Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has eulogized the spirit of excellence in Nigerian youths on the occasion of the country’s 60th anniversary of independence.
Atiku said through their diverse creativity, the youths have continued to unite and put the nation on the global map by excelling in the areas of sports, entrepreneurship, medicine and entertainment, amongst others.
The former vice president gave the example of Israel Adesanya, who by defending his UFC middleweight title in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, “lifted our spirit, and gave us hope in a season of hopelessness when every index of life and human development in our country is trending abysmally negative.”
He said Adesanya’s victory united the country: “No one cares if he is from Abia or Zamfara, Rivers or Osun state.”
Atiku said there were lessons Nigerian leaders could learn from the youths’ excellent spirit.
He said, “We may have missed countless opportunities to reset our mindset moving forward as prosperous people, but this 60th anniversary of the life of our nation offers introspection.
“The youths of Nigeria represent the future wealth of the fatherland and the only way we can tap into them is through quality investments in education and skills acquisition.
“Through the creativity that they inject in their passion, the excellence of the Nigerian youth is a global signature in diverse fields notably in sports, as they can be found in medicine, in education, in business and finance, agriculture, and in our entertainment industry. Indeed they ‘berekete’ in every facet of our life from the rain forest of the south to the sudan and sahel Savannah of the north and the guinea Savannah of the midlands of the territories we call home.
“We may have failed to take advantage of the power of the Nigerian youth. But there is something much more significant that their triumphs teach us a people looking forward to a better future. When they win, they celebrate Nigeria. Our youth are ready and eager to conquer the world. What they lack is the leadership to take them through that process,” he said.
Atiku further advised that, “for Nigeria to work for the millions of its people, and to be reckoned with as a global competitive force in the nearest future, we must come up with a development plan that will have our youth at the centre of the plan. The times of idle, lame promises are over! We urgently need to build a new Nigeria where every dream would be embraced and the potentialities of our youth could be unleashed without the usual fears that have dragged us.”