Former Bayelsa governor and current Senator representing Bayelsa West senatorial district, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson, welcomed Social Media Practitioners from across the nation today, gathering for a media interaction to discuss his new role as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Ecology and Climate Change.
At the media interaction, Senator Dickson highlighted his notable accomplishments spanning various sectors in Bayelsa, including the recent Excellence in Environmental Leadership Award for his outstanding contributions to the issues of the environment. This prestigious award was bestowed on him by a coalition of 20 non-governmental organizations.
Furthermore, Senator Dickson’s achievements encompass advancements in Education, such as the establishment of the Ijaw National Academy in Kaiama, the implementation of the Bayelsa Health Insurance scheme, and his initiatives that led to a reduction in maternal and infant mortality rates. Notably, his support for pregnant women registered with the state government played a significant role.
Under his leadership, the introduction of free boarding schools transformed the educational landscape, providing children with improved access to quality education. This initiative was especially significant as the concept of boarding schools was non-existent in Bayelsa before he assumed office.
Governor Dickson’s focus on healthcare infrastructure led to the establishment of numerous primary health facilities, over 80 primary health facilities were constructed, ensuring that quality healthcare reaches even the most remote corners of the state. These facilities have become crucial centres for providing essential medical services and preventive care to Bayelsans, making healthcare accessible and reliable.
The transformation of Bayelsa’s infrastructure during Governor Dickson’s administration was truly remarkable. The construction of the Bayelsa International Airport has not only enhanced connectivity but also opened up new avenues for economic growth and tourism. In addition, his commitment to improving the efficiency of the civil service streamlined governance, leading to better service delivery.
Governor Dickson’s prowess in economic management was evident from the impressive growth in the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state. Under his leadership, the IGR surged from a modest 60 million Naira per month to an astonishing figure of over one billion Naira. This achievement reflects his strategic planning and implementation of effective revenue-generation strategies.
Recognizing the importance of security, Governor Dickson launched the state security outfit, ‘Operation Doo Akpo,’ equipping it with state-of-the-art security equipment to combat crime and ensure the safety of residents.
Furthermore, his support for education continued through scholarships, ensuring that Bayelsa’s brightest minds had the opportunity to pursue higher education. Additionally, the initiative of providing automatic employment to First Class graduates demonstrates his commitment to nurturing local talent and fostering growth.
Also, his contributions include the establishment of a substantial Cassava Processing Plant, along with the founding of numerous secondary and tertiary institutions.
You would recall that Senator Dickson was a recipient of the Excellence in Environmental Leadership Award presented by Celestine Okwudili who represented Mrs. Ene Obi of Action Aid at the event.
Okwudili said the award was conferred on the Senator for his contributions and stewardship in sustaining a healthy environment while serving as Governor of Bayelsa State between 2012 and 2020.
He explained that the Senator, during his tenure as governor, empanelled an International Commission on Oil Spills to assess environmental damages, determine responsibility, and develop a new legal framework for accountability and compensation in the area.
In his speech at the occasion, Dickson explained that the panel he constituted as governor, took samples of the blood of residents of the oil-producing areas and after laboratory tests, it was discovered that there was heavy metal poisoning in their bodies.
Dickson said he drew the attention of the multinational oil firms to the development but that rather than doing something about it, they started fighting him.
He lamented that the situation was still reoccurring even as he urged the attention of his successor to the unfortunate situation and asked him to take action.
He said, “The oil companies were not cooperating with me then. They were even fighting me but I did not mind them because I knew I was fighting a just course.”
He also explained how he recruited 250 graduates to protect the environment, especially the forest resources.
The Senator called on the federal government to pay attention to the reckless deforestation taking place across the country.
The Senator promised to take advantage of his new position as Chairman, of the Senate Committee on Ecology and Climate Change to collaborate with all critical stakeholders on the issue of the environment.
He pledged to use all platforms available to him to advance the cause of the environment, the ecology and climate change.
“As the Chairman of the Senate Committee of Ecology and Climate Change, I will work with all NGOs in Nigeria, support the efforts of all institutions and bodies, to advance the cause of the environment, particularly to join the campaign against climate change,” he said.