While answering questions at an interactive session marking Democracy Day at the International Conference center, President Jonathan said he has no reservations about appointing a youth as a Minister but said the elders must be around to guide the youth in carrying out the responsibilities of a Minister. He said young people need the experiences of the elders to pilot the affairs of Nigeria.
“You talk about mentors. I’m not saying youths cannot do certain jobs. anybody from the age of 25 and above can do any job. I remember when Rivers state was created, I was a Rivers man before Bayelsa state was created. The first Rivers state Military Governor Diete Spiff was about 28years old when he was appointed the military Governor of Rivers state. Gowon when he became Head of State was about 33years old so my Governor and the Head of State were youths but they worked with elders because I remember the cabinet members of Rivers state then were very matured people working with Diete Spiff and that is why I remember one of our elders, Maitama Sule when he was speaking at the University of Port Harcourt, made the statement that young breed without the old breed will breed greed so you must mix. The best person to take care of a child may not be a child so you need somebody with some level of experience to mentor the youths. You cannot leave the teenagers there to get into the youth age before you mentor them. Start from them and the first person to mentor a young person is someone that has made some mistakes. Let us say a young lady, while in secondary school have affairs with a man and gets pregnant and had complications and couldn’t graduate when her colleagues graduated. Along the line, she finds her path and goes back to the secondary school, completes her University. She can tell another young girl look this is my experience. Please don’t go that way, see this is my experience. So a Minister of Youth development can be a very young person, anybody of 25years and above can manage that but the key thing is that in the cabinet we have only one youth. There is nothing wrong in making a 30-33 years a Minister of Petroleum or Finance if you are competent.”