The Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Seriake Dickson, explained at the weekend why he chose a former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gown (retd), to inaugurate the Ijaw National Academy (NIA), a free boarding secondary school his administration recently completed in the state.
Dickson said Gowon was chosen to challenge and motivate the over 1,000 boarding students of the academy following his sterling leadership qualities as a young man.
Gowon and his wife, Victoria, spent two days in Bayelsa to inaugurate the NIA and the world-class Governor’s Office described by most of the guests as the best governor’s office in the country.
The former head of state also used the opportunity to lay wreath at the tomb of the late Ijaw martyr, Major Isaac Adaka Boro, in the Heroes’ Park, Yenagoa.
The governor said having studied the background of Gowon and how he steered the ship of a country in crisis at the tender age of 32, he decided to bring the former head of state to Bayelsa to interface with the children.
Dickson hinted that former President Goodluck Jonathan, who hails from Bayelsa, and other past presidents of Nigeria would also have their days with the students at the appropriate time.
He described Jonathan as a lover of education, saying he had discussed the issue of the academy with him.
Dickson gave the reasons at an event titled: “A day with the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and Ijaw literary icons,” held at INA Kaiama, Kolokuma-Opokuma local government area of the state.
He said: “I know I have asked a number of dignitaries before now to come and don’t be tired because many more dignitaries will continue to come. Literary icons are here today.
“A foremost political leader, head of state of our country at a tender age of 32, managing a country in crisis, was here and I chose him specifically to come and commission this to show young people what they can do if they have guidance and support.
“We will have many more dignitaries. Business leaders will come, ambassadors will be here and any visitor of note that visits me I will request an opportunity to interface with you and many more of our leaders will come.
“Former presidents will be here and you know in this great state we also have a former President too. He too loves education, I know that and we have discussed it and at the appropriate time, all of them one by one will be here to interface with you.”