Former President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday said that “any nation that does not spend its wealth and resources to develop the capacity of its youth, will be forced to use them to fight insecurity.”
Jonathan was speaking at the University of Oxford where he delivered a speech, with the theme, “Promoting Youth Entrepreneurship”.
The former President spoke in clear terms saying, “Any nation that does not spend its wealth and resources to develop the capacity of its youth will be forced to use them to fight insecurity.”
The immediate past President of Nigeria also discussed other topical issues like the economy, youth empowerment and education, the ban on same sex marriage in Nigeria, his transformation agenda and the allegations of corruption against members of his cabinet.
Below are excerpts of Jonathan’s speech.
“The issue of youth entrepreneurship in Africa is very critical, as Africa is the only continent in which we will witness a population boom. Most violent crises in Africa can be traced to a lack of education and opportunities among its teeming youth population.
“As a leader, you can decide through your policies to educate the youths, or face the consequences of failing to do so.
“The Transformation Agenda was conceived to engage the latent potential in the entire nation, and to stimulate and enable higher productivity.
“We increased the allowances due to Youth Corp members by more than 100% in 2011.
“We identified Nollywood as a sector that can employ many young people and provided a grant of $200 million to boost the industry. As a result Nollywood became a major contributor to our GDP and in 2014, the industry contributed 1.4% to our GDP.
“My Administration came up with various programs to encourage young entrepreneurs.
“I urge contemporary African leaders to see youth entrepreneurship as a collective project transcending national boundaries.
“Despite incredible challenges, Nigerian youths are achieving great things and placing Nigeria positively in the world map. They inspire us.
“We may not have been perfect, but we did our best, and our best yielded an era of unprecedented economic growth for Nigeria.
“A growth that proved the truism that a Nation’s wealth is not underneath the ground but between the ears of her people.
“Under my watch, Nigeria was projected by CNN Money to be the third fastest growing economy in the world for the year 2015. Nigeria was rated as the largest economy in Africa and the 23rd in the world by the World Bank and the IMF, with a GDP above US$570 billion.
“The bill banning same sex marriage in Nigeria was a passed by our country’s parliament and the President that I was could not veto it. Since passing the ban on same sex marriage, I can attest that not a single Nigerian has been discriminated against as a result of that law.
“While serving as President of Nigeria, I worked for the next generation and not for the next elections. I have no regrets for what I did.
“Somebody must sacrifice and work for the next generation otherwise your children’s children will suffer the same predicaments as you have.
“As a leader you need resources to develop your nation and sometimes you have to navigate through the competiting interests of western powers.
“On the issue of corruption, you are aware that several matters are pending in court and I would not like to intefer with the legal processes.
“We reformed the institutions and introduced various mechanisms to stop the corruption problems in our country without publicity.”