Nigeria

Democracy Day: Jonathan prays for peace, praises Nigerian youths

On the occasion of  this year’s Democracy Day,  former President
Goodluck Jonathan has rolled out the drums to celebrate Nigerian
youths, describing them as great achievers who are holding their heads
high and greatly proving themselves globally.
The former President also prayed for peace urging Nigerians to always
strive to ensure that “our national motto: Unity and Faith, Peace and
Progress, is a reality and not just mere rhetoric.”
In a statement by Mr.  Ikechukwu Eze,  the former President’s media
adviser,  Jonathan noted that Nigerian youths are high achievers  who
are making the country proud,  adding that all they need are the
opportunities to demonstrate their capabilities.
He further urged leaders to support the youths rather than discourage
them,  saying: “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.”
Below is the text of Jonathan’s Democracy Day statement:
“On this Democracy Day 2018, 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.
“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. GEJ.”

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