President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday challenged the ministers-designate to live up to the tasks ahead of them.
According to him, this is in line with the efforts of his administration in addressing the numerous problems facing the country.
The President believes Nigeria has the solution to challenges if the leaders at various levels pay attention to the opportunities in their environment.
He noted that the nation’s population has an estimate of close to 200 million and the United Nations has also projected Nigeria’s population by 2050 to be about 411 million, just behind India and China.
“These are frightening prospects, but only if we sit idly by and expect handout by so-called developing partners. The solution to our problem lies with us,” he said.
President Buhari urged the ministers-designate to grasp the opportunity they have with their hands and put in their best effort to support good governance.
He also asked them to brace up for the task ahead, saying his administration remains committed to the well-being of the citizens.
He added, “Nigeria, today, needs strong managers to handle our new numerous challenges. There will be long hours and you must be prepared to live laborious days if we are to serve our people optimally.”
The President spoke at the Presidential Retreat for Ministers-Designate in Abuja, ahead of the inauguration of members of his cabinet.
Earlier, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, gave the welcome address at the gathering.
The event had in attendance the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan.
Also present included the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, and other party leaders among others.
President Goodluck Jonathan has raised the bar of performance in sports ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil as he charged Nigerian Athletes to bring home with 36 medals which must include at least five gold medals.
Also present at the retreat which took place on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja was Vice President Namadi Sambo, the Senate President, David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal.
Others were members of the Federal Executive Council, sports administrators, security chiefs, captains of industries among others.
The president charged the state governors to look into areas of advantage so as to contribute one athlete in their own chosen advantageous area who will be amongst the Team Nigeria 2016 contingent.
Mr Jonathan said: “Every state has some level of comparative advantage in one form of sports or the order and if every state will promise Nigerians that we will give you a medal in this area and another medal in this area that means we are expecting 36 medals.
“Out of these 36 medals, at least five will be gold. I also believe that the private sector will play a key role. We know that in some countries, the private sector plays some key roles in sporting activities and not just trading or manufacturing sporting wares.”
The president further promised his administration’s commitment to ensure that Nigeria becomes the best sporting nation in Africa and among the top four sporting nations in the Commonwealth and ultimately rule the world.
Jonathan said the vision was not only realistic but was also achievable with hard work, greater sense of purpose and dedication.
The purpose of the retreat according to the president was to chart a new course for sports in Nigeria and reclaim the country’s past glory as well as restore happiness and glory to the sporting events.
Mr Jonathan observed that apart from its benefits in bringing joy to Nigerians, especially when the nation’s teams do well, no other sector of national life has a greater force for mobilising and uniting the people around a common purpose than sports.
The Chairman of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (Lagos chapter) Fred Edoreh said the much talked about presidential retreat on sports was one of the promises made by the resident Goodluck Jonathan so as the issues plaguing the Spots sector of the nation can be addressed generally.
Mr.Edoreh who was a guest on Sunrise Daily said the issues to be taken up will bother on football but sports in the general context.