Sunday Dare Calls On Influential Nigerians To Support Sports Development

The minister says influential people have a vital role to play in the development of sports in Nigeria.

 

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, has charged Nigerians occupying influential positions to use their platforms to contribute to sports development in the country.

At the unveiling of the 2021 edition of the Nanaye Dickson Traditional Wrestling Competition in Abuja, Mr Dare commended the efforts of the Senator representing Bayelsa West in the National Assembly, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson, and wants people with the same status to emulate him.

The Nanaye Dickson Traditional Wrestling Tournament is an annual sporting event launched in 2012, in honour of the memory of Senator Dickson’s late father, a community leader, an unbeaten wrestling champion, and promoter of the game in his time.

The championship has a major objective to promote grassroots Ijaw Traditional Wrestling, culture and also serve as a talent hunt for the youths of the state.

The minister recalled how the Federal Government adopted the annual wrestling classic initiated by the senator as a national event.

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“Senator Dickson has re-affirmed he is a lover of sports. He supported its development as the former Governor of Bayelsa State and now as a Senator,” he said.

Mr Dare urged members of the National Assembly to identify and focus development on a particular sport that has the prevalence of talents in their respective areas in order to produce a new generation of talented athletes in the country.

Bayelsa State has a track record of producing some of the nation’s finest wrestlers.

 

In his remarks, Senator Dickson said that his interest in sports and commitment to its development remain the same even after his administration which built a sports academy, sponsored a football tournament known as the Restoration Cup for eight years and the Nanaye Dickson Wrestling Classic which was adopted by the Federal Ministry of Sports.

He said the event will continue to honour wrestlers from Bayelsa and hope they will keep dominating the sport in Nigeria and the African continent. The state has the highest concentration of wrestling champions.

A major talking point from the event was the presentation of bank drafts of N2 million to Bayelsa-born Olympic Silver medallist, Blessing Oborodudu, and N500,000 to her coach, Mr. Victor Kode.

The President of Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Mr Daniel Igali, who was represented by the Vice President, Mr Christopher Amkpila, appreciated the Senator for his unwavering support towards the development of the sport.

According to Senator Dickson, the Henry Seriake Foundation, which unveiled the Nanaye Dickson Wrestling Tournament, is also the sponsor of the ongoing community-based grassroots football competition, the Ofuruma Pepe Cup, which involves 100 teams and 1000 young boys.

“As you all know, as governor of Bayelsa, I did my best to promote sports in all its ramifications. We established a sports academy, we have several young people who are receiving both academic training as well as exposure to sports development that is taking place even now.

“For eight years, we also sponsored a football tournament known as the Restoration Cup, and the products of that initiative are all over the world, and I want to thank my team for that. We also sponsor the wrestling classic named after me and my father.

“I’m grateful that your predecessor and you adopted our wrestling classic as a national classic. All the wrestlers in our country assemble there in readiness for international competitions,” he said

Chairman of the occasion, who is also the Chairman of the House Committee on Youth and Sports, Senator Obinna Ogba, called on politicians to emulate Senator Dickson stressing that no money invested in sports development is wasted.

Senator Ogba said he was not surprised that the former Governor decided to sustain his interest and investment in sports development even after leaving office because sports investment means investing in the future.

EFCC vs Dickson: Court Vindicates Ex-Governor On Assets Declaration Case

A file photo of former Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson.

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa has entered a judgment order in favour of former Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Seriake Dickson, on a case over the assets he declared between 2007 and 2020.

Senator Dickson, when he was in the House of Representatives about 15 years ago, had obtained loans from commercial banks for investments through his family investment vehicle known as the Seriake Dickson Trust Incorporated.

While the mortgage of some of the loans is said to be running, the investments, loans and liabilities were declared with the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) before he became governor and ever since.

Justice Isah Dashien ruled in suit no: FHC/CS/81/2021, filed by the Registered Trustees of the Seriake Dickson Incorporated and Senator Seriake Dickson (the first and second plaintiffs) against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC (the defendant/respondent).

He held that the assets acquired with loans when the former governor was a member of the House of Representatives should not be investigated any further, having been declared before the CCB which issued a certificate of verification for them.

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The court affirmed an earlier verdict of the Federal High Court which stated that Senator Dickson had complied with all the constitutional requirements of the CCB in asset declaration.

It ruled that by virtue of the judgment and orders of the Federal High Court last year in suit number FHC/YNG//CS/40/2020, the EFCC lacked the powers to open a further investigation into investments made by the Registered Trustees of the Seriake Dickson Trust Incorporated.

The court, therefore, granted the order affirming the earlier judgment of the Federal High Court that the ‘invitation and interrogation of the second plaintiff by the second defendant (the EFCC), and the bid to arrest, interrogate and/or detain officers and trustees of the first plaintiff (the Registered Trustees of the Seriake Dickson Trust Incorporated) by the EFCC over matter which deal with or relate to investments made by the first plaintiff is illegal, unconstitutional, and a disregard of the valid and subsisting orders of a competent court.”

Justice Dashien also granted the application of the plaintiffs, for “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant, its officers, men, agents or privies from inviting the second plaintiff, officers and managers or Trustees of the first plaintiff over any matter dealing with or relating to any investment made by the first plaintiff, as covered or affected by the said judgment of the Federal High Court in suit no FHC/YNF/CS/40/2020.”

He stressed that the EFCC cannot lawfully arrest, investigate and/or prosecute the former governor who declared the assets in question and for which the verifying authorities – the CCB – issued certificates of verification before he became governor.

The previous court had held that it was contrary to the stipulation of the Law for the EFCC to open an investigation into assets that were declared over the years before the relevant body – the CCB, and for which it issued verification certificates.

It noted that in addition to the declaration of assets, the former governor while in office subjected himself to the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme of the Federal Government (VADES) and paid taxes on the affected assets, therefore the attorney-general and other Federal Government agencies were perpetually restrained.

Reacting to the latest judgement, Senator Dickson thanked the judiciary for their intervention and urged Nigerians to support an independent judiciary and public institutions, including the EFCC.

He also urged operators of the institutions to be dispassionate and fair in carrying out their sensitive responsibilities, stressing that the agencies were doing a very important job and should be supported.

The former governor asked those in authority to allow all institutions to do their job without undue pressure and asked Nigerians to work towards strengthening them.

Why EFCC Invited Me – Senator Seriake

The lawmaker representing Bayelsa-West in the National Assembly, Senator Seriake Dickson speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on August 4, 2021.

 

Senator Seriake Dickson has explained that he was at the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to clarify some issues related to assets declaration. 

The former Bayelsa State leader was at the office of the anti-graft agency in Abuja on Tuesday upon the invitation of the agency. He was later released to go home.

In a statement he issued later in the day, Senator Seriake noted that a non-governmental organization had petitioned the EFCC over some of his assets which they claimed were not declared.

“I understand that the subject matter of the inquiry relates to investments of my family trust, which I incorporated while being a member of the House of Reps to hold my family assets and investments which were made between 1996 and 2012 before I became Governor,”  the lawmaker representing Bayelsa West, added.

“I understand that there is a petition from an NGO alleging that these investments (largely buildings, plots, farms, etc in my village, Orua, Yenagoa, and two buy-to-let houses in the UK) were not declared. I have a duty to clarify these issues with the investigating authorities who by law have the responsibility to inquire into these matters.”

He noted that the said his family investments were made before he became the leader of the the oil-rich state and that these assets were declared to the right quarters before and after he left office.

“My solicitors and those of the trust have written to the EFCC to clarify these issues with the accompanying documents,” he said.

According to him, on getting to the EFCC office, the investigating team made fresh allegation of a diversion of N17.5 billion flood funds in 2012.

“The petition further alleged that the money was used for my re-election in 2019. The fact is that there was no such donation about the 2012 flood in Bayelsa,” the statement further said.

“Curiously, there was no mention of donor or where the money came from. There was also no re-election for governorship in Bayelsa in 2019 which are clear proofs that the petition was totally frivolous.”

The EFCC, he said, is “looking into these allegations”.

 

READ FULL STATEMENT

About two weeks ago I received an invitation from the EFCC to clarify some issues relating to assets declarations as alleged by an NGO.

On account of our busy schedule at the time, I wrote to inform them and we agreed to reschedule the interview for today.

As a law abiding citizen and with a life long commitment to supporting Law enforcement and security agencies, I honored the invitation today as rescheduled. I understand that the subject matter of the inquiry relates to investments of my family trust, which I incorporated while being a member of the House of Reps to hold my family assets and investments which were made between 1996 and 2012 before I became Governor.

I understand that there is a petition from an NGO alleging that these investments (largely buildings, plots, farms, etc in my village, Orua, Yenagoa, and two buy-to-let houses in the UK) were not declared. I have a duty to clarify these issues with the investigating authorities who by law have the responsibility to inquire into these matters.

However, for the avoidance of doubts, let me state that my family investments, Seriake Dickson Trust Incorporated were made between 1996 and 2012 before I became Governor.

These investments were funded by loans and advances and repaid from salaries, allowances, savings and others. One of them is still on mortgage and I have made these documents available to the EFCC.

These investments were declared in my assets declaration form at the House of Reps in 2011; my Governorship form in 2012, 2016, 2020 after I left office and the Senate Assets declaration form this year.

I went beyond these declarations and wrote several letters to the appropriate agencies, copies of which have been made available to the EFCC. My trust and I subscribed to the federal government Voluntary Assets Income AND Declaration Scheme (VAIDES) and also paid the necessary taxes.

As a result of blackmail from some quarters, the Trust and I went to the Federal High Court where there is a subsisting judgement declaring that no Nigerian law is breached by a public officer who takes loans and other verifiable avenues to make investments for his family provided these are declared.

It should be on record that I have since resigned from the Trust Administration since 2011 before I became Governor.

My solicitors and those of the trust have written to the EFCC to clarify these issues with the accompanying documents.

However on getting to the commission, the investigating team came up with a new allegation of diversion of flood funds in 2012 totaling N17.5 billion. The petition further alleged that the money was used for my re-election in 2019. The fact is that there was no such donation about the 2012 flood in Bayelsa.

Curiously, there was no mention of donor or where the money came from. There was also no re-election for governorship in Bayelsa in 2019 which are clear proofs that the petition was totally frivolous.

The commission after looking into these allegations have since asked me to return home on self recognition.

I have authorized this statement to be released for the avoidance of any misinformation.

Senator Henry Seriake Dickson
Senator representing Bayelsa West in the National Assembly

PDP Crisis: Decamping Is A Very Ugly, Nigerian Political Culture – Seriake Dickson

 

The immediate past Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, has taken a swipe at politicians who usually decamp to other parties, describing the situation as an ugly Nigerian politician culture.

Dickson, who currently represents Bayelsa-West in the National Assembly, stated this on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, noting that the country has not reached its peak with respect to the decamping season.

With the 2023 general elections about 17 months away, the lawmaker predicted that more politicians would cross-carpet from one side of the political divide to another.

Prominent members of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party have switched camp to the All Progressives Congress (APC) recently with Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, leading the league of PDP governors to the ruling party.

Shortly after, Governors Ben Ayade (Cross River) and his Zamfara State counterpart, Matawalle Bello followed suit, despite being elected under the PDP platform in the 2019 general elections.

The lawmaker representing Bayelsa-West in the National Assembly, Senator Seriake Dickson speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on August 4, 2021.

 

Just today, a member of the PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Joy Emordi also dumped the opposition party to join the APC train.

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But Dickson isn’t surprised with the defections, explaining that more defections will still take place in the build-up to the next general polls.

“Between now and the peak of the decamping season which will be next year, you will be shocked how many people will move either this way or that way,” he said.

“Don’t be surprised to see a lot of chicken coming home to roost, don’t be surprised to see some other birds of passage flocking around. That is what we have come to know.

“Is it the right thing to do? No. Is that the way to deepen our democracy, no? Does that speak well of our democratic structure, no? Unfortunately, that is the ugly reality we have to deal with.”

Senate President Swears In Dickson, Abiru, Two Other Senators

Seriake Dickson, Cleopas Moses, Tokunbo Abiru, and Nora Dadu’ut take the oath of office at the Senate chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja on December 15, 2020.

 

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has sworn in four new lawmakers into the red chamber of the National Assembly.

Those sworn in on Tuesday include former Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa West), Mr Cleopas Moses (Bayelsa Central), Mr Tokunbo Abiru (Lagos East), and Professor Nora Dadu’ut (Plateau South).

The newly inaugurated lawmakers were returned elected by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the bye-elections conducted to fill the vacant seats in the Senate.

Their inauguration took place shortly after Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe (Kwara Central) moved for the adoption of votes and proceedings for Thursday last week, and the motion was seconded by Senator Sandy Onuh (Cross River Central).

In his remarks, Senate President Lawan noted that the lawmakers in the chamber have designed and devoted themselves to working for Nigerians.

According to him, the Ninth Senate works in a very bipartisan fashion as three – the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the Young Progressives Party (YPP) – are represented in the chamber.

“We have done fairly well as an Assembly. We are faced with challenges, but these are surmountable challenges.

“To our colleagues who have just joined us, incidentally at the moment it is a draw. The major thing is we are one,” he said.

The Senate President added, “I want to pray that our countrymen and women will always give their maximum support to the National Assembly in particular and the legislature.

“The National Assembly is made up of human beings and we can make mistakes as human beings but this Ninth Assembly will not cause any disruption in government.”

Police Parade Alleged Masterminds Of Attack On Seriake Dickson’s Residence

 

The police in Bayelsa State have arrested the suspects behind the attack which was recently carried out on the residence of the former governor of the state, Seriake Dickson.

Commissioner of Police in the state, Mike Okoli stated this while addressing journalists in Yenogoa, the state capital.

Gunmen had earlier in November attacked the residence of former Governor in Sagbama Local Government Area of the state.

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A police inspector was killed while he was trying to repel the attack.

The police commissioner said following the attack, “We have been following the case diligently. I am happy to inform you that at the moment, five suspects connected to that incident are in our net.”

He added that the suspects confessed that they planned the attack.

Also, many other suspects were paraded for carrying out nefarious activities in the state. Large quantities of substances suspected to be Indian hemps, bag containing 200 live cartridges were also retrieved from the suspects.

Police Officer Dies While Repelling Gunmen Attack On Ex-Gov Dickson’s House

The crest of the Nigeria Police Force crest is on a police officer in Abuja on October 3rd, 2020 PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

A police inspector has died while repelling an attack on the residence of former Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, in Sagbama Local Government Area of the state.

According to a statement by Asinim Butswat, the police spokesperson in Bayelsa State, the officer, died “after sustaining gunshots injuries resulting from the fierce encounter with the gunmen.”

His corpse has been deposited at the mortuary.

Butswat explaining the incident said the gunmen struck on November 19 and came in three speedboats.

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“Unknown gunmen in three speedboats who came through the Forcados River attempted to invade the residence of Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson at the riverine community of Toru-Orua, Sagbama Local Government Area, but were repelled by Policemen on duty.

“An Inspector of Police who sustained gunshot injuries resulting from the fierce encounter with the gunmen later died and his corpse has been deposited at the mortuary.

“The Command condoles with the family and relatives of the Inspector of Police who fought gallantly with his team to prevent the gunmen from invading the residence,” the statement read in part.

Also, the Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa State Command, Mike Okoli has visited the scene.

He said investigations have commenced following the unfortunate incident.

Bayelsa Election: Angry Protesters Attack Dickson’s Private Home

 

The personal home of the immediate past Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, was on Friday attacked by unknown protesters.

The attack comes just hours after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) issued a Certificate of Return to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, in the 2019 governorship election, Diri Douye.

Some angry protesters suspected to be loyal to the All Progressives Congress (APC) earlier in the day attacked the PDP secretariat in Yenagoa, the State capital, destroying properties.

Diri was issued the certificate of return following the Supreme Court ruling which sacked APC candidate, David Lyon as Bayelsa State governor-elect.

The INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, told journalists during a briefing in Abuja that Diri was declared the winner of the November 2019 election after top INEC officials met to review the results of the election, without the votes of the APC which have been voided by the court.

“The total votes cast after excluding those of the APC now stand at 146,999. PDP polled 143,172 and scored 25 percent as required by the law,” Yakubu said during the briefing.

See photos from the attack below…

 

Dickson Approves New Minimum Wage For Bayelsa Workers

Bayelsa Governor, Seriake Dickson

 

Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has approved the payment of the 30,000 Naira New National Minimum wage to workers in the State from January.

The Governor, who gave the approval during a meeting with the Leadership of organised labour in Government House Yenagoa that ended Friday night, also directed the State’s financial team to follow through the template set by the National wages and commission, in implementing the New salary structure.

According to the Governor, there was nothing too much to be paid to workers in view of their contributions to national development.

Last year, President Muhammadu Buhari signed a new minimum wage into law. But the federal government and organised labour have struggled to agree on the implementation of the N30,000 limit across the board.

“Our state cannot be left out,” Dickson said. “What is good for the goose is good for the gander. There is nothing we pay to our hard-working workforce that is too much.”

The Head of Service, Biobelemoye Onyeama, also assured that the modalities for the implementation would be concluded for effective payment from this January.

“It has been approved,” she said. “We are going to work out the details.”

The organised labour, represented by Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress Bayelsa Chapter, John Ndiomu, expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting.

He added that issues of arrears arising from the new payment would be addressed by the incoming Government.

The Dickson administration is set to leave office in February.

Bayelsa Election: Gov Dickson Made Our Job Very Easy – Sylva

 

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Timipre Sylva, has said that Governor Seriake Dickson made the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the November 16 Governorship election a success.

Mr. Sylva who attributed the victory to a proverb explained that the party had a good candidate in David Lyon.

“If you marry your wife very well, you will be blessed with another wife, Governor Dickson made our job very easy because he married the wife very badly. Of course, he didn’t marry the state very well, so they roundly rejected him.

“We had a good candidate, and when you have a good product, it is very easy to sell it. So we went round to sell this product to Bayelsans and the result was an overwhelming success.”

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He explained that the victory is significant for the party as it aims to secure a landslide grip in Nigeria’s Southern region.

“For us, it is very significant, this gives our party a footprint in the Niger Delta which is very key to us, and it gives us more of a national outlook.

“I want to assure you, that from a small seed, the biggest tree will grow. From here, we will gradually grow the party in the south-south and southeast.”

Dickson, Wike, Other Oil-Producing State Governors Meet Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari with governors of the oil-producing states at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on October 17, 2019.

 

 

Governors of the nine oil-producing states in the country have met with President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss issues they say are of concern to them.

The meeting held on Thursday when the governors visited the President at the Aso Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State said the issues discussed bothered on security, economy and the development of their various states.

He said he was happy that President Buhari acknowledged the challenges highlighted and has promised to work towards resolving some of them.

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The governor also spoke about the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa and called for peaceful and credible exercise.

Also present at the meeting were Governors Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Emeka Ihedioha (Imo) and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia).

Others are the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; as well as the ministers of Works and Housing and that of Niger Delta Affairs, Babatunde Fashola and Godswill Akpabio.

See photos below:

Dickson Accepts Bayelsa SIEC Boss’ Resignation, Says LG Polls Not Affected

Dickson Accepts Bayelsa SIEC Boss' Resignation, Says LG Polls Not Affected
Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson (file)

 

Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has accepted the resignation of Chairman of the State Independent Electoral Commission (BYSIEC), Dr Perekeme Bertola.

The Commissioner for Information and Orientation in the state, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday.

Dr Bertola had informed the governor about his resignation in a letter dated May 31, 2019, in which he cited “threats to his life and his immediate family” as reasons for his decision.

In his response, Governor Dickson thanked Bertola for his services to the commission, particularly for setting in motion the conduct of the local council elections scheduled to hold on August 10, 2019.

He said regardless of the development, the polls would go on as other members of the commission were in quorum to carry on with the business of conducting a hitch-free exercise.

According to the statement by the commissioner, the most senior member of the commission will take charge in an acting capacity, pending the appointment of a substantive chairman.

The statement also condemned the actions of those who go the length to harass, intimidate and threaten Dr Bertola and his family “all in their desire for him to do their bidding during the council election”.

It wished the former SIEC boss success in his future endeavours and called on the people of the state to be wary of what it called the subterranean moves by some persons to scuttle the planned council elections.