Governor of Bayelsa State, Dr. Seriake Dickson, has disclosed that governors, traditional rulers, security agencies, as well all other stakeholders and leaders have started doing the needful to ensure peace in the country over the agitation of the Niger Delta militants.
He has also advised both the Federal Government and the rampaging militants of the Niger Delta region to embrace peace and dialogue.
The governor gave the advice, at the weekend, during the 21st convocation of Ekiti State University (EKSU), where he was garlanded with the institution’s Doctorate Degree in Public Administration in recognition of his exemplary leadership as a representative of his people at the federal legislative body and governor.
The event held at the main auditorium of the institution in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State. Dickson received the honour – alongside the Chancellor of the University and monarch of Aramoko-Ekiti, Oba Abdul Azeez Olu Adegoke Adeyemi, and the Ekiti State born legal luminary, banker and oil and gas magnate, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode, while a total of 18,685 candidates received the institution’s Degrees, Diplomas and Post-graduate Diplomas.
Militants, under the aegis of the Niger Delta Avengers, have declared war on the federal government, destroying national assets and causing huge financial losses running to billions of Naira, over resource control among others, while the FG has considered a military option of hunting down the militants.
But Dickson who, condemned the development, urging the parties to come to a round table and dialogue for peace and stability said, that “The way forward is not war, war. It is jaw jaw. The way forward is peace and dialogue, it is consensus building and that is what some of us are in support of; we are not in support of violence.
“We are not in support brigandage. We are not in support of destruction of strategic national assets and killings. We know there is an issue and this issue can only be addressed when all stakeholders work together for unity, peace, prosperity and stability and progress for our country.”
Dickson said that “We are all concerned about the developments, all the leaders there are concerned about the recent surge of insurgency. We are collaborating on the way forward. Those of us who are governors in our states are working hard with traditional leaders and opinion leaders and security agencies and also collaborating with other private and corporate bodies to ensure that we put it under control.
Expressing his appreciation to the university and Ekiti for the honour conferred on him, he said: “It is a great privileged to have been invited here and decorated with this beautiful academic robes. And so on behalf of our people of Bayelsa, I bring warm felicitations to the people of Ekiti and my brother, Governor Ayo Fayose, who is a visitor to this wonderful university and who has been doing a great job in the state in spite of all the distractions.
“As you all already know, Bayelsa and Ekiti have a lot in common. We are twin states established on the same day. And so we are keenly interested in what goes on in Ekiti. Every Bayelsa man and woman is a friend and brother of Ekiti, and you are a good people.
“The Ekiti State University has become a model for other institutions. Just two days ago I sent a team from our state university to come here and interact with your management, with a view to finding out how you are managing to pay salaries without receiving the subventions from your governor.
“I want to congratulate you as you are entering into another society, a society where your aspiration should not be to look for a white collar job, because they simply are not there. Your aspirations and my expectations for all of you is to be wealth- creators and employers of labour.”
Fayose also appreciated the school management for having performed well. His words: “I want to appreciate the Governing Council of the university for your efforts and outstanding performance at a time like this when financing government has become a huge challenge in the face of the dwindling federal allocations. Your performance for the six months has been commendable.”
Advising the university’s management to invest in agriculture as one of the strategies to shore up its treasury, he said “Let us focus on agriculture because we are not only fighting Boko Haram and insecurity, but we already have food insecurity and when you have food to eat a large part of the problem is solved. It is not everybody that will buy blocks to build a house, but every one of us must eat, even if it once a day.
“Those that are graduating, the queue out there is long and white collar jobs are rare, those who even have such jobs, are not paid regularly. The situation is getting tougher every day, and we must all invest more in agriculture,” he said.
The EKSU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Oye Bandele, said that a total of 18,685 candidates were to receive Degrees, Diplomas and Post-graduate Diplomas, with the breakdown of 3,054 for full-time students, 392 for Sandwich,10,613 for Affiliate colleges and 3,937 part-time students.
For those in the Post-graduate class, he said 78 were for Phd degrees,366 for Masters, 127 for professional Masters and 118 are for Post-Graduate Diploma, adding that in all, a total of 24 students were to bag First Class honours’ degree.