The former President, Goodluck Jonathan has charged leaders and politicians to think about the next generation and not just about the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
He said, “Leaders must think of the next generation and not just the next election.”
The former President called on the support of leaders to encourage the youths “instead of discouraging 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 the nation only grows when elders plant trees whose shade they know they may never personally enjoy.
The former President through his spokesman, Ikechukwu Eze, on Tuesday, commended the Nigerian youths, describing them as great achievers who are holding their heads high and greatly proving themselves globally.
“Nigerian youths are high achievers who are making the country proud, all they need are the opportunities to demonstrate their capabilities”.
As Nigeria marks democracy day, the former President urged all Nigerians to pray for peace in Nigeria.
“We need peace in Nigeria. And it is up to you and me 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.
“As this year’s Democracy Day falls on the holy month of Ramadan, let me seize the opportunity to also extend Ramadan greetings to the
Muslim Ummah. As you pray for Nigeria, I join my faith with yours and look forward to our prayers being answered by Almighty God.
“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.
“What our youth need are opportunities to showcase their positive talents. They need leaders who believe in them and show affirmation for them through their words and actions.
“Democracy is a game of numbers and the youths have the numbers. More than 50% of our population are youths. If we develop policies, programs 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.
“And they are already making us proud both locally and internationally. Nigerian youths 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 youths who in May of 2018 became the youngest elected councillors in the United Kingdom, have made us proud. Very proud indeed.
“These youths 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.
“Happy Democracy Day. God bless you and your family and may God bless Nigeria”.