President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday promised to encourage young people in their businesses, sports and other areas of endeavour and empower them to be able to take up positions at all levels.
He spoke in Lagos at an interactive session with Nigerian Young Professionals at home and in the Diaspora, where he also promised to encourage young Nigerians with more ministerial positions.
The president was responding to a question on his plans for young Nigerians, especially below the age of 40.
He said the youth were very important and needed to be encouraged to maximise their potential.
President Jonathan promised that in the next four years, if given the mandate, he would continue to build on the gains of the last four years and improve the lot of the young Nigerians.
According to him, his administration has just sworn in one of the youngest Nigerian ministers and will give the young people more of such appointments.
He said as a nation, the country must prepare for its future by investing in the young people.
“A father must expect his children to be better than him,” Mr. Jonathan said. “We must work hard and encourage the young people.”
The President also promised to intensify the fight against corruption and ensure that the problem of stigmatisation of Nigerians became a thing of the past over the next four years.
He said that his administration had recorded successes in the anti-corruption crusade by not only having more convictions, but also stemming the fraud in the distribution of fertiliser to farmers.
President Jonathan said that the integrated payment payroll system had also helped in checking fraud in the payment of salaries to civil servants, while inflation of contracts had dropped drastically.
He promised to also sanitise the oil sector in the next four years.
The president thanked Nigerians for the support in achieving success in the fight against Ebola and said the government would continue to improve the health sector for greater exploits.
He expressed appreciation to the young professionals that joined the event through skype and congratulated the nation’s U-20 football team for winning the African Youth Championship in Dakar.
The president promised to continue to encourage sportsmen and said a special fund would be set up to ensure that those who had done the nation proud were not abandoned.
The Nigerian Young Professional Forum presented a cheque of N10 million for support of families of fallen heroes.
Several sports personalities were also at the programme to interact with the president.
Austin Jay Jay Okocha, a former Super Eagles captain, now chairman, Delta Football Association, commended President Jonathan for his achievements and said that sportsmen of Delta and beyond would do everything necessary to see his reelection.
“Your success story speaks for itself,” he said.
Gov. Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta, in his comments, said the President had done a lot to encourage sportsmen and urged Nigerians to reelect him if they wanted Nigeria to win the World Cup in 2018 and also gold medals in the 2016 Olympics.
NFA President, Amaju Pinnick, and Sports Minister, Tam Danagogo, both lauded the president for all he had done to the development of sports in the country.
President Goodluck Jonathan also had a feel of the original women’s World Cup trophy which is on tour of some countries at the event.
Nigeria is among countries to compete for it in Canada later this year.