Let me first say how truly excited we are to receive here today Mark Zuckerberg, (and from now on I will only call him Mark as everyone else does.)
As you know Mark is a very informal person. I had asked him earlier why he wasn’t wearing his T-shirt, he assured me that was just out of respect for the formality of coming to see the President.
But it is really exciting to have you here today with us, Mark. I think that one of the great things that you have demonstrated is that it is possible to live your dreams; it is possible to make your dreams not just coming true but coming true so fabulously that you not only influence your environment but you influence the whole world.
I had said earlier-(referring to earlier meetings today at the Presidential Villa) that one of the things that you have done is really to create connectivity across the world so that people are really able to interact across tribe, across race and across countries and feel as part of one family.
This is really one of the great things that you have done and your coming to Nigeria has been especially energizing for not just the young people but everyone else.
As you could see, even the President is of course on Facebook, and I am also on Facebook. So we are one of the 17 million. So this hasn’t just been exciting for the young people.
Everyone who organized this Aso Villa Demo Day are young people, all of them work for the government of Nigeria in one capacity or the other, aside from the private sector who have done such an excellent work and all of them are very young people. I just want to thank you all for the excellent work you have done putting this whole thing together.
Let me also congratulate the winners. First the 30, I must say that all 30 of you are winners in every sense but of the 30 there are three who have shown themselves to be outstanding and have been adjudged to be outstanding and I want to congratulate you all on that very great achievement.
This is the first iteration-(edition) of the Aso Villa Day. In the next year I am sure it is going to be bigger and better. I don’t know if we are going to get Mark to be able to show up for that. But somehow or the other we are going to keep him in the loop and let him know what we are up to and how much progress we are making.
I want to thank you all for taking the time to be here, taking the time to participate. And I want to say that this country is going to be built on the energy, on the innovation and on the creativity of the very young people who are here. And whenever young people say that we want to be included, I believe very strongly that today you are included and no one has a choice in that matter.
Today technology has created a level playing field; technology has made it possible for you seated somewhere in your office or living room to create wealth, to create connectivity, to create all manner of things across the world.
So this was not like when I was 25. It is a new day, it is a completely new day and I think there is so much hope and there is so much that your generation of people are going to do. And I am certainly looking forward to being a part of that. By the time I am 80 I hope that I will be in a position to have an App that enables me to follow very closely whatever all you people are doing seated somewhere in my village enjoying life.
I am sure that you are all going to have a great future and I certainly look forward to working with you as part of the government of Nigeria to ensure that all of our plans, all your talents and abilities are put to the best possible use and we support you all the way.
We are also looking forward to cooperating with Facebook. I am sure that in the next couple of months we will be working out the ways in which we can cooperate especially with connectivity and some of the great ideas that Mark has for improving connectivity in Africa. We are going to be working very closely with him so that in the next few months we are able to achieve something by way of increased connectivity for all of Africa.
Again thank you very much. God bless you all, thank you sirs and thank you ma.
Senior Special Assistant-Media & Publicity
In the Office of the Vice President