The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Friday acknowledged the contributions of youths to the development of the country, saying they would certainly take control of the reins of power one day.
For this reason, Buhari asked them to brace for the leadership role ahead of them.
He spoke in Abuja when he received the All Progressives Congress youth leaders from the six zones at the Presidential Villa.
“Whether we like it or not, we will someday hand over to Nigerian youths. And you have to brace yourself for leadership,” he said.
Buhari is 77 years old, having been born on December 17, 1942.
He became a military Head of State in December 1983 at the age of 41. When he contested election in 2015 for his first term as a President, Major General Buhari (retd.) was 73 years old.
He stated that to prepare themselves to lead a country like Nigeria, the youths must keep a broader view of the country by preaching religious and ethnic unity.
He noted that having learnt a bitter lesson from the 1967-1970 Nigerian Civil War, people preparing for leadership roles must not allow anyone to deceive them by promoting disunity among Nigerians.
Buhari said, “Some interest groups will come up with ethnic, religious issues, but you have to look at the broader picture. We had a civil war that killed over two million Nigerians, and we learnt our lessons. Nigeria is one country, and no one should take our firmness for granted.”
He also recalled how he joined politics, saying he took the decision after coming of out jail, post the 1985 military coup.
Buhari added that his background was checked and it was discovered that he committed no crime while serving as petroleum minister, military governor and head of state.
“After I was released and nothing was found on me I took an interest in politics. This is what pushed me into partisan politics; to serve with integrity,” the President said, according to a State House statement by his media aide, Mr Femi Adesina.
“So, I decided to try leadership as a civilian, after taking off the military uniform.”
Buhari also spoke about his second term, repeating his promise to strengthen the anti-corruption war of his regime, build the economy and tackle insecurity.
He added, “I am currently serving my last term in office. I swore by the constitution to defend the country, and I will do the needful for the country.”
The youths were led to the Villa by the APC National Youth Leader, Mr Sadiq Abubakar.
He said the visit was to congratulate Buhari on his re-election and to pledge their continued support for his regime.