to Yenagoa by his wife, Victoria, while speaking during the commissioning ceremony at the Bayelsa Government House Complex, told Governor Dickson, that “from what I have heard, you did not abandon anything that your predecessors had done. But you built and improved on them and this is really to your credit. I am sure that there will be no abandoned project.”

“While you are here you, will complete them and build more. I will like to thank you for doing a good job in this state and your commitment is for the good and well being of the people of the state.”

“It is your responsibility and the responsibility of any leader and if you don’t do that nobody will appreciate you. I thank members of your government for giving you all the support you need for good governance”

He congratulated Dickson for inviting him to inaugurate a building he described as the best in the whole country.

Pa E.K.Clarke also declared that the administration of Governor Dickson is focussed on good governance “I know that this building will generate good governance. I know this building will bring peace and stability in the country. There is no second class citizen in this country. There is no first class citizen in this country. We are all equal”, he said.

Gen. Yakubu Gowon, gave Governor Dickson a pass mark on the completion of projects abandoned by his predecessors and urged other state governors to stop the habit of discontinuing projects left halfway finished by their predecessors.

At the Ijaw National Academy located at Kaima community of Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Council of the state, the former head of state and the Ijaw National Leader saw a special secondary school built in the like of a higher institution of learning.

Gen. Yakubu Gowon, who could not hide his joy, commended the Bayelsa Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson for his revolutionary approach to educational development and predicted that it would turn around the fortunes of Bayelsa State in the near future.

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 is commendable, as it is 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.

Gowon said, ‘’Ijaws have been making their contribution in keeping the country one and this is what I want you to continue to do. Ijaw nation, alongside other ethnic nationalities, has  contributed to the unity of the country. The Ijaws have never been supportive of Nigeria’s disintegration. They have always ensured that Nigeria is together.’’

He commended Governor Dickson for placing premium on education, stressing that education remains the key to the country’s growth and development. He urged the students of the academy to make use of the school correctly and properly and to defend it with the last of their blood.

He stated, ‘’I hope you young people will make very good use of it, you will ensure that you will not only use it correctly and properly but also defend it to the last of your blood.  That means, I hope you will never think of creating any problem in this academy to destroy these excellent facilities that have been provided for you.’’

In his remark, 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 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.

Governor Seriake Dickson, who was obviously not new to accolades over the performance of his administration, urged everyone to pray that the new office complex serves as an abode of peace for governors of the state to actualise good governance.

Dickson said: “I want to enjoin all of you to pray that this office should be a place where governors after me and others will work in peace to lead our state aright with the fear of God and always in service of our people.”

“When we took over, you are all aware that we have been working for the last five years to lay a solid foundation building on what we saw on ground, introducing mire and more things to ensure that our state gets to its desired destination. Today, we are here to commission a befitting office that will serve our state for a long time to come”.

On the Ijaw National Academy, Governor Dickson, while presenting a check of N97 million, deducted from the salaries of both political appointees and civil servants for the month of June 2017, including the five percent contribution from the state monthly internally generated revenue, said he was proud of his achievements in the education sector.

He also noted 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 immortalise eminent sons and daughters of Ijaw land.

Dickson’s Achievements, Another Platform For Restructuring Discuss

However, the three days visit of Gen. Yakubu Gowon and Chief E.K Clarke were not only about the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson and his perfomance, it also provided the needed platform to advance arguments for restructuring of the nation.

Chief Edwin Clark, used the opportunity to restate 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. Chief Edwin Clark said Nigerian unity was not negotiable.

Clark, who served as a minister under Gowon’s administration, recalled that after independence, the country opted for federalism, which he said was distorted later by military coups.

He said the distortion in the federation had led to agitations in the country, adding that there was the imperative need for Nigeria to restructure to address all the issues.

Clark stated, “We all agreed that we wanted a federation. And that is what we have today but unfortunately, coups after coups changed the whole concept we had back into having a unitary form of government in a uniform federation.’

“So what do we do? It is never too late. Let us restructure this country so that everybody will have a sense of belonging. Whether you are a majority or minority, we are all equal Nigerians.”

“So when people talk of good rulers in this country, the humble son of Nigeria in the person of General Yakubu Gowon had again contributed more than any one else. He can go from place to place, he is not arrogant”.

“He is a humble man with good family background. I am happy today that my son, the executive governor of Bayelsa State has thought it wise to bring my former boss”.

Nigeria As A Nation Should Be Restructured- Soyinka

Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyina has noted that Nigeria’s political leaders should stop deluding themselves about the country’s unity, declaring that Nigeria may break up since there is no negotiation for the country to remain intact.

Prof. Soyinka, made this known at a colloquium entitled: ‘A day with the Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka and Ijaw literary icons’, held at the Ijaw National Academy, in Kaiama Community of Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayesla State.

Other literary icons present include Dr Gabriel Okara, Prof Ebiegberi Alagoa and Prof John Pepper Clark.

Prof. Soyinka said that the Nigerian political leaders bear the enormous responsibility of holding the country together but have been indulging in what he described as a falsity that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable.

According to him, most nations that came into being, negotiated to get to the point where they are with sacrifices and efforts being made to make the union work.

He pointed out that what is not negotiable is the right of the people to determine their future, stressing that the calls for negotiation means the clamour for restructuring.

Soyinka, who categorically said he would not support the breaking up of Nigeria, explained that there must be restructuring to ensure no group of people are marginalised.

“We must stop confusing the argument, mixing up the argument. When people, especially former leaders, especially those who bear enormous responsibility, speak on the question of breaking up or not breaking up, it always sounds hypocritical, dogmatic and dictatorial and that statement is the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable. No! That for me is a falsity.  Anything is negotiable.”

“The right of people to determine their future is what is not negotiable. Most nations came into being through negotiations. Sometimes, when people say, negotiate, what they really mean is restructure. What the argument should be, what the question should be is, ‘should Nigeria break up, my answer to that is no.”

“But that Nigeria, as it stands, is non-negotiable, to me, is a fallacy, a nation that has got to be negotiated. Negotiation includes ensuring that there is no marginalisation, negotiation has to do with control of resources, negotiation has to do with restructuring in a way the components, the constituents are feeding an over bloated centre to their detriment. So Nigeria is negotiable.”

“ The language we should use is ‘what are you willing to sacrifice, what efforts are you willing to make to ensure that Nigeria remains intact?’ That is the citizens’ question.”

Also responding to the question, Dickson aligned himself with the submissions of Soyinka and asked his people to feel free without fear of intimidation to interrogate every notion.

He said the Niger Delta region had funded the Nigerian project for over 61 years, insisting that staying together as one Nigeria is desirable.

Dickson said: “I believe that if you ask the question whether Nigeria should continue to exist as a united country, the answer you will get from the majority is yes. I believe that the continuous existence of our nation as an indivisible entity is desirable.”

“There is a very strong case to make for that. After all you and I, our people, have been funding the Nigerian experiment for the last 61 years. From your backyards, they carved out portions of land and called it in Abuja and Lagos and other capitals of the world, oil blocks.

“What they sit down in their cozy offices and call oil blocks and give to whoever they choose to give are actually your ancestral homes. So, feel free and don’t allow anybody to intimidate you. That is why we are investing in education as a weapon for fighting intimidation and oppression”.

“Question and continue to raise the issues about environmental justice and what is going on in your communities which I describe severally as environmental terrorism. So, nobody should tell us that we have nothing to negotiate about.”

“There are too many things to negotiate about. In this state, we have only eight local government areas as decreed by the powers that be. I hear there are states that have over 40, so we get less than one quarter every month.”

“I have been governor for almost six years. I have never interfered with the allocations of our eight local government areas. But right now, there is a crisis, they can’t even pay their salaries.”

“The reason is that we have no control over what we  produce. If we had control over our resources, you can imagine what I would have done with our resources. This state would have been like Dubai. The continuous existence of Nigeria is desirable but Nigerians, all of us have issues to bring to the table”.

In his remarks, the historian, Pro. Alagoa, said history through excavations, had found that all the parts of the country were united and should not exist in isolation.

“I know that the people, from the evidence we have, from archeology for example, have used things right in their environment to create their cultures and their civilization but not in isolation.”

“They are united with all the rest of Nigeria. We have relations with communities along the River Niger right up to Sokoto.”

“We find that in excavation, which they have done in Sokoto and the Niger Delta, through the Niger Delta, all the way to Lagos and beyond so, in life and fortunes, we are all united.”

and always in service of our people.”

“When we took over, you are all aware that we have been working for the last five years to lay a solid foundation building on what we saw on ground, introducing mire and more things to ensure that our state gets to its desired destination. Today, we are here to commission a befitting office that will serve our state for a long time to come”.

On the Ijaw National Academy, Governor Dickson, while presenting a check of N97 million, deducted from the salaries of both political appointees and civil servants for the month of June 2017, including the five percent contribution from the state monthly internally generated revenue, said he was proud of his achievements in the education sector.

He also noted 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 immortalise eminent sons and daughters of Ijaw land.

Dickson’s Achievements, Another Platform For Restructuring Discuss

However, the three days visit of Gen. Yakubu Gowon and Chief E.K Clarke were not only about the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson and his perfomance, it also provided the needed platform to advance arguments for restructuring of the nation.

Chief Edwin Clark, used the opportunity to restate 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. Chief Edwin Clark said Nigerian unity was not negotiable.

Clark, who served as a minister under Gowon’s administration, recalled that after independence, the country opted for federalism, which he said was distorted later by military coups.

He said the distortion in the federation had led to agitations in the country, adding that there was the imperative need for Nigeria to restructure to address all the issues.

Clark stated, “We all agreed that we wanted a federation. And that is what we have today but unfortunately, coups after coups changed the whole concept we had back into having a unitary form of government in a uniform federation.’

“So what do we do? It is never too late. Let us restructure this country so that everybody will have a sense of belonging. Whether you are a majority or minority, we are all equal Nigerians.”

“So when people talk of good rulers in this country, the humble son of Nigeria in the person of General Yakubu Gowon had again contributed more than any one else. He can go from place to place, he is not arrogant”.

“He is a humble man with good family background. I am happy today that my son, the executive governor of Bayelsa State has thought it wise to bring my former boss”.

Nigeria As A Nation Should Be Restructured- Soyinka

Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyina has noted that Nigeria’s political leaders should stop deluding themselves about the country’s unity, declaring that Nigeria may break up since there is no negotiation for the country to remain intact.

Prof. Soyinka, made this known at a colloquium entitled: ‘A day with the Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka and Ijaw literary icons’, held at the Ijaw National Academy, in Kaiama Community of Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayesla State.

Other literary icons present include Dr Gabriel Okara, Prof Ebiegberi Alagoa and Prof John Pepper Clark.

Prof. Soyinka said that the Nigerian political leaders bear the enormous responsibility of holding the country together but have been indulging in what he described as a falsity that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable.

According to him, most nations that came into being, negotiated to get to the point where they are with sacrifices and efforts being made to make the union work.

He pointed out that what is not negotiable is the right of the people to determine their future, stressing that the calls for negotiation means the clamour for restructuring.

Soyinka, who categorically said he would not support the breaking up of Nigeria, explained that there must be restructuring to ensure no group of people are marginalised.

“We must stop confusing the argument, mixing up the argument. When people, especially former leaders, especially those who bear enormous responsibility, speak on the question of breaking up or not breaking up, it always sounds hypocritical, dogmatic and dictatorial and that statement is the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable. No! That for me is a falsity.  Anything is negotiable.”

“The right of people to determine their future is what is not negotiable. Most nations came into being through negotiations. Sometimes, when people say, negotiate, what they really mean is restructure. What the argument should be, what the question should be is, ‘should Nigeria break up, my answer to that is no.”

“But that Nigeria, as it stands, is non-negotiable, to me, is a fallacy, a nation that has got to be negotiated. Negotiation includes ensuring that there is no marginalisation, negotiation has to do with control of resources, negotiation has to do with restructuring in a way the components, the constituents are feeding an over bloated centre to their detriment. So Nigeria is negotiable.”

“ The language we should use is ‘what are you willing to sacrifice, what efforts are you willing to make to ensure that Nigeria remains intact?’ That is the citizens’ question.”

Also responding to the question, Dickson aligned himself with the submissions of Soyinka and asked his people to feel free without fear of intimidation to interrogate every notion

He said the Niger Delta region had funded the Nigerian project for over 61 years, insisting that staying together as one Nigeria is desirable.

Dickson said: “I believe that if you ask the question whether Nigeria should continue to exist as a united country, the answer you will get from the majority is yes. I believe that the continuous existence of our nation as an indivisible entity is desirable.”

“There is a very strong case to make for that. After all you and I, our people, have been funding the Nigerian experiment for the last 61 years. From your backyards, they carved out portions of land and called it in Abuja and Lagos and other capitals of the world, oil blocks.

“What they sit down in their cozy offices and call oil blocks and give to whoever they choose to give are actually your ancestral homes. So, feel free and don’t allow anybody to intimidate you. That is why we are investing in education as a weapon for fighting intimidation and oppression”.

“Question and continue to raise the issues about environmental justice and what is going on in your communities which I describe severally as environmental terrorism. So, nobody should tell us that we have nothing to negotiate about.”

“There are too many things to negotiate about. In this state, we have only eight local government areas as decreed by the powers that be. I hear there are states that have over 40, so we get less than one quarter every month.”

“I have been governor for almost six years. I have never interfered with the allocations of our eight local government areas. But right now, there is a crisis, they can’t even pay their salaries.”

“The reason is that we have no control over what we  produce. If we had control over our resources, you can imagine what I would have done with our resources. This state would have been like Dubai. The continuous existence of Nigeria is desirable but Nigerians, all of us have issues to bring to the table”.

marks, the historian, Pro. Alagoa, said history through excavations, had found that all the parts of the country were united and should not exist in isolation.

“I know that the people, from the evidence we have, from archeology for example, have used things right in their environment to create their cultures and their civilization but not in isolation.”

“They are united with all the rest of Nigeria. We have relations with communities along the River Niger right up to Sokoto.”

“We find that in excavation, which they have done in Sokoto and the Niger Delta, through the Niger Delta, all the way to Lagos and beyond so, in life and fortunes, we are all united.”

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