THE NEW BREED OF BAYELSA YOUTH
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 the state are also gradually keying into the agenda.
Gone are those days when the Niger Delta and indeed Bayelsa State was characterized by youth restiveness, militancy and other social vices. The youths of today are more than never before determined to take their destinies in their hands to ensure a brighter future.
Similarly, the erstwhile begging culture of Bayelsa youths which got to a height at the inception of democracy in nineteen ninety –nine is no longer in vogue. Most of these “ I am loyal youths “have come to realize the relevance of the Biblical saying that there is no food for the lazy man.
The slogan “ am loyal and committee” often used by youths to curry favour from their political victims is equally disappearing from the political scene, giving way for a through breed of serious and determined youth.
Perhaps this among other necessities informed the establishments of a non –governmental organization known as Restoration Youth Network(REYNET), which is poised to change the mind set of Bayelsa youths and re-orientate them for a better tomorrow .
Convinced that restoration is assured for youths in the state REYNET has keyed into 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.
It is also the resolve of REYNET to bring youth groups together under a common platform, and speak in one voice on issues that affect them and the society at large. As leaders of tomorrow, REYNET believes youth could be self-reliant, by being focused with a vision and rallying together to achieve set goals.
The NGO believes this can be achieved with little assistance and less emphasis on pecuniary expectations. The present flood crises which ravaged most parts of the country with its attendant devastation, was a litmus test for the REYNET group.
As a committed youth vanguard, REYNET came all out to compliment the efforts of Bayelsa State Government in the area of medical services to the internally displaced flood victims.
The group though with a lean purse has traversed most coastal communities in five local government area of Bayelsa state so far, rendering medi-care and giving succor to the needy. The body is doing this at a time when all Bayelsa are expected to be their brother’s keeper and do all they can to lessen the burden of their neighbours.
It is believed that the organization would continue their humanitarian service to other impacted communities in the state. This step is imperative to encourage other youths in the state to emulate the kind of selfless gesture of REYNET. Indeed the NGO has proved to be worthy and a good example for youth ambassadors of Bayelsa State.
SUPPORTING THE BAYELSA PROJECT
When General Sani Abacha Magnanimously created Bayelsa State on October 1st 1996, not many across the country were comfortable with the decision.While there was wide spread jubilation amongst the Ijaws of the Niger Delta those with different views were disappointed.
Although, different schools of Though may hold different opinion about what motivated Abacha, but Bayesians still acknowledge this feat as heroic. For the pioneers of agitation who vehemently fought against marginalization and championed the cause of resource control and self determination, history will continue to make them as reference point.
Only recently in a bid to immortalize Abacha and to celebrate the sixteen years of Bayelsa State, Governor Seriake Dickson while inauguration the Ijaw House, named the Multi-purpose Hall and then new commissioner’s Quarters Opolo after him.
Abacha’s dream was to alleviate the plight of the people and attract even development by giving the people a sense of belonging. Sixteen years down the line, the state is grappling with problems of underdevelopment such as roads, affordable health care, education and water.
This followed the dynamic policies and programmes namely; Navy Captain Philip Ayeni, Caleb Olubolade, Police Commissioner Daura and Colonel Edor Obi all worked to kick-start the development of the state.
The emergence of democracy in nineteen ninety-nine heralded the administration of Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha as first executive governor who laid the following for the development of the state. Some of his projects include the Niger Delta University, the five hundred bed hospital and a host of others.
President Goodluck Jonathan barely spent one year and few months before a national assignment came calling. Jonathan completed the new secretariat annex, the Ekole bridge, five star hotel, new Governor and Deputy Governor lodes.
Chief Timipre Sylva also did his best before he left the office. However, the present government led by Chief Seriake Dickson has assured Bayelsans that all abandoned projects would be complete and new ones commerce.
The aim is to restore confidence that is fast eroding by consolidation on past achievements. Governor Dickson’s transparency initiative to produce accountability and strict adherence to due process is unprecedented.
In the area of education, one billon naria has been earmarked to give scholarship to deserving students in tertiary institution to PHD level, while emergency has been declared in primary and post primary schools.
The award of contracts for the three senatorial roads, continuation of five star hotels, health and water scheme, is a pointer to grater thing s to come.
It is in this regard that a non-governmental organization, Restoration Youth Network (REYNET) was formed out of collective interest in the state.
Already, the organization is willing to compliment the efforts of government in area of youth empowerment, skills acquisition, and public enlightenment sports development by promoting talents, women and girl child education.
While REYNET commends the efforts of the founding fathers especially those who have contributed immensely to the creation of Bayelsa State, there is need for more synergy.
The call is for other youth groups in the state to collaborate with REYNET in actualizing this vision as the era of coming out only during election should be a thing of the past.
It is also imperative for all Bayelsans both at home and in Diaspora to bring their wealth of experience to bear in the Bayelsa project, if the dreams and aspirations of heroes past must not be in vain.