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Bayelsa State is gradually wearing a new look following the Emergence of Governor Seriake Dickson with his Restoration Agenda. Youths from the various Local Government Areas of Bayelsa State are also gradually keying into the Restoration Agenda.

Gone are the days when the Niger Delta and indeed Bayelsa State was characterised by youth restiveness, militancy and other social vices. The Youths of today are more than ever before determined to take their destinies in their hands to ensure a brighter futiure.

Similarly, the estwhile begging culture of Bayelsa Youths, which got to a height at the inception of democracy in 1999 is no longer in vogue. Most of these "I am loyal" youths have come to realise the relevance of the Bibilical saying that there is no foiod for a lazy man.

The Slogan "I am loyal and committed" often used by Youths to curry favour from political victims is equally disappearing from the political scene,giving way for a thorough breed of serious and determined youth.

Perhaps this among other necessities informed the establishment of a non-governmental organisation known as Restoration Youth Network ( REYNET),which is poised to change the mindset of Bayelsa Youths and reorientate them for a better tomorrow

Convinced that Restoration is assured for youths in the State, REYNET has keyed into the government's development policies in the Ministries,Departments and Agencies(MDAs). This way,it believes that youths in the State will be better empowered for a better tomorrow.

Again,It has been the resolve of REYNET to bring youths together under a common platform, and speak in one voice on issues that affect them and the society. As leaders of tomorrow, REYNET believes youth could be self reliant,by being focused with a vision and rallying together to achieve set goals.

For the NGO, the above task is achievable with little assistance and less emphasis on pecuniary expectations. The flood crises that ravaged most parts of the country with its attendant devastation, was the litmus test for the REYNET group.

As a committed Youth Vanguard, REYNET came all out to complement the efforts of Bayelsa State government and NEMA in the area of medical servicesto internally displaced flood victims. In other climes the youths would not be strong enough to give aid to flood victims instead of waiting to recieve one.

The Group through a lean purse traversed most coastal communities in five local government areas of Bayelsa State before the floods receeded, rendering medicare and giving succour to the needy. The body did this at time when all Bayelsans were expected to be their brother's keeper and do all they could to lessen the burden of their neighbours.

Now the organisation is facing a crucial stage in its youth development Agenda. Reducing Youth unemployment and poverty rate in the State through ambitious skills acquisition programmes in collaboration with the State government. Recall that during then Hon. Henry Seriake for Governor campagn through the State,the then aspirant now Governor promised to collaborate with youth groups as a second stage of the Restoration programme. During telecasts he expressed his joy at the the way Youth groups without funding formed themselves into vigilante security rings to guard him and his campaign team during the turbulent days when security of life and property was not to be taken for granted in Bayelsa State. He said he would collaborate with the Youths in full respect, not as subordinates, so, the coming together of youth groups fulfils the first stage to this engagement. The government's emphasis very early on State security via enabling laws as well as enforcement apparatus now in place was to pave way for massive infrastructural development sorely needed for social, economic as well as institutional reforms that would create jobs for youths. Meanwhile as the processes continued through the first year, youth groups were forming their own agenda to be able to present common demands. REYNET has made such demands and engagements that informed the massive investment in Education and human capacity building in Bayelsa State during the first stage of Restoration and is poised to play a bigger role to position the youths for the emergent total employment phase.

It is likely that the organisation would continue their humanitarian services post flood to impacted communities reached earlier as well as those not reached. This step is imperative to encourage other youths in the State to emulate the kind of selfless guestures expected of the new Bayelsa Youth determined to be self reliant in a difficult terrain and environment. The NGO has indeed proved to be worthy of the confidence imposed on it by Bayelsa Youths as it navigates the youths to the coming stage of total youth Employment in Bayelsa State.

-Culled from the maiden Magazine of REYNET and edited and updated by Nwokedi Nworisara

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Nwokedi Nworisara and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Nwokedi Nworisara