The election of Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson as Governor of Bayelsa State on Saturday, 11th February 2012, would be the best valentine gift voters would give to the people of Bayelsa State.
In endorsing Hon. Henry Dickson, one cannot but acknowledge that the People Democratic Party (PDP) has chosen a competent candidate from any array of qualified persons.
My endorsement of the candidature of the Hon. Seriake Dickson as PDP Governorship candidate for Bayelsa State is founded on our long relationship, his character and reputation, tenure as Chairman of a political party, and his nationalist credentials as an officer and activist of the Ijaw National Congress. Hon. Dickson was the Bayelsa State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice at a time I was the General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), from 2004 to 2006, and I was able to keep tab and pace with his service to the legal profession through the Ministry of Justice.
The competence of the Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson to lead, serve and govern is attested to first in his activities as Chairman of Alliance for Democracy and later as Commissioner of Justice. In his ten (10) months tenure as HAG, Hon. Dickson repositioned the Ministry as primus inter pares in government Ministries, Departments and Agencies. His programmes, projects and achievements addressed the needs of the different sectors of justice delivery. Hon. Dickson completed and delivered the Laws of Bayelsa State, published the Bayelsa State Law Reports, Justice Gazette journal for academic excellence, and appointed reputable citizens as Justices of Peace.
The comfortable, conducive and respectable work environment now enjoyed by justice ministry and judicial officers in Bayelsa are rooted in the efforts of Hon. Dickson as Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice. That judicial officers drive state of the art vehicles is a product of the Dickson era.
As General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, I recall vividly that the NBA formally congratulated and commended the Hon. Dickson for being the first and only Attorney-General to respond with a practical solution to the challenge of lawyers’ unemployment. Under his watch, the government of Bayelsa State employed 61 lawyers as prosecutors in the Magistrate Courts. Lawyers and court users appreciate that this action has improved the quality of criminal justice in the lower courts.
It is on record that as Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Hon. Dickson broke the monopoly of State Briefs being the exclusive business of a few Lagos-based lawyers. Hon. Dickson developed and practised a policy were Bayelsa State based Lawyers were briefed and retained to prosecute and defend State cases, and paid promptly. This action improved the economic standing of legal practitioners and the quality of justice delivery.
The antecedents of Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson show that he is pragmatic, realistic, and does not promise more than can be delivered. He is visionary enough to recognise goodness and competence in others. Election as Governor of Bayelsa State would provide Hon. Dickson a higher and broader platform on which to serve the best interest and greater good of the people and residents of Bayelsa State.
Not being a voter in Bayelsa State, one can only appeal to all registered voters in Bayelsa State to find their voters’ cards and go out to vote on Saturday, 11th February 2012. Voters are enjoined to vote for the PDP by thumb printing the box of the PDP’s Umbrella. A Vote for the PDP is a vote for the Hon. H. S. Dickson.
Let our experience of the past be the motivation to do the right thing. Voters must come out en-masse daring the possible odds of inclement weather, late arrival of electoral personnel and materials, and other unforeseen contingencies, vote and wait for the votes to be counted and result announced.
Hon. Nimi Walson-Jack