“Rather than discourage them with our words and actions, we as leaders must give our youths hope by using our language to draw out the very best in them," Jonathan said. "We must accept that nations only grow when elders plant trees whose shade they know they may never personally enjoy. Leaders must think of the next generation and not just the next election."
Goodluck Jonathan, a former President of Nigeria, has re-emphasized that the Nigerian youth are not lazy.
To make this point, Jonathan celebrated Ukoma Michael, Princess Elizabeth Bright and Ramota Tele Lawal — exceptional Nigerians whose invention and hard work have placed Nigeria on the global map.
In his democracy day message to Nigerians, on Tuesday, Jonathan stated that investment in Nigeria’s young population will, in return, lead to development of the country.
“More than 50% of our population are youth. If we develop policies, programmes and projects to empower the youth of Nigeria, the Nigerian youth, who single handedly created Nollywood, the third largest movie industry in the world, can be expected to return the favour and make Nigeria proud,” he said.
“Nigerian youth are showcasing their brilliance around the world and I want to make special mention of Ukoma Michael, who at thirteen years of age invented a battery-operated fan that lasts for 19 hours on a full charge. This ingenuity domiciled in Michael should be encouraged by our leadership.
“Internationally, Princess Elizabeth Bright and Ramota Tele Lawal, two 22-year-old Nigerian youth who, in May of 2018, became the youngest elected councillors in the United Kingdom, have made us proud. Very proud indeed.
“These youth are the epitome of the hardworking, talented, innovative and ambitious Nigerian youth who make our nation respected in the community of nations and give us hope for tomorrow and national pride for today.
“Rather than discourage them with our words and actions, we as leaders must give our youths hope by using our language to draw out the very best in them. We must accept that nations only grow when elders plant trees whose shade they know they may never personally enjoy. Leaders must think of the next generation and not just the next election.
“While we celebrate Ukoma, Elizabeth and Ramota, I know that there are perhaps millions in Nigeria who are equally brilliant and only need the right enabling environment to unleash their creative genius. They are my inspiration on this Democracy Day. They are the reason why I believe in the continued corporate existence of this great nation founded on justice, equity and freedom.”
Jonathan called for peace and unity, urging Nigerians to see the vast opportunities in the country rather than the crisis.
“I want to urge all Nigerians to pray for peace in Nigeria. We need peace in Nigeria. And it is up to you and I to ensure that our National Motto: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress, is a reality and not just mere rhetoric. I urge Nigerians to understand and accept that nobody’s political, economic, religious or social ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.
“There are many opportunities and crises on the horizon, but we must have the mentality of seeing the opportunity in crisis rather than the crisis in opportunity.
“We have one of the fastest growing youth population in the world and we must see this as an opportunity, not a crisis.”