BY DANIEL IWORISO-MARKSON
THE clock is ticking fast and Bayelsans are already counting down to the governorship elections scheduled for February 11, 2012. The political bedlam that followed Governor Timpre Sylva’s disqualification from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primaries is fast fading out.
The huge crowd of pro Sylva campaigners has equally thinned out considerably. Of course, it goes without saying that the camp of Henry Seriake Dickson is recording an unprecedented harvest of supporters and followership by the day.
The tide of support for Dickson’s candidacy is overwhelming. His emergence represents a huge self-saving masterstroke to rescue the state from a yawning precipice.
The theme of Dickson’s campaign is ‘Restoration 2012’. The aptly named theme is an apt response on the need to quickly and urgently address the sorry state of affairs in Bayelsa. It sure brings to mind the story of restoration in England when there was no King or Queen.
The Restoration was a period in history in the year 1660 when Charles the Second became the King of England, Scotland and Ireland after a period when there had been no King or Queen.
The significance of this anecdote dwells majorly on the similarity of the situation in Bayelsa where there appears to be an apparent lack of governance. In other words, the failure of governance in Bayelsa can well be equated with the situation in England in the 1660 where there was no King or Queen.
The resolve to have a Queen in England became the key that opened England to the world and in no time the changes that took place thereafter earned Great Britain a pride of place in the world. In the same vein, we strongly believe that a fundamental change in the governance of Bayelsa is the key to her greatness.
Here is a state that gave Nigeria her first oil well with the discovery of huge hydro carbons in Oloibiri in 1957. Here is a state that produced Nigeria’s first ever minority President, His Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan GCFR.
Such a state should be at the forefront of development. By all means, it should be a model state. A state where leadership and governance are accountable, transparent, and made to work for the people with the clear aim of being able to guarantee their welfare and progress.
It is against this background, that the restoration agenda of Henry Seriake Dickson is premised. Its overriding philosophy is hinged on integrity. “Our government restoration agenda will be purely driven by integrity”.
Those were his exact words when he was presenting his running mate to Bayelsans last Saturday at a political gathering in Yenagoa. Dickson’s ramrod principles and insistence on the right things being done always, reveals the character of a man who can be trusted.
“I know him well enough to say that he is a man of integrity”, says Dr. Stella Dorgu, a PDP woman chieftain in Bayelsa State and chairperson of the publicity committee of Restoration 2012.
Dickson’s stance on integrity was what informed his choice of running mate. Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah, whose last appointment before his voluntary retirement from service was as commandant, National Defense College Abuja, is himself a man of integrity.
In him is character, and in him is discipline. His unblemished record in service stands him out as a man of honour and principle. Many expect him to bring all of these good qualities to compliment Dickson’s stoic courage and posture as a sagacious leader to formulate, direct and influence policies of government for the greater good of all.
The ‘Integrity Team’, as the duo of Dickson and Jonah are called, will spare no effort to restore good governance in Bayelsa. Given the well appointed pedigree of the candidates, there is bound to be a return of values and high ethical standards in governance. Bayelsans will see the enthronement of accountability and transparency in governance. In the words of King A.J Turner, the Obanema of Opume Kingdom and leader of Restoration 2012:
“The issue of transparency and accountability will be evident in the way and manner government business is run on a day-to-day basis. Unlike the outgoing administration, I guarantee you that the Dickson and Jonah-led administration will ensure that all income and expenditure of government shall be published regularly to keep the public abreast of Government activities.”
More importantly, in all this, Bayelsans are assured that the choice of Dickson and Jonah will ensure and encourage open participation in governance. The democratic space will be broadened to allow for dissenting views to be heard without fear of victimisation or any form of harassments.
Since the development and restoration of Bayelsa is ultimately tied to the character of its leaders, it is imperative that we rally round and support the candidacy of Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson and his running mate, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah.
Judging from their track records, especially in consideration of their sense of maturity and transparency and the incredible template of development as espoused in their campaign blueprint, there is no doubt that these men will stand tall to address the many challenges that has hindered growth and has further undermined the development of the state since it was overtaken over by a cabal of cronies.
Daniel Iworiso-Markson, a P.R Consultant contributed this piece from Abuja.