Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan spoke at the Oxford Union of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom on Monday, October 24th, 2016.
His focus of discussion was on the theme “Promoting Youth Entrepreneurship”.
Here are 10 key points from his speech:
– We initiated a program to encourage the best brains of the State. We selected through competitive entrance examinations the most brilliant pupils in our primary schools and sent them to the best secondary schools in the country.
– I launched a similar program on assumption of office as president called the Presidential Special Scholarship Scheme for Innovation and Development [PRESSID]. This scheme nurtured a select cadre of professionals, to serve as facilitators for accelerated, sustainable, economic and technological advancement.
– We established twelve conventional Universities and a specialised Maritime University. To assist the disadvantaged children in Northern Nigeria, we built 165 special schools known as “Almajiri School” that integrated Islamic culture into Western education.
– The foundational theme of my Administration was ‘The Transformation Agenda’. It was conceived to engage the latent potential in the entire nation, and to stimulate and enable higher productivity. And this was also the foundation of our youth development drive.
– My Administration came up with various programs to encourage young entrepreneurs. The most popular is the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria “YouWIN”.
– We launched The Graduate Internship Scheme ‘GIS’. The objective of this program was to provide temporary work experience for fresh graduates, to enhance their capacity to attract permanent jobs. Eligible graduates are posted to corporations and companies in the private and public sectors. They received practical training and mentorship for a one-year period, within which remuneration is paid by the government. This enabled the young graduates to acquire relevant experience.
– We also increased the allowances due to Youth Corps members by more than 100% in 2011. This was in line with our policy of youth empowerment and development.
– The efforts of the Young software engineers at the Lagos Co-Creation Hub (CC Hub) became so successful that it did not only give birth to many thriving start-ups, but their activities also attracted the attention of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg who chose it as his first stop during his first ever visit to Africa.
– We identified Nollywood as a sector that can employ many young people. We provided a grant of $200m and for the first time, Nollywood became a major contributor to our GDP. In 2014, Nollywood contributed 1.4% to our GDP.
– We encouraged our young people in that sector. I was to launch a Fund to encourage sporting activities in the Country but I had to bow out by 29th of May 2015. Nigeria has a crop of talented youth but the nation has not properly keyed into the global sports industry. The Fund would have been a catalyst to promoting the Nigerian sports industry by promoting training, welfare of athletes and manufacturing of sporting equipment among other things.