By Steve Azaiki
There have been scheming and permutations over who fills the Bayelsa Central and Western Senatorial seats declared vacant following enthronement of Senators Douye Diri and Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo as governor and deputy governor of the state. It has especially been so, as the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) gave an indication to conduct bye-elections into these offices, but delayed due to the COVID-19 scourge, that has held activities down in Nigeria.
However, from April 2020, to this moment, advocacies have inundated the political space, particularly that of Bayelsa West Senatorial District. Individuals and groups have been touting Former Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson for the Bayelsa West Senatorial Seat.
The Honest net was stirred by Chief Richard Kpodo who was known as a stalwart of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He declared in the media that the former Governor was the most suitable for the Western Senatorial seat in terms of pedigree. But Chief Kpodoh who hails from the Western District was rebuffed by the APC, and that he was no longer in the party, hence went ahead to declare support for the immediate past governor.
The controversies created by Chief Kpodo’s declaration spurred more declarations in support of former Governor Dickson, as most qualified to fill the vacant West Senatorial Seat.
Since after then, many important personalities, for instance, Elder Statesman, Chief Edwin K. Clark, have made similar clamour and declaration backing Dickson for the Senate. Many Organisations have equally done the same. A notable one is the Patriots of Ijaw Struggle, which endorsed former governor Dickson for the vacant Western seat.
The group issued a communique signed by leading Ijaw activists such as Dr. Felix Tuodolo, Chief Frank Omare, Alhaji Asari Dokubo, Elder Oyinfie Jonjon; Engr. Udengs Eradiri; Barr. Owoupele Jeremiah and others. In summary, the group states that of all the contenders, Dickson is the most intellectually and politically qualified to project and defend the rights of the Izons and the Niger Delta region at the Senate.
The stance of individuals and groups calling for Dickson’s candidature and throwing weight behind him is not misplaced. It is a step in the right direction for the Ijaw nation and the Niger Delta region.
In fact, given his antecedents, Former Governor Dickson is indeed the man that is eminently fit to represent the Bayelsa West Senatorial District, the State, Ijaws, and the Niger Delta region at the Upper Chambers of Nigeria’s Legislature.
The groundswell of support for Former Governor Dickson, coming from within and outside the Western Senatorial District, made up of Sagbama and Ekeremor Local Government Areas, implies that it was a matter of general concern. It also affirms that Dickson is the best for the position.
This is because as a former Justice Commissioner and Attorney General in Bayelsa State; former House of Representatives member and former governor, Dickson has the best credentials and experience to represent the district and indeed, Ijaws and the Niger Delta at the Senate.
Besides, he served meritoriously as Attorney General/Justice Commissioner in the Bayelsa State Ministry of Justice, where, for instance, he set up a law library, reviewed laws of the state mostly inherited from the old Rivers State, to reflect current realities; created alternative dispute resolution unit to help resolve disputes amicably, and other achievements too many to outline here.
In the House of Representatives in the past, he stood as a vocal voice on issues that concerned Bayelsa State, Ijaws, and the Niger Delta.
As a governor in Bayelsa State, Dickson’s achievements are monumental. The Bayelsa International Airport; the University of Africa in Toru-Orua; Bayelsa State Students Education Fund; Bayelsa Medical University in Yenagoa; three Senatorial Roads and many more in other sectors, will remain as legacies of his administration in the state.
These, in addition to the former governor’s academic and career background in legal and police professions, no doubt, also stand him out to represent the people at the Senate.
As a former House of Representatives member and former governor, Dickson has links at the National Assembly and in the country and would be a good team player and lobbyist to project the demands of the people at the legislative and executive arms.
In terms of charisma, he has the needed bravery, bridge-building capability, pragmatism, and the oratory prowess as some of the arsenals that would make him excel at the Senate, for the benefit of the people.
Indeed, the clamours and endorsements that are coming the way of Seriake Dickson, were not misplaced, given the yardsticks used for the assessments.
There is, therefore, a need to give Henry Seriake Dickson, a smooth sail to the Red Chambers to give the people the much-needed effective representation.
The call today is more support from all stakeholders to ensure that the former governor fills the vacant seat of the Bayelsa West Senatorial District, irrespective of personal, group and party divides.
Prof. Steve Azaiki, OON, a Member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, wrote in this article from Abuja, the Country’s Capital.