10 Nov

 By Daniel Iworiso-Markson, 10/11/2013

 At inauguration, Governor Seriake Dickson clearly spelt out the strategic value of the Restoration Agenda of his administration.
His swift proclamation of this template of renewal definitely wasn’t a cheap move to join the bandwagon of  political sloganeering.
Rather theRestoration Agenda was in response to the people’s cry for urgent development and progress.
The Governor actually had a personal experience of the deplorable situation during his campaigns.
Everywhere he went, he had to deal with emotional calls for the building and upgrading of infrastructure, meandered through bad roads and saw other dilapidated infrastructure in need of urgent rehabilitation.
Understandably, accelerated development of infrastructure was made the core of the Restoration Agenda.
And, quickly Governor Dickson rallied his team to action, underscoringthe sense of urgency to change the state of infrastructure throughout Bayelsa and in particular the State capital, Yenagoa.  
He tasked members of his team to appreciate the fact that for the State Government to actualize the lofty goal of diversifying the State’s economy through tourism, agriculture and industrialization, the construction of new infrastructure, including a good network of roads and the expansion of other existing infrastructure must be a priority.
At different fora, the Governor has emphasized the importance of opening up the State for easy accessibility across the three senatorial districts as it would go a long way in promoting trade and industry.  
He also noted the implication for investors who will be able to navigate the entire State and opening businesseswherever suitable without worrying about basic infrastructure. With a good road network in Bayelsa, famers and agro-allied businesses will easily transport their products to markets just as tourists could move around to locate and enjoy the natural beaches and visit the numerous tourist attractions in the State.
To the joy and relief of Bayelsans, Governor Dickson hasn’t only been talking. Many will agree and rationally, too, that his actions on infrastructural development in the last two years speak louder than words. 
It is akin to a revolution by any serious evaluation. 
Despite the marshy nature of the soil in Bayesla State which makes infrastructural development relatively costly and cumbersome, the administration has a lot to show for its short period in office.
So far, over 350 kilometres of roads across the state have been completed.
Government has also constructed 15 bridges, over 50 public buildings and 2 flyovers, while the dualisation of 18 roads and 2 outer ring roads are in progress. The secretariat of the State Traditional Rulers’ Council inYenagoa has been completed. The road linking the old and new campuses of the State-owned Niger Delta University at Amassoma is also completed.
Government is set to award contracts for the construction of 15 internal roads in Yenagoa which will also be replicated in all the 8 Local Government headquarters in the first phase of total rehabilitation and transformation of roads in the State for easy accessibility.
The expansion and upgrading of many of the roads particularly in Yenagoa would, however, and infact, inevitably lead to demolition of some houses, not because they offended any town planning regulation but as necessary price to pay for the greater good and emergence of a modern city. 
The expansion of Opolo-Elebele/Imiringi road, for instance, has necessitated the demolition of Governor Dickson’s personal house which is a demonstration of commitment to achieving this goal.
Yet the ambitious new Yenagoa city is coming on stream soon, to further open up the State to investors, which when completed is targeted to be the new Dubai in Africa, especially in terms of facilities and business opportunities.
Among other on-going projects are the construction of the State
archive, museum, language centre, new secretariat annexes, Governor and Deputy Governors’ office complexes, modern police officers’ mess, rehabilitation of the Gloryland Cultural Centre and construction of the Government House Clinic, now close to completion.
And of course, work is ongoing at the pharmaceutical storage and distribution centre, which when completed will be the first of its kind in Africa.
Allied to the provision of roads are the strategically located bridges in the three senatorial districts in addition to the equally strategic construction of an airport and the Agge Deep Seaport.   
In the estimation of Governor Dickson, the successful completion of these two projects will speed up the quest for a diversified and vibrant economy, thereby making oil just one of the sources of income for the State.
The Governor’s dream is that the Bayelsa airport will create a direct link to Yenagoa, thereby consigning to the past the 200- kilometer drive from Port-Harcourt airport. The seaport will also jump start the State economy so much in terms of massive job creation, boom in trade, leading to a huge leap in income for the State and of course a greater lease of life for the people.
The people of Bayelsa, visitors and experts alike have noted with satisfaction the quality of the jobs undertaken as they were awarded to reputable construction firms including Julius Berger, Setracoand CCECC. The unusual volume of construction has also created fresh opportunities for a legion of youths as well as qualified engineers, architects and quantity surveyors in the State.  
Many won’t dispute the fact that in the last two years, the Hon. Seriake Dickson-led Restoration Government has displayed its commitment and determination to make a difference in the lives of the  people by providing such massive and strategic infrastructure throughout the State. 

Iworiso-Markson is the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State.


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