CITATION OF HONOURABLE HENRY SERIAKE DICKSON, GOVERNOR OF BAYELSA STATE
Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson, the third elected Governor of Bayelsa State has by his performance in office changed the face of Bayelsa State, developed the littoral state, sanitized the polity, entrenched participatory governance and the emerging economic prosperity in Bayelsa.
Born 51 years ago, precisely on the 28th of January, 1966, in Toru Orua Community, Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. He is one of the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Nanaye Dickson of Orua, a descendant of the famous King Kpadia Royal House of Tarakiri Kingdom. Honourable Dickson is also a descendant of the renowned Obu warrior family of Orua, celebrated for its valour, bravery and honour. The Obu family is a descendant of the prominent Oba Fedipote Ruling House in Ijebu land, Ogun State. Governor Dickson is thus, a descendant of the famous Oba Fedipote Ruling House and a Prince of Ijebu Land.
Honourable Dickson was a brilliant student in primary and secondary schools and rose to be the Deputy Senior Prefect in Government Secondary School, Toru-Ebeni where he passed out in 1983. Everyone, including his teachers loved him for his hard work and brilliance!
After his Secondary education, Honourable Dickson joined the Nigeria Police Force as Constable in 1986 in service to fatherland and gained admission in 1988 into the Rivers State University of Science & Technology, Port Harcourt to study Law, from where he graduated with LL.B (HONS.) in 1992.
He then proceeded in 1993, to earn his Bachelors in Law (B.L.HONS) from the Nigeria Law School, Lagos whereupon he was called to the Nigeria Bar the same year.
Upon his graduation from the Law School in 1993, he was appointed a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police in 1994 whereupon he proceeded to Nigeria Police Academy, Kano for Officer Training. It was in the course of his training that he voluntarily withdrew his service after close to a decade of policing, to practice Law.
He worked in some of Nigeria’s best law firms such as SERENA DAVID DOKUBO & CO as an Associate Solicitor from 1994 to 1995 and moved to ALUKO & OYEBODE, a prominent Law firm in Lagos, also as an Associate Solicitor between 1995 and 1996 before setting up his own Law firm.
Honourable Dickson is also a firm advocate and believer in the unity of the Ijaw nation, on account of which he was elected National Legal Adviser of the foremost Ijaw socio-cultural organisation, the Ijaw National Congress. He is a consummate politician, a quality which has seen him serve in different capacities including the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Bayelsa State, Member, Federal House of Representatives, representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency and Governor of Bayelsa State, and his sun continues to shine in the horizon.
While in the National Assembly, Honourable Dickson made his mark. As chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Justice, he sponsored/co-sponsored several bills, some of which include The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2009; The Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (Establishment) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2000 and The Constitution Alteration Bill, 2010.
Others are The Legislative Houses, Powers and Privileges Act (Amendment) Bill, 2009; The Evidence Bill, 2009 and The Kidnapping and Hostage Taking (Prohibition) Bill, 2009. He also played a prominent role in the enactment of The Prevention of Terrorism Bill, 2009 as well as The Freedom of Information Bill, 2007, which have been passed into law.
And as Governor of Bayelsa State from February 2012 till date, Honourable Dickson has changed the governance culture as well as the political landscape of the state. He has ensured institutional development as well as introduced far-reaching reforms in the polity, including the laudable Income and Expenditure Transparency Initiative, whereby the state governor or any other delegated official gives account of how much the state receives each month and how such monies are spent in a Town Hall Meeting with the people.
If the Governor fails to do this, at least once in three months, he is liable to impeachment by the Bayelsa State House of Assembly. Honourable Dickson by this act, is adjudged the most fiscally responsible Governor in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Under his watch, the Bayelsa State Judiciary is autonomous and receives its funding on first line charge.
The most impactful achievement of the governor for which he has not received enough encomiums is his introduction of free and compulsory education in both primary and secondary schools. Today, education is not only free in Bayelsa State, Government provides pupils/students with free books, uniforms, feeding as well as payment of WAEC/SSCE/NECO fees and a host of others. In addition, the Restoration Government has over the years sent indigent Bayelsans to the best of schools outside Bayelsa State and outside the shores of Nigeria!
Today, Bayelsans do not need to travel outside the state to gain education as the Restoration Government has built the best of schools, equipped with state of the art facilities, from primary to the university levels, the capstones of which are the Ijaw National Academy, Kiaima and University of Africa,Toru-Orua.
Before Governor Dickson’s election in 2012, Bayelsa State was volatile and insecure.
The Governor upon assumption of office, invested heavily in the security infrastructure, enhanced security and crime fighting thereby making Bayelsa one of the safest states in Nigeria. It was in appreciation of this rare feat that Operation Doo-akpo, the Bayelsa State Security Outfit charged with the responsibility of keeping the peace won award as the best Nigerian Security Outfit in South Africa in 2012!
A workaholic to the core, Governor Dickson has sponsored over 30 Executive Bills to the Bayelsa State House of Assembly for passage. Some of these Bills include the Bayelsa State Development and Investment Corporation Bill, 2012; the Bayelsa State Salary Fraud and Related Offences Bill; the Bayelsa State Secret Cult, Kidnapping and Similar Offences Prohibition Bill, 2012; the Bayelsa State Government and Local Government Compulsory Savings Bill, 2012 and the Bayelsa State Security (Electronic Surveillance) Bill, 2012.
Others are the Bayelsa State Symbols and Songs Bill, 2012; the Bayelsa State Security Trust Fund Bill, 2012; the Bayelsa State Institute of Tourism, Catering and Hotel Management Bill, 2012 and the Bayelsa State Thanksgiving Day Bill, 2012, amongst others.
Honourable Dickson has, by his performance in office, placed Bayelsa State and the Ijaw nation on the path of development, prosperity, peace and security so much so that Bayelsa State can never be the same again!
Following his unparalleled developmental strides, he secured the people’s mandate for a second tenure when he was re-elected as Governor of the state after the December 5, 2015 and January 9, 2016 elections. His re-election is certainly a platform to consolidate on the achievements of his first term in office.
A man of peace and philanthropy, dedicated to serving humanity, Honourable Dickson is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International. He is also a member of the External Board of Governors of the prestigious Lincoln University, USA. He is also serving as Honorary Member of the Westminster Business Council of the United Kingdom Parliament. Honourable Dickson is a member of both the Nigeria Bar Association and the International Bar Association.
He is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (U.K), Nigerian Chapter and Member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria. It was in recognition of Governor Dickson’s purposeful leadership and exemplary public service that, the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti awarded him honourary Doctorate Degree in Public Administration in 2016.
The leadership crisis rocking the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has provided a perfect opportunity for the Bayelsa Governor to further demonstrate his rare leadership skills. As Chairman of the PDP standing Committee on Reconciliation, Governor Dickson has succeeded in formulating the template for the resolution of the crisis as well as bringing the warring parties to a round table to cease fire! As a peace maker that he is, Governor Dickson has continued to leverage on his goodwill across Nigeria to build confidence and consensus amongst PDP leaders and stakeholders ahead of its national unity convention!
A believer in the tradition of his people, Honourable Dickson holds several traditional titles across the Ijaw nation and other parts of Nigeria. Chief amongst them is the traditional titles of Olokodau of Orua, Ebe-Agurai 1 of Tarakiri Kingdom, Adaka the 2nd of Kolokoma/Opokuma, Edi 1 of Ogbia, Ekwueme 1 of Ndi-Igbo (Bayelsa) and a host of others. Governor Dickson also holds the drum title of the Ofurumapepe, meaning the Great White Shark that braves the ocean even when the tempest is highest!
Indeed Governor Dickson lived up to his drum title in 2016 when he braved the odds to overwhelmingly win his re-election and defeated the rampaging Federal Might! Honourable Dickson, who is a devout Christian, lives a visibly simple, urbane, unassuming and humble life. It is his link with the ordinary people and his austere life that have earned him the sobriquet, the Countryman Governor. A caring husband and father, he is happily married and has lovely children. He is an avid reader, an enthusiastic sportsman, a wrestling champion, a lover of history, culture and the arts.