The Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Seriake Dickson, on Sunday took the Oath of Office to begin his second tenure.
Dickson and his deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd.), were inaugurated by the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Kate Abiri, who also administered the oath of office and that of allegiance on them.
The ceremony was characterised by a solemn display of statehood by thousands of politicians and residents from within and outside Bayelsa.
There was a glamorous parade by no fewer than 110 officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force.
Prominent personalities that poured in at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex, Yenagoa, venue of the swearing in and thanksgiving service, included Governors Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State; Ifeanyi Okowa of delta State; Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State; and Dakwambo Ibrahim of Gombe.
Other notable politicians were former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio; Acting Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Uche Secondus; Minority Leader, House of Representatives, Leo Ogor; Senator Ben Murray-Bruce and Mr. Jimi Agbaje, among others.
Foremost musicians, like Timaya, Timi Dakoru, Terry Governor, among others, entertained the guests with their melodious renditions.
In his inaugural speech after the swearing in ceremony, Governor Seriake Dickson, described the mandate as a support for the continuation of good governance in the state.
Dickson said he was not surprised that their electoral victory had spurred a rebirth of the PDP and inspired a new sense of hope in Nigeria’s democracy.
He said their experience in the last elections in Bayelsa showed that Nigerian system was far from being perfect, noting that Nigerians must continually commit themselves to work together to strengthen the internal processes of political parties and improve the electoral system.
He said, “Thankfully, this victory has helped to sustain the plurality of our democracy and discountenance fears that Nigeria could slide towards a one-party state. Let a thousand flowers bloom in our garden of democracy!
“In my inaugural address four years ago, I pledged not to play politics with your development. I also promised not to play politics with your security. I said so because of the inescapable truth that development is not possible without security.
“You are all living witnesses that before we assumed the leadership of this state in 2012, insecurity and violence was so prevalent that our people lived in fear while killings by state-supported cultists were a daily occurrence. Consequently, several businesses closed shops or moved out as the atmosphere in the state. The state was clearly not conducive for commerce or any development to take place.
“Four years down the road, you are witnesses to the enormous transformation that has occurred in our security landscape. The return of night life, commerce, influx of visitors, new residents and businesses as well as atmosphere of peace and security that prevailed prior to the build-up to the last election, is eloquent testimony to this fact.
“The security strategy, architecture and infrastructure that we have put in place are second to none in Nigeria. In the next four years, we shall consolidate and expand on these by increasing our investment in security.”
He condemned the violence allegedly visited on Bayelsans under the guise of politics and elections, acknowledging the sacrifice of brothers and sisters who were victims of the mindless bloodletting was uncalled for.
The governor added, “Now that elections are over, we must strengthen the synergy between citizens, the state government and security agencies to recapture the peace and security that prevailed prior to the elections.
“Bayelsa is the epicentre of the Niger Delta, critical to the security, stability and economic prosperity of our country and the Gulf of Guinea region. Therefore, our government remains committed to working with the Federal Government and security agencies to secure our nation and its people.
“We should work together to rout kidnappers, cultists and other criminals who vandalize national economic assets. The imperative of this partnership dictates, for instance, that no government official or functionary at state or federal level should use their position to encourage or facilitate crime and criminality under any guise.”
He said a key focus of his administration in the next four years would be to expand ongoing rural electrification schemes and build on massive investment in power to drive industrialisation.
He stressed that the government had already concluded a gas purchase agreement with Shell to service the state’s energy hub.
Dickson called on investors to come and make additional investment in power and take advantage of the state’s rich natural gas endowment.