Mark Zuckerberg, the brain behind the social media platform, Facebook, attended the Aso Villa Demo Day taking place today, September 2, in Abuja and was received by President Muhammadu Buhari who could not hide his admiration for Zuckerberg’s simplicity despite his financial status as the seventh wealthiest man in the world. As a result, Buhari described him as a reference point to Nigerians.
Giving an insight into what went down during the meeting between the Facebook founder and president Buhari at the State House, Femi Adesina, spokesman to the president, released a statement which reads:
President Buhari commends Zuckerberg for inspiring Nigerian youths into entrepreneurship. President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Abuja commended the Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of social networking website, Facebook, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg for sharing his wealth of knowledge with Nigerian youths, and inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs.
Receiving the social media entrepreneur in the State House, President Buhari said the various meetings held with Nigerian youths since he arrived in Nigeria were most timely considering the fact that the country was already exploring opportunities to trigger development through entrepreneurship.
“Nigeria has always been identified as a country with great potentials for growth, especially with our youthful population, but now we are moving beyond the potentials to reality.
“I am impressed by your simplicity in sharing your knowledge and wealth with those with less income,” the President said.
He also noted that Mr. Zuckerberg’s simplicity “challenged the culture of lavish wealth display and impulsive spending that had become peculiar to Nigerians.” President Buhari added, “we are not used to seeing successful people jogging and sweating in the streets.”
In his remarks, Zuckerberg said he was impressed by the interest, energy and entrepreneurial spirit displayed by young Nigerians in all the ICT camps that he had visited. “I was highly impressed by the talent of the youths in the Co-creation Hub in Yaba. I was blown away by their talent and the level of energy that I saw,’’ he said.
Zuckerberg said 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.