The Bayelsa State Government will now monthly give N97 million to the state education development trust fund as part of efforts to develop education in the State.
This is as a former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, on Thursday said Governor Seriake Dickson’s revolutionary approach to educational development would turn around the fortunes of Bayelsa State in the near future.
He stated this at the commissioning ceremony of the Ijaw National Academy at Kaiama, during which Governor Dickson presented the cheque of N97 million as monthly contribution to the State Education Development Trust Fund Board.
Describing the facilities at the Academy as impressive, the former Head of State noted that, the vision behind the setting up of the free boarding secondary school is commendable, as it is designed to achieve academic excellence and capacity building.
While charging the students to make optimal use of the scholarship programme and protect the facilities provided for them, he expressed optimism that they would be among other Nigerians that would take the country to greater heights in the foreseeable future.
Presenting the cheque, Governor Dickson explained that, in addition to the N100 million recently released to the Trust Fund, government deducted N97 million from the salaries of both political appointees and civil servants for the month of June, 2017, including the 5% contribution from the State monthly internally generated revenue.
The Governor said, he was proud of his achievements in the education sector, noting that, it was under his leadership that boarding schools were established and funded by the state government, 20 years after the creation of Bayelsa, to nurture and build a crop of future leaders for the Ijaw nation and the country as a whole.
Governor Dickson, who used the opportunity to name the access road linking the Academy to the East-West Road after Late Prof. Kay Williamson, in recognition of her contribution to the development of the Ijaw language and culture, stated that, other key facilities would be used to immortalize eminent sons and daughters of Ijaw land.
In his remarks, Ijaw National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark attributed the lack of development in Ijaw land to the absence of educational institutions in the area and, therefore, called on the people to support the free education policy and programmes of the Dickson’s administration, regardless of their political differences.
He commended the Governor for his wisdom in using education to fight poverty and underdevelopment, expressing optimism that, the Academy would achieve its set objective of producing quality students for higher institutions of learning both within and outside the country.
In their separate speeches, a representative of Kaiama Community, Chief Ekpein Appah and the Member of House of representatives, Hon Douye Diri expressed gratitude to the Governor for carrying the people of Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government along in the scheme of things, noting that, no government has been as kind to the area, as the present administration.
The highpoints of the ceremony were the tour around facilities in the school and presentation of a portrait of the Former Head of State designed by an SS1 student of the Ijaw National Academy, Master Ebidoumene Godsfavour.
Dignitaries who graced the commissioning include, the wife of the Bayelsa State Governor, Dr Rachel Dickson, former Deputy Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Muktar Shagari, retired federal permanent secretary, Amb. Godknows Igali, former Information Minister, Mr Labaran Maku, Prof. John Pepper Clark, Dr Gabriel Okara, late Isaac Boro’s compatriot, Capt Sam Owonaro (Retd), King Alfred Diete Spiff and other royal fathers.