Mark Zuckerberg: I was Blown Away By Talents of Youths at Lagos Co-creation Hub

President Muhammadu Buhari flanked by Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo, FaceBook CEO, Mr Mark Zuckerberg and others during a visit of FACEBOOK Team to State House in Abuja. PHOTO: SUNDAY AGHAEZE
  • Buhari thanks Facebook founder for sharing knowledge with Nigerians

Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

The Chief Executive Officer and founder of social networking website, Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg friday said he was blown away by the talent and level of energy of the Nigerian youth that he saw at the Co-creation Hub in Yaba, Lagos.

Zuckerberg, who was speaking during a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, added that he was also impressed by the interest and entrepreneurial spirit displayed by other young Nigerians in all the ICT camps he visited.

Zuckerberg told the president that he was in the country to promote the penetration of “fast and cheap” internet connectivity (Express-wifi) that would help people create online businesses and reduce poverty.
President Buhari who commended the simplicity of Zuckerberg, thanked him for sharing his wealth of knowledge with Nigerian youths, and inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs.

Buhari noted that the simplicity and magnanimity of the entrepreneur, who is among the world’s richest men, had also challenged the culture of lavish wealth display and impulsive spending that had become peculiar to Nigerians.

“In our culture, we are not used to seeing successful people appear like you. We are not used to seeing successful people jogging and sweating on the streets. We are more used to seeing successful people in air-conditioned places. We are happy you are well-off and simple enough to always share,’’ he added.

Buhari said the various meetings held with Nigerian youths since his arrival were most timely as the country was already exploring opportunities to spur development through entrepreneurship.

“Nigeria has always been identified as a country with great potential for growth, especially with our youthful population, but now we are moving beyond the potential to reality,” the president said.
Also speaking, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo thanked Zuckerberg for coming to Nigeria.

He said: “One of the great things you have demonstrated is that it is possible to live your dream; it is possible to make your dreams not just come true but come true so fabulously that it will not only influence your environment but you will influence the whole world.

“One of the things you have done is really to create connectivity across the world so that people are really able to interact across tribe, race, countries and feel as part of one family and one faith.”
Osinbajo said that Zuckerberg’s coming to Nigeria had been especially energising not just for the young people but for everyone else.

“As you can see am on Facebook and the president is also on Facebook; so, we are part of the 17 million”, he added.
The vice president said the country was being built on the energy and the innovation and on the creativity of the young people.

He said: “I believe very strongly that today, young people 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 to seat somewhere, in your office or living room to create wealth, to create connectivity, to create all manner of things across the world.”

After meeting with Buhari, Zuckerberg attended a demonstration by leading Nigerian start-ups, tech executives, business and venture capitalists.

Among the 30 selected start-ups, three were finally selected and each will receive a N2million winning prize. The event was supported by Airtel, Diamond Bank and a host of others.
Addressing the select start-ups, Zukerberg said it was inspiring to see what Nigerian youth have been able to do with technology.

He said: “This trip has really blown me away by the talents of young entrepreneurs and developers in this country, and making a difference and making a change.

“It reminds me of when I wanted to start Facebook. I wasn’t starting a company at the time but wanted to build something to see if it would work. And that is what I see people here do, pushing through challenges, building things that you want to see in the world. You are not just going to change Nigeria and the whole of Africa but the whole world,” he added.

  • lord vuga

    Dont get carried away ,what he said is just a well rehearsed diplomatic compliment. Check if you will ever see him here again or what investments he has made here. If he has any investments in africa ,they are proBably in SA.

  • arubaindiaspora

    One of the quotes that i hate most is ‘get rich or die trying’ the reality is that this might not have been coined by a black man, but it was made popular by one of them, and unfortunately that has been the maxim in the back man’s world, it doesn’t matter if they are brilliant or not. Because Nigeria is the biggest black nation, and the fact that we are oil rent seekers, that makes money daily, we have been able to see the ugly realities of the maxim holding true. Truth be told, some might disagree, but that’s ok, i know we can’t have better leaders more than what we we have had in our checkered history, but the difference between african leaders and the leaders of other races of the world is that most , if not all have the propensity to steal, whether this is in our DNA, it’s hard to disagree. As someone aptly wrote – A person who steals reinforces their mindset of living in a world that lacks abundance, they therefore disempower themselves. The so-called thief believes they can not create what is needed for a fair exchange – so therefore, corrupt people for the life of me, won’t create jobs because that was not the intention in the first place. There is a reason for every action and inaction, no one would steal and keep his stolen wealth hidden, better still let me put it this way, two things could happen, its either you stole because you are Robin hood or for you and your immediate family, unfortunately, the latter ‘is us’, as there is no Robin Hood in black man’s world. So let’s forget about seeing african richest living the life of people like Mark Zukerberg as majority didn’t make legitimate money but stole and did not steal to be hidden or to provide jobs for their own, they stole to show off!

  • Ann Akinwande

    Zukerberg combines special gift with humility, no matter the wealth, he takes life easy. Only white people can do that. For example, where are the children of rich Nigerians? Where are they?

  • josvinco

    Nigerian greedy wealthy class should take a cue from Zukerberg and learn to be humble. When Nigerian nouveau arrivist wants to jog, he mobilizes the MOPOL of this world to provide him with security and cause on untold hardship to motorists and pedestrians alike with money stolen from our national treasury…..